By Western Hands (BWH) aims to preserve western functional art and design through the celebration of past and present artisans. The three-part mission to educate, conserve and perpetuate the legacy of western design and traditional arts corresponds with three main elements—a museum and archive, educational training programs, and legacy artisan gallery.
The material contained in the Archives of By Western Hands gives scholars and future artisans access to important documentation of the contributions to the field of American Western Design by past, present and future artisans. Those who seek to learn about and perpetuate this quintessentially American endeavor will find a rich record of the activities, inspirations and practices that “tell the stories” of this important aspect of American design and its evolution. Education and preservation are at the heart of our mission. By Western Hands has become the link between current and future generations of western artisans and the epicenter of information for and about Western Functional Art.
By offering innovative and customized educational programs in tandem with public workshops and artist demonstrations, BWH has learning at the core of its mission and its day-to-day activities. The vision of the artisans to teach and educate the next generation of craftsman became the primary mission of the newly created organization. After the new facility was acquired, a plan was adopted to create a functional and highly aesthetic workshop space where artisans teach and deliver demonstrations to patrons and future generations. The Grainger Demonstration shop became the place in which Master Artisans teach the skills and “how-to” techniques that separates the average craftsman from the skilled Master Craftsmen. The hope is to raise the awareness of the availability of these education programs and to attract the next generation to the career of functional artisan by learning skills from the finest, most respected functional artisans working in America today. Imagine how a person’s life could be changed by giving the opportunity to work with, and next to the likes of Thomas Molesworth, Paul Hindman, Edward Bohlin, Wolf and Lily Schlein, Mike Patrick, Jimmy and Lynda Covert or Ken Siggins.
The design exhibitions that started with the Design Conference and Cody High Style continue, but the main difference between BWH and these other versions is that we’re now a nonprofit organization with education and preservation at the heart of our mission. A portion of all purchases supports the mission and initiatives to preserve the legacy of western functional art and design. By Western Hands is honored to be the organization that sustains and educates the next generation of functional artisans of the American West. We are privileged to provide patrons of the arts with works by the most talented and skilled artisans of handcrafted American Western functional art over the last thirty years, as well as those creating today as artisans of By Western Hands.
“Western Functional Art is, at its core, the most tangible way to connect with the pioneering spirit of the West that lies in us all. It represents a sense of adventure, a reverence for the past, and pride in craftsmanship – all qualities we should strive to carry on for generations. Creating an archive would allow By Western Hands to spark the interest and creativity of new makers and collectors, ensuring the legacy of this beautiful art form and preserving it for the future.” – Casey Lasky, Interior Designer with Wyatt & Associates, Inc., on the Cook Canyon Ranch Project, Dallas, Texas
By Western Hands is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Today, we have a unique opportunity to take meaningful action that will provide a future for western design for generations to come.