SIGMT Fall 2023 Fall Issue 3

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16 | SIGNATURE MONTANA DECADENT DESIGN Glenn is also inspired by the work of an extraordinary group of colleagues with whom he's been affiliated for three decades: the artisans of By Western Hands, a Cody, Wyoming-based nonprofit membership group devoted to the preservation and continuation of Western and rustic functional art. First conceived in the early 1990s by a handful of craspeople made up mainly of furniture makers working in the ranch-furniture tradition, over the decades, the group has evolved to represent approximately fiy artisans creating in a wide range of media: wood, metal, ceramics, glass, leather, beadwork and more. While the group's members are spread across the western U.S. and reside as far away as Arkansas, Missouri, Oregon, and Washington, the core of the movement is found in Montana and Wyoming, particularly around the Greater Yellowstone area. is dates back to the early days of dude ranching, when well-heeled guests would travel out by train and sele into life at a remote ranch for weeks, even months, at a time. Guest accommodations were typically no-frills log cabins. ose cabins needed furniture, and the ranch hands needed something to do in the winter — hence a regional tradition of rough but sturdy log furniture. Timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the group's founding, "By Western Hands: Functional Art from the Heart of the West" features beautiful photography, celebrates the history of Western rustic design, and showcases the work of today's top Western and rustic artisans. In the 1930s, an art school graduate named omas Molesworth saw an opportunity to take that rustic Western language and run with it. He set up shop in Cody in 1931. Over the next thirty years, he proceeded to create a classic Western design vocabulary, one which takes western iconography — cowboys and Indians, horses and cale, mountains and wildlife — and combines it with treatments like leather, suede, beads, wagon wheels, applied pole, twisted juniper, misshapen burls, and hide, hair and horns. Today many of By Western Hands' artisans continue to take inspiration from Molesworth's designs, but they're artists. As such, each has his or her own influence, techniques, and passions. Mike Roths is fascinated by Western history. He finds remnants of the historical West tangible in everyday life around his home in Stevensville, Montana. Each piece he builds is one of a kind, and each Shane Hughes' walnut entry door features hand-carved cattails and inlaid rocks inspired by Montana's Flathead River.

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