Western Design Conference Reveals Excellence in Design Awards Totaling $20k

Four-day Jackson Hole event a success from live fashion show to artist-exhibitors’ sales

L to R: Many Tears won Best Artist in the Accents category; Wayne Delyea Furniture Maker won the Best of Show $5,000 award, as well as $1,500 for Exhibitor’s Choice at the 2021 Western Design Conference.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – September 16, 2021 – The return of the four-day Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale in Jackson Hole was an exciting success with award-winners, big sales and an in-person celebration that rejuvenated its guests with a spirited scene and wildly creative pieces from the many juried showcasing artists. Celebrating its 29th year, the Western Design Exhibit + Sale, held at Snow King Events Center in Jackson, Wyoming, and featuring the finest in Western contemporary and cowboy craft, kicked off with a lively Opening Preview Party that included the return of the live Runway Fashion Show, a fan favorite, and the Designer Show House with life-sized individually designed spaces to explore.

“It felt so good to be back in person and to see the high caliber of craft and design on display during the Exhibit + Sale was remarkable and inspiring,” says Allison Merritt, Executive Director of the WDC. “The Designer Show House is always a special attraction, and this year was more spectacular than ever. We are already looking forward to 2022 when we’ll celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Western Design Conference.”

L to R: Tres Outlaws Boots Co. walked away with Best Artist in the Art to Wear Fashion category, and Ewa Kielczewska’s Ewka suede designs won the award for Best Collection in the Fashion Show.

This year’s Design Excellence awards totaling $20,000 were given to 16 artists honoring their superb concepts and craftsmanship, with Best Artist and Honorable Mentions in six categories, as well as a Best of Show, Sonny Tuttle Spirit Award, Exhibitors’ Choice and the Designer Show House – Best Interior Design awards. Starting with the Best of Show, Wayne Delyea Furniture Maker out of Granbury, Texas, received $5,000 in prize money for his fine woodworking featuring one-of-a-kind marquetry or inlay; Delyea also received the coveted Exhibitors’ Choice honor, where the best work is selected by a vote of the artist’s peers, with a prize of $1,500.

There was no shortage of fashion this year with 16 designers on the runway and more exhibiting in the showroom. The judges recognized Tres Outlaws Boot Co. of Cody, Wyoming, as the Best Artist in the Art to Wear Fashion category with a $1,000 prize, and the $1,000 for Best Collection in the Fashion Show went to Ewka, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for her unique hand-painted suede collection.

Emily Janak Interiors sitting room won Best Interior Design at the 2021 WDC Designer Show House, while How Kola Furniture earned an honorable mention in the Mixed Media awards.

Emily Janak Interiors and Fighting Bear Antiques of Jackson Hole, Wyoming earned the $3,000 Best Interior Design award for their charming sitting room in the show house which featured Thomas Molesworth, Stickley and mid-century rattan furniture, Navajo weavings and contemporary art. Meanwhile, Molesworth-style pieces from How Kola Furniture by Tim Lozier of Cody, Wyoming, earned the Honorable Mention in the Mixed Media awards category. 

First-time WDC attendee Andrew Parent’s appetizingly beautiful grills earned him the Sonny Tuttle Spirit Award, while returning artist Keoni won Best Artist in the Woodworking category.

The Sonny Tuttle Spirit Award of $1,000 went to Worden, Montana, artist Andrew Parent for his exquisite custom metal-designed Peacemaker Grill, which was cooking up steaks outside the entrance of the Western Design Conference. Returning to the WDC this year, Keoni Wood Fine Art took home the $1,000 Best Artist honor in the Woodworking category. Using fire, sharpened steel and India inks, Keoni’s handmade wooden pieces re-imagine woven and beaded basketry, sculpture and vessels. This is Keoni’s third Western Design Conference win. And Best Artist in the Accents category for $1,000 went to Many Tears whose designer Supaya Gray Wolf’s goal has always been to keep Native American tradition alive through her work.

Five open bars and a live auction created a festive scene at the Opening Preview Party where guests bid, shopped, sipped, snacked and celebrated the spirit of the West for the WDC’s 29th year.

Other 2021 Design Excellence awards went to John Glossa Jewelry for Best Artist in Art to Wear; Lake AntlerWorks for Best Artist in Mixed Media; Helga’s Design for Honorable Mention in the Art to Wear Fashion category; TresMelindas Rustic Pendants of Cascade, Colorado, for Honorable Mention in Art to Wear Jewelry; and Andy Sanchez for Honorable Mention in Woodworking. The full list of award winners can be seen here: https://westerndesignconference.com/about-us/awards/.

About the Western Design Conference Exhibit + Sale:
The annual Western Design Exhibit + Sale is a four-day, multimillion-dollar event that brings together craftspeople, collectors, interior designers, architects, and fashion designers with a love of the West. The Western Design Conference was founded 29 years ago in Cody, Wyoming, to promote contemporary artists working in historical American craft methods. The Western Design Exhibit + Sale moved to Jackson Hole in 2007, where Executive Director Allison Merritt continues the strong commitment to Western arts in Wyoming while expanding the reach of the show. Additional information, including schedules and tickets, is available at westerndesignconference.com and on Facebook and Instagram.

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