WARA Official Judging Staff

Jeff Kuratnick - WARA JudgeJeff Kuratnick

Jeff is a ceramic artist and museum professional. He is currently a first year master of fine arts candidate in ceramics at the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design at Georgia State University. Upon acceptance into the program, Jeff was selected for the premium Welch Fellowship, the highest honor awarded to master of fine arts candidates at GSU.  In addition to his pursuit of the terminal degree in the ceramics field,  Jeff is a research consultant for The Marks Project: The Dictionary of American Studio Ceramics 1946 – Present.

Prior to graduate school, he served as Education Director at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art in Great Falls, Montana. For 5 years he developed numerous educational opportunities for the public; further developing and maintaining a ceramics program that grew to serve 400+ students annually by the end of his tenure. Jeff was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania and studied at Keystone College and Shippensburg University, earning a BA in K-12 Art Education in 2009.

His work in the Ceramics field includes making, curatorial and research endeavors. Special interests include the history of ceramics in the state of Montana leading up to the formation of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts; and the development of contemporary ceramics in the state that subsequently led to the restructuring of the field nationwide.

Jeff is a member of Montana Clay and the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). Recent honors include securing contracts with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for work in Art Education. Recent exhibitions include Small Works, Big State in conjunction with the 2016 NCECA Conference in Kansas City, MO. Recent publications on his collaborative work with the ceramic arts community in Montana include the article ‘Hope & Possibility in Montana Clay’ by Brandon Reintjes – featured in the January 2016 issue of Ceramics Monthly.

Jeff has participated in exhibitions nationally, and teaches in public school, university, museum and studio settings. His work is currently represented by Portal Gallery, Great Falls  MT ; Artworks  Gallery, Scranton PA; and online at Montanaclay.org.

Bruce VanLandingham WARA JudgeBruce VanLandingham

Native American folk art collector Bruce VanLandingham looks for the highest value he can acquire when purchasing work. With a degree in painting and a background as an art teacher at Wichita State University, VanLandingham is well-versed in the history as well as the authenticity of his collection.

The progression from artist to teacher to gallerist and collector tells the story of VanLandingham’s devotion to the art and the artists he includes in both his gallery and among his personal collection. Still painting, VanLandingham studies everything to understand not only the art he creates but the work he finds, buys and sells.

Intrigued by the adventure, VanLandingham opened his gallery, Sundog Fine Art, in Bozeman, Montana, to fully immerse himself in the art and artifacts he embraces. It’s also a great opportunity to share his perspective with the public. Being an art dealer for more than 40 years, VanLandingham is happy with the idea of paying it forward by mentoring young people interested not only in Plains Indian folk art, but also in contemporary fine art. While VanLandingham limits the number of contemporary pieces he shows, he occasionally brings in work by young artists he believes in.

His gallery is part showcase, part museum; the back wall is stacked with books for easy hands-on research, emphasizing his passion to put the beaded, hand-sewn, boldly painted pieces within the context of a colored history.

Perry Stewart - WARA JudgePerry Stewart

Perry Stewart has spent a lifetime studying and teaching the principles of art.

As a University figure drawing, painting, illustration professor and with over 20 years experience as a highly successful freelance illustrator, designer and painter Perry Stewart has gained the reputation as one of the most knowledgeable contemporary art critic and juror.   

His name and abilities are linked with such greats as:

Pietro Annigoni,  Adolph Robert Shulz,  Anton Azbe,  Gustav Klimt,  Henry Yan,

Herbert James Draper, Kenyon Cox, Mario Fortuny, Mark Demsteader, Nikolai Blokhin, Nikolai Fechin and Otto Greiner to name a few.

The WARA is honored to have Perry Stewart as one of our official judges.

WARA Official JudgeErnie Marsh

Making quality silver mounted bridle bits and spurs has been a passion of Ernie’s since 1990. His unique style of combining firearms engraving with traditional inlay techniques, along with painstaking attention to detail have set his work apart. With function being the underlying foundation, his heirloom quality pieces have become valued possessions of serious horsemen as well as collectors.

Marsh’s vision and passion for bits and spurs became reality with the help of the late Elmer Miller of Nampa, Idaho, and John Barraclough of Pasadena, California, through their educational programs. He is also appreciative of the help and advice from many fellow craftsmen.

Though no longer doing commission work on handmade bits and spurs, Ernie has chosen instead to make items that he enjoys building and to have them available and for sale rather than work off a long list of overdue orders. Marketing tools include an Internet web site, exhibits, shows and word of mouth, which has proven to be the most effective.

The Marshes operate a full-time shop, producing bits, spurs, saddle silver and buckles and since 1998, producing the traditional style stainless bridle bits first produced and made famous by noted bit maker, Al Tietjen of Reno, Nevada. This variety of work adds to the excitement and enjoyment of a job well done.

Ernie’s work has been exhibited in shows throughout the country, including Elko, Nevada; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Fort Worth, Texas; Jordan Valley, Oregon; Paso Robles, California; Flagstaff, Arizona and Wickenburg, Arizona.

He was chosen as one of the Top Ten Spur Makers from 1997 to 1999. In 2000, the Academy of Western Artists honored him with the Will Rogers Award as Spur maker of the Year.

Ernie is proud to be a part of the TCAA.

Dave Alderson WARA JudgeDave Alderson

When Idaho silversmith Dave Alderson was accepted into the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA) in 2002, the prestige and recognition this honor entails were well-deserved for an artist who has spent much of his life doing exquisite work under someone else’s name.

Dave grew up on the prairie of South Dakota. From an early age, he was interested in pretty things that came from the earth. As a teenager, he collected beautiful rocks and even panned for gold. Then when he was 16, He befriended a silversmith in Deadwood. Without a car, he would often spend several hours a day walking to and from her shop. She taught him to silver solder.

Dave’s first project was a ring – a Mother’s Day gift for his mom. He got a pretty stone and set it in a ring. He even ornamented the piece with some gold he had panned in a South Dakota creek. Finally, it was finished, and he set off for home afoot to present his gift to his mother.As I recall “I lost it on the way home,  I was panic stricken. Fell right out of my pocket.” Retracing his steps, Alderson found the ring and his mom still has it today.

The Alderson family moved to California. In 1978, in Atascadero, Dave saw an engraving ball for the first time in his uncles saddle shop . Knowing of his nephew’s interest in working with metal,he introduced Dave to Gordon Hayes, owner of Bits of Silver. “Gordon asked me if I could solder,”as I remembered, “then he asked me, ‘what time can you show up in the morning?’ I said I’d be there at eight.”

Dave worked at Bits of Silver for about ten years. When he started, he was mostly confined to soldering. I longed to engrave but no one would show him how. “Finally one day I cornered one of his kids, “I asked him how he made those cuts. He showed me and for the next six months I practiced at home very night for hours. I would nail a piece of copper to a block of wood and practice on that. After I like what I saw, I showed Gordon. Then he let me engrave a little.

While working for Hayes, Dave had the opportunity to meet and learn from Tracy White and other prominent and talented silvermiths and engravers.

Since leaving Bits of Silver, Dave has done silver work for several jewelers and silver companies as well as himself. Because he worked under someone else’s name for some time, Dave’s personal reputation as an exceptional craftsman was slow in coming. Ernie Marsh, a founding member of the TCAA, recognized the beauty and quality of Dave’s work and encouraged him to apply for membership in that prestigious association. His bid was successful and the talent of the boy who loved beautiful things from the earth was finally recognized.

Today Dave works from his home in Twin Falls, Idaho, where he turns out exquisite silver pieces. His work is prized for its fine hand engraving and quality craftsmanship

” I am a silversmith that ain’t really a cowboy but a lover of the west and what it stands for!! I participated in the TCAA for 13 yrs, engraver of the yr AWA, recipient of the Idaho council on the arts Governor’s Award for Folk Art and lover of great creativity in silver and what ever else we make art with!!!! Most of all, a free spirited American Artist with to many fires to put out. I love teaching and sharing what I have learned and making things that I want to make as well as custom orders that I allow me to use my creativity to express my style and technical capabilities!!! I love hunting and shooting, training my dogs and fly fishing and seeing others doing the things that give them their sense of joy and happiness!!! That is who I really am.”

Craig Neil Hone


Craig Hone has been creating high end sculpture in wood, bronze and stone for over 18 years.
Craig’s youth was spent wandering the mountains and other wild places in his home state of Utah, both on foot and horseback. His countless hours immersed in the study and observation of plants and animals were, and continue to be, the source of inspiration for his generally nature themed artistic style.
A great enthusiast of the visual world, Craig has dedicated himself to the ongoing study of art in all of its forms, especially the master works of Rodin, Donatello, Bernini and Michelangelo. Craig's work spans the range from realistic to impressionistic, and each piece has an uncanny ability to bring out the spirit and life of the subject.

“I tend to sense form in sculpture as visual music which helps me  “feel my way through the creation process”; he relates. “I make no compromises in my art. I want to do things the way they
should be done.. museum quality.”; This spirit of pursuing excellence is evident in all of his creations….from his large scale
architectural projects to his smaller works. His largest masterpieces include a stunning wooden mantel that measures 2 feet wide by 16 feet long and an enchanting, impressionistic 8 inch thick walnut door entitled ” Forest Baroque”. Craig’s bronze sculptures have won first place in the Dixie Invitational in both 2012 and 2013 as well as the Purchase Award at the Spring Salon in Springville, Utah. Craig has also won the “Carver’ s Cup”  competition in Park City, and he is the only artist to have ever won both first and second place at the Northern Nationals, one of the top two wood carving
competitions in the country.
Listed amongst Craig’s clients are best selling author and mega marketing guru, Robert Allen, Nu Skin Corporation, Tahitian Noni Juice Corporation, Snow Basin Ski Resort, the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah and numerous private clients and collectors.

See Craig’s work at www.craighonestudio.com

Robin Coalson

Robin Coalson has always been passionate about bringing beauty to the world through art and design.  She has crafted a career in the arts, specializing in graphic and advertising design, illustration, mural painting and carving.

Her chosen art forms have changed over the years due to changing economies and physical restrictions, but her love of all things creative and aesthetic remains the same.

Robin holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design.



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