Asa Christiana Featured Speaker at 2018 Invitational Design Exhibition

Cody, Wyoming is a town known for its many historical values and traditions, preserved and admired through western art. On September 21, 2018 from 2:00 to 3:00, By Western Hands will be hosting speaker Asa Christiana in the Coe auditorium found at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (BBCW).  The event will be held in honor of the artisans who influence our present world through artwork overflowing with knowledge of the past.

Asa Christiana speaks at the BBCW in support of By Western Hands and the many people who dedicate their time to western traditions and functional art. Mr. Christiana is an author, nationally recognized speaker, and former chief editor of Fine Woodworking Magazine. He presents information to encourage and teach others about western themed functional art, and its importance in our world today.

By Western Hands is a non-profit organization, founded by Cody community members. Members work in protecting western themed functional art, as it is becoming rarer in our modern themed world. Through events and activities, the organization promotes artisans, sustaining the creation of decorative and functional art, and using designs and techniques influenced by the American west.

Through the presentation, Mr. Christiana relates important factors, reflecting the mission of By Western Hands – promotes artisans and related activities that help sustain the creation of decorative and functional art, including designs and techniques used by the American West.  One of these factors is the recent Maker Movement, reflecting roles for independent inventors, designers, and craftsmen. Mr. Christiana speaks on connecting community infrastructure to overall promote artisans.

Throughout the presentation, the audience gains understanding of how past western design influences the present.  Mr. Christiana explores the meaning of specific functional art objects, observes the historical, environmental, and cultural contexts of the pieces, and perpetuates the dedication.  He reflects how artisans preserve western design, resulting in custom pieces and acknowledging history and culture.

By Western Hands and speakers like Asa Christensen don’t just dedicate their time to celebrate western art. They dedicate their time to preserve and cherish artisans and western art for future generations. Because of their efforts, our community members remember and participate in western traditions for further years to come.

The Wyoming Arts Council provides the funding for Mr. Christiana’s presentation through a grant supported in part by the Wyoming Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature.

By Western Hands Awarded Grant From Wyoming Arts Council

Cody, WY– The Wyoming Arts Council, along with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Wyoming State Legislature, has honored Cody’s own, By Western Hands with a generous grant of nearly $9,000.00.

This support has made it possible to include in the 2018 By Western Hands Invitational Design Exhibition nationally recognized speaker and author, Asa Christiana, formerly of Fine Woodworking Magazine on Sept. 21st, 2018 at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Coe Auditorium. Christiana will present From Molesworth to Maker and Back Again: How Today’s Young Artisans are Reinventing Traditional Crafts.

This grant also includes support for additional programs and projects for the planned By Western Hands Design Center due to open later this year. Specifically, BWH museum study collection interpretive signage design, workshop safety manual production, and professional development Board training receives support. The speaker, exhibition, signage, safety manual and board governance support programs/services, aligning with The Wyoming Arts Council mission.

The By Western Hands Artisan Guild was founded as a non-profit organization by Cody community members in 2015. It is now a national organization whose mission is to promote its member artisans through events and related activities, sustaining the creation of decorative and functional art and using designs and techniques influenced by the American West.

“The textbook definition of functional art refers to artistic, aesthetic pieces that serve utilitarian purposes,” said Dennie Hammer, Executive Director.” Using wood, leather, silver, iron, antler, and beading, our artisan members create the finest Western-themed world-class functional art, perpetuating, preserving and promoting these traditions.”

By Western Hands brought in a recognized, educational speaker in the hope that it will attract and inspire students from Wyoming Colleges, Big Horn Basin High Schools, Buffalo Bill Center of the West & By Western Hands patrons, and the Big Horn community at-large. Wyoming community patrons, sponsors and volunteers believe western design and Cody’s place in its history are valuable, irreplaceable assets worth preserving as a major part of the town economic and cultural diversity through the arts.

Hammer went on to say that “This funding will help By Western Hands to achieve our mission to sustain, promote and cultivate excellence in Western functional art while also greatly enriching the educational experience.”


New By Western Hands Design Center Progressing

(Cody, WY): Anyone who has had the opportunity to travel down the streets of Cody, Wyoming will know of its astounding art and traditions. The former Gambles Hardware building is now being refurbished into the By Western Hands Design Center – rich with education, craft, and history… a building that fits in perfectly with our remarkable town.


The new Design Center is being shaped by the non – profit organization, By Western Hands (BWH). On their mission to preserve western art, they have worked hard hosting events, celebrating artisans, and keeping western traditions alive. The new BWH Design Center is a perfect representation of the values that By Western Hands is determined to support – promoting artisans, and overall sustaining the creation of decorative and functional art. This important mission will be supported through three components in the Design Center – an education and training center, a member gallery, and a western museum.


Through education, exhibition, and history, the BWH Design Center will ensure that western art will continue to thrive for years to come.


Because it is composed of three elements, the building can accomplish multiple purposes at once. The Design Center will become a place for everyone to enjoy. Whether an artisan, student, or buyer, the home for western design will be a home for local, state, and community arts.


“If you think of it in terms of a stool, the By Western Hands organization would be the top of the stool,” said Executive Director Dennie Hammer. “What supports that in this new Design Center will be the three different but equally important legs.”


Maintaining western craft is one main goal of the By Western Hands Design Center. The education and training center, containing a workshop, is the first leg, helping keep this purpose standing.


“The workshop is going to be a space for those working under an apprenticeship program with By Western Hands and Northwest College, and others learning different artisan skills,” stated Hammer.


Because the education and training center correlates with Northwest College, artisans can volunteer to help train students who are apprenticing under the college’s curriculum. This learning opportunity will connect those with a desire for the honored craft, passing on western design for future generations.


Not only will artisans be able to showcase their trade through the education and training center, they will be able to share their trade through the next part of the By Western Hands stool – the member gallery. The gallery will become a designated place for buyers and artisans to meet, providing a simple way for everyone to view western talent.


As artisans display their work in the member gallery, they will be assisted with a showcase room, the support of the By Western Hands website, and authenticity to reinforce their business.


The museum is the final component in helping support the By Western Hands mission.


“The museum will give not only the history but highlight some of the finest furniture from the past as well as looking on to the future,” said co-founder Carlene Lebous. “The past informs the future.”


Through a display of history, intricate pieces, and private collections, the museum will revolve around the importance of western design to the world.


Cody resident, Wally Reber, who recently retired from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, will establish the archive and curate the BWH museum. Through a 3D model, Mr. Reber described the layout of the museum, designed to tell a story, beginning with the history of Thomas Molesworth who brought forth the concept of western design to our Cody community.


“The applause goes to Molesworth as he introduced us all to this defined sort of western style,” said Reber. “But then it was carried on, and contemporaries used the style at this point in time.”


In the same way that Thomas Molesworth designs were continued, the museum’s layout will be designed. As the room entry leads the guests into an area with contemporary designs, the evolution of western furniture into special contemporary designs will display Molesworth style modifications. “This is a way to put real value on the material out there,” said Reber.


Those who are interested in the craft, talent, or history of western themed art will have the opportunity to savor it all in one place. The museum will be a space, overflowing with knowledge and helping to honor western style traditions for future generations.


“Over the years, not only did we build friendships and watch the level of design created, we realized there was a lot to make sure that we preserved over the years,” said Lebous.


The construction of the Design Center is still in progress with many people persevering to ensure it will become a home for everyone to appreciate, preserve, and experience a piece of what makes western themed functional art so important.


“It’s been a fairly clear roadmap of how these three components came together,” said co-founder Harris Haston.


The Design Center will not only fit in perfectly here in Cody, Wyoming, but will secure western traditions live on forever in our remarkable Western town.

3rd Annual By Western Hands Invitational Design Exhibition

(Cody, Wyo.) – The spirit of the West runs deep in Cody, Wyoming. A long legacy of artisans who call this place home find great inspiration in this final frontier, using their own hands to create pieces that embody and preserve the West.

In celebration of the artists who keep Cody’s legacy of western functional art thriving, the third-annual By Western Hands Invitational Design Exhibition will take place Sept. 21-23, 2017 on the south lawn of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West – between the main building and the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale tent.
Craftsmen will display their Western-themed pieces at this show. Functional art forms will range from wood to glass, metal to leather, and beyond, giving a wide variety of artists with and without showrooms the chance to share their distinctive work.

The exhibit will take place during Cody’s Rendezvous Royale Week, which will run from Sept. 19-23, 2017. Showcasing in conjunction with the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale and Rendezvous Royale week will allow Western artisans access to individuals from around the nation who value fine craftsmanship.
By Western Hands will also sponsor Phil Huber, co-host of the TV show The Woodsmith Shop broadcast on PBS and is the multi-media editor of Woodsmith magazine, as a speaker on Friday, September 22nd , 2:00 PM in the Coe Auditorium at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The title of Mr. Huber’s presentation will be Finding the Future: Craftsmanship, Community & History.

Cody community members founded By Western Hands as a non-profit organization in 2015 with the mission to promote artisans through events and related activities that help sustain the creation of decorative and functional art, using designs and techniques influenced by the American West.
Nearly a dozen of the artists showcased this year currently live and work in the Cody area, positively contributing to our economy and culture. These craftsmen continue to uphold Cody’s longstanding reputation for exquisite Western functional art.

The West lives on in Cody, Wyoming: in its wilderness, in its traditions, and in the creations of Western hands. This year’s By Western Hands Invitational Design Exhibition is a chance to catch the spirit of the ever-evolving West through the form of functional art design.

Contact: Dennie Hammer (, 307-250-2228