Design Conference announces top honor

Reno, Nev., artist Harriette Allison's overstuffed chair titled "Painted Ponies" won Best of Show at this year's Western Design Conference. Photo by Travis J. Garner/JACKSON HOLE DAILY

The vintage armchair that leather artist Harriette Allison of The Lucky Star Gallery transformed into a tribute to a colleague won Best of Show and its $5,000 prize at the Western Design Conference Awards Ceremony on Wednesday night at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Allison and Sonny Tuttle had planned to do a collaborative project for the conference before Tuttle died in a car crash July 25. Tuttle, an American Indian hide painter and dancer, had participated in the conference since its inception more than a decade ago in Cody.

Allison’s chair, “Painted Ponies,” drew inspiration from one of Tuttle’s hand-painted spirit hides draped on the back. The bright yellow chair featured designs echoing his.

The ceremony awarded $21,200 in  prize money to 16 artists participating in the juried portion of the Western Design Conference Exhibition and Sale, which opens to the public at 10 a.m. today at the Pavilion at Snow King Resort.

The 17th annual Western Design Conference Exhibition and Sale is the pre-eminent showcase of museum-quality, one-of-a-kind functional Western art, all handcrafted by the artists in attendance at the three-day event. The conference runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Saturday in the Pavilion at Snow King Resort.

At the Exhibition and Sale, juried art will be featured on pedestals with ribbons denoting award winners. In addition, the gallery-like setting features 68 booths of fine Western designs.

Tonight, the Gala Event showcases jewelry and fashion at the Center for the Arts. The gala starts at 6 p.m., with the Fashion Show at 7:15 p.m. 

The conference closes Saturday with a series of lectures on design, free with entrance. For information, visit

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