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909 South Schumaker Drive
Salisbury, MD 21804

Museum Hours

Mon - Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Ward World Championship Education Conference

Online pre-registration is closed as of Friday, April 20th, 2018. Tickets to all lectures and workshops will be available for purchase at the Education booth in the Roland E. Powell Convention Center Thursday through Saturday.

Special Conference Pass

Admission to ALL signature lecture series and one technique workshop- $27 Member; $30 Non-member.



Signature Lectures

Friday, April 27 and Sunday April 29 - $3 Member; $4 Non-Member. Lectures will be taking place in rooms 214 and 215 of the Convention Center.
Signature lectures presented at the Ocean City Convention Center are presentations with visual aids and amplification for educational lectures from leading artists and carvers at the competition. Attending a lecture is a great way to enhance your visit to the Ward World Championship. Learn techniques to create award winning carvings from champion and professional carvers. Youth ages 17 and under receive FREE admission to lectures.

Speakers and Topics

Friday, April 27

11:00 am - 12:00 pm - Josh Guge - What Judges are Looking For
How to give yourself an edge in competition. What is your strategy to succeed in competition? Both bird and fish carvers welcome!

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm - Laurie McNeil - Designing One-piece Wildfowl Sculptures
Laurie will share her insight and 30 years’ experience in carving wildfowl sculptures from a single piece of Tupelo. Points of discussion will include why she chooses one piece wildfowl sculpting, how she chooses her subject, and finally how she executes the one-piece designs.

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Nina Gormley - The Wendell Gilley Museum: Adventures with People, Nature and Art at Acadia National Park
Steve and Lem Ward's friend and co-pioneer in decorative bird carving, Wendell Gilley, lived to see a museum opened in his honor in 1981. Located in his hometown of Southwest Harbor, Maine, the Wendell Gilley Museum is a must-see for carvers and birders and a perfect complement to the experience of any visitor to the Bar Harbor region and Acadia National Park.

Nina Gormley, the Gilley's founding director, will share highlights from the Museum's history and current programs and talk about Wendell's relationship with the Ward brothers. She will show the short documentary, Gilley: Portrait of à Bird Carver, that peeks into the personality of the master carver, provides carving advice, and even reveals the secret to life.

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm - Floyd Scholz - Thinking BIG! Carving and Painting Eagles and Large Birds of Prey
For most carvers, the very thought of tackling something as big as a Lifesize Eagle can be a daunting proposition. Research, Design, Tools and Materials are key factors to consider before you ever begin the actual carving. Don`t miss this rare learning opportunity! Join Renowned Raptor carver Floyd Scholz, one of the artforms most famous carvers as he takes you on a journey of creation. Drawing upon his 50 years of experience having carved 20 life-sized Eagles, He`ll share his thoughts, approach and special techniques with you through an engaging audio/visual and hands on demonstration.

3:00 - 4:00 - Dan Burgette - It's Just a Piece of Wood - What Could Go Wrong?
Explore the possibilities of what can go wrong with a competition piece, and how to overcome the problems. Join Dan Burgette as he talks about what's gone wrong for him and how he was able to move past the challenges and win awards.

Sunday, April 29

10:00 am - 11:00 am - Ellen Lawler - Bird Anatomy for Carvers
Bird Anatomy 101 – SU Professor emeritus, Ellen Lawler will describe the basic anatomy of birds with an emphasis on external features.  Topics will include the relationship between form and function, particularly the way in which bird anatomy facilitates flight, various feather groups and how changes in a bird’s posture are used in communication. Helpful reference books will also be discussed.

11:00 am - 12:00 pm - Al Jordan - Feathers: Their Structure, Shape, and Function
An in-depth discussion of feathers. What is their makeup, why are they put together the way they are and what are their specific functions. As well how do we apply this to our carvings to create realism as well as artistic expression!


Technique Workshops

Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28, 2018 - $18 Online Presale; $22 Member; $25 Non-member. One included with Special Conference Pass. All workshops will take place in room 217 of the Convention Center.
Attending a workshop is a great way to build skills and learn new techniques. Or a workshop can be a chance to learn about a whole new style or division. Workshops last 2 hours, and are an excellent way to get up close and personal with carvers and artists in fascinating areas of wildfowl and sculpture art. Workshops cover a wide range of topics from novice to advanced techniques and are designed with all audiences in mind – visitors, competitors, and judges.

Friday, April 27

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm - William Scott Belote - Antiquing
Learn the art of antiquing a decoy with world champion carver William Scott Belote.

Saturday, April 28

9:00 am - 11:00 am - Daniel Montano - Airbrushing on Feather Stencils
Learn how to use an airbrush to create a beautiful feathering technique with world champion Daniel Montano.

11:30 am - 1:30 pm - Tommy Stewart - Painting the Eyes
Tommy Stewart will take you from field observation to your finished work . Learn how and why he paints complex colors on the eyes he sees through reflection on his shorebirds.

 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm - Peter Palumbo - What Color is That?
Students will first learn the basic Color Wheel and Color Theory. After this is accomplished, we will participate in an exercise in which students will encounter actual colors of birds and habitat. Next, based on our knowledge of Color Theory, students will investigate the samples, determine where the colors are in relation to the Color Wheel, and come up with a plan to mix the color needed to paint the subject. Students are encouraged to bring pencils and take notes.



Monday through Sunday, April 23–29, 2018
Learn to create award-winning carvings with World Champion and professional carvers at the 2018 Educational Conference. A full menu of 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-day classes will be offered by the Education Department in conjunction with the Ward World Championship. Classes occur prior to the competition in various locations throughout Ocean City, MD, starting Monday, April 23rd, and continuing through Sunday, April 29th. Here is a preview of the exciting offerings that will be available during the conference. REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED FOR CLASSES.

4-DAY Classes: Monday through Thursday, April 23–26, 2018

$450 Member; $500 Non-Member

Laurie Truehart: Carve and Paint a Male American Kestrel 
Focusing on detail and the overall essence of this amazing bird of prey, a mix of hand tools and rotary tools will be used to create a realistic depiction of North America’s smallest falcon.  Laurie and Mike Truehart will instruct carvers of all levels in this fun and informative class. The instructors will provide reference material, blanks, paint, and some tools.

Al Jordan: Carve and Paint an Eastern Bluebird
Joinaward-winning carver and popular carving instructor Al Jordan  to learn how to carve and paint a highly detailed life-size Eastern Bluebird, with a post as the base. This will be a power carving class, using the Foredom as well as a high speed micro grinder. Cut out, eyes, feet , paint and cast will be supplied. A detailed tool requirement list will be sent out prior to class.

3-DAY Class: Tuesday through Thursday, April 24–26, 2018

$350 Member; $400 Non-member

Rich & Ross Smoker: Carve and Paint a Ward Bros. Black Duck
Beginner-advanced, micro-motor or hand tool carving. Join Rich and Ross Smoker to carve, paint, and finish a classic Ward Brothers-style black duck.  Carve the body and the head, then finish it up with oil paints modified to express.

Glenn McMurdo: Paint a Killdeer
Beginner-advanced. Using brushes and acrylic paints on cast from an original carving by Glenn McMurdo, add a soft and fluffy look to the finished piece. Learn color theory, how to add and blend colors, and how to paint final detail, as well as the how and why of paint and paintbrushes.

2-DAY Class: Wednesday through Thursday, April 25–26, 2018

$275 Member; $325 Non-member

Pat Godin: Realistic Feathering Techniques
Pat Godin will be discussing and demonstrating the techniques he has developed for carving, texturing and burning feathers.  The students will have pieces of tupelo wood to work on during the seminar, but will have the option to bring their own pre-carved bird.  In addition to showing various methods for creating realistic feathers, Pat will also discuss feather structure and anatomy and how it relates to the decisions we must make as we carve a bird.  Creating variety in feather texture throughout the bird can greatly enhance the quality of the work.
Students will require their own tools including a high speed rotary power tool with various bits, some carving knives and chisels, and a wood burning tool.


1-DAY Class: Sunday, April 29, 2018

$80 Member; $100 Non-member

Ross Smoker: Carving for Beginners
Ross Smoker leads a class in basic carving techniques to create a miniature shorebird. Participants will finish class with an unpainted shorebird. Tools and materials provided.

Pre-registration is required for all classes. Deposit payments are due by Friday, March 2, 2018.



Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.– 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Children of all ages can enjoy Kid’s Corner. Plan to visit Kid’s Corner for arts and crafts designed to stimulate curiosity and participation in the arts. Featured activities include painting miniature decoys, soap carving and carving using child-safe tools. Carve and Paint the 2018 Red Knot Youth Silhouette & more!


Please Note: Conference pricing does not include admission into the competition hall or admission to the Ward Museum. Pre-registration is required for all classes, workshops and lectures. All classes are subject to cancellation before April 1, 2018. Adult and Youth lectures are on a first come, first serve basis. Workshop and lecture balances are due at registration. Member prices are for current Ward Museum Members only. Youth under the age of 18 receive FREE admission to lectures and workshops. Lectures and workshops subject to cancellation without notification. Refunds honored in full upon administrative cancellation of classes/lectures/workshops.

last changed 4/20/2018