Ward World Championship Education Conference & Seminars

Education Conference Pass

$18 Presale
This pass will admit the bearer into all lectures, plus one workshop and one panel of their choice. Additional workshops and panels may be purchased for the normal fee. Presale will run until April 23rd, 2019. Passes will be available at the show for $27 for members and $30 for non-members.


Saturday, April 27 and Sunday April 28 – $3 Member; $4 Non-Member.
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.

Technique Workshops

Friday, April 26 and Saturday April 27 – $18 Presale , $22 Member and $25 Non-Member at the Show
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.

NEW – Panels

Friday, April 26 through Sunday April 28 – $6 Member; $8 Non-Member.
In addition to lectures, this year the museum will be offering panels. There will be one panel each of the three days, covering the topics of what judges look for, collecting decoys, and what seasoned carvers wish they had known when they started. Panel speakers include Rich Smoker, Tom Horn, Jerry Painter, Dan Burgette, Pat Godin, Bob Kroese, Josh Guge, and Judy Snyder.


Friday, April 26

William Scott Belote – Antiquing
10:00 – 12:00 ; Room 215A
WORKSHOP – Learn the art of antiquing a decoy with world champion carver William Scott Belote.

Pat Godin – Painting Iridescence with Acrylic Paints
12:00 – 2:00 ; Room 215B
WORKSHOP – Learn painting iridescence with Acrylic Paints as Pat Godin discusses and demonstrates techniques.

Bob Kroese, Josh Guge, and Judy Snyder – What Judges Look For
2:00 – 4:00 ; Room 217
PANEL –  Learn what it takes to come out on top at the World Championship Carving Competition. Frequent judges Bob Kroese, Josh Guge, and Judy Snyder will discuss what they look for when they are judging a competition. Members of the audience will be able to ask questions of the panelists. The panel moderator will be announced soon.

Saturday, April 27

Rod Benjamin – Decoy Schools and Regional Collecting
10:00 – 11:00 ; Room 215A
LECTURE – Learn about the art of decoy collection with collector Rod Benjamin with a regional or “school” point of view.

Larry Barth – Capturing “Essence of Species”
11:00 – 12:00 ; Room 217
LECTURE – Join award winning carver Larry Barth for a lecture on how to ensure that the essence of the species you are carving is in your piece, and how important it is for that essence to come through.

Laurie & Mike Truehart – Owl Anatomy
1:00 – 2:00 ; Room 215A
LECTURE – Please join Mike and Laurie Truehart for an in depth discussion on owl anatomy.  This seminar is targeted to those artists that wish to gain a better understanding of these amazing creatures.  Emphasis will be on head, wing, tail, and leg positioning as well as feather placement.  

Peter Palumbo – Critiques
2:00 – 4:00 ; Room 217
LECTURE/WORKSHOP – Pete Palumbo will be conducting a public critique, where he will not only talk about an artist’s carving to the artist, but to the whole group as well. As artists, we usually create in a vacuum, without the benefit of input and dialogue. Some of the best learning experiences can come from critiques, not only of our work, but other artists’ work as well. By making individual critiques available to the whole group, we create the unique opportunity to learn from one another. We begin to see that as artists, we all share the same challenges, and successes. Students will be asked to bring a carving to my seminar to be publicly critiqued and discussed; strengths and weaknesses will be assessed and suggestions for future works will be given. He will focus on anatomy, color design and technique. Participants may bring a non-competition bird, or may use a current competition bird with special permissions. Attendees who do not wish to have a piece critiqued will pay the lecture price. Attendees who do wish to have a piece critiqued will pay the workshop price. Conference Pass holders will get into this lecture for free, but would need to select it as their free workshop to have a piece critiqued.

Sunday, April 28

Jeff Rechin – Modeling
10:00 – 11:00 ; Room 217
LECTURE – Jeff Rechin will be talking to lecture attendees about how to make models of their birds using only clay and aluminum foil.

Jim Higgins – Sneakbox Decoy
11:00 – 1:00 ; Room 215B
WORKSHOP – This will be a demonstration of the techniques that Jim have developed during 30 years of professional decoy making. Topics will include paint selection and paint mixing, scratch painting the head, use of the airbrush with templates and free-hand. A list of paint colors, copies of templates, etc. will be provided to all attendees.​

Rich Smoker, Tom Horn, Jerry Painter, Dan Burgette, and Pat Godin – What I Wish I Knew When I Started
2:00 – 4:00 ; Room 217
PANEL – The best way to learn is to make mistakes. Or you can listen to those who have come before you and made those mistakes themselves so you can avoid them. Top carvers Rich Smoker, Dan Burgette, Tom Horn, Pat Godin, and Jerry Painter​ will talk about things they learned through their years carving that would have likely helped them when they first started out. This panel is great for beginners and seasoned pros alike. Members of the audience will be able to ask questions of the panelists. This panel will be moderated by Dr. Kristin Sullivan.

FREE- Mini Duck Calling Clinic for Children
11:00 ;  Outside by the Bay
MINI CLINIC- Join Teddy Hoover, award winning caller and organizer of the Easton Waterfowl Festival’s calling contest, to learn how to call ducks


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 2019 Arctic Tern Youth Silhouette & more!

Online pre-registration is closed. Tickets to all lectures and workshops will be available for purchase at the Education booth in the Roland E. Powell Convention Center Thursday through Sunday.



Monday through Sunday, April 22–28, 2019
Learn to create award-winning carvings with World Champion and professional carvers at the 2019 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 22nd, and continuing through Sunday, April 28th.

4-DAY Class: Monday through Thursday, April 22–25, 2019

$450 Member; $500 Non-Member.

Laurie Truehart: Carve and Paint a Great Horned Owl Bust

Focusing on the detail and the overall essence of this charismatic bird of prey, a mix of hand tools and rotary tools will be used to create a realistic bust of one of North America's largest owls. Laurie and Mike Truehart will instruct carvers of all levels in this fun and informative class.

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3-DAY Class: Tuesday through Thursday, April 23–25, 2019

$350 Member; $400 Non-member

Rich & Ross Smoker: Carve and Paint a Golden-Age of Waterfowling Brant

Beginner-advanced, micro-motor or hand tool carving. Discover the exciting world of the Atlantic brant with Rich and Ross Smoker. Drawing upon the styles of makers from the golden age of waterfowling up and down the East Coast, carve, paint, and finish a classic brant of your own.   This class is currently sold out, please... Read more »

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2-DAY Class: Wednesday through Thursday, April 24–25, 2019

$275 Member; $325 Non-member

Al Jordan: Carve and Paint a Red-tailed Hawk Tail Feather

Create a lifelike feather from the unmistakable tail of the red-tailed hawk with raptor extraordinaire Al Jordan. Participants will develop their work through carving, burning, texturing, and painting.

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Glenn McMurdo: Painting Techniques

Beginner-advanced. Using brushes and acrylic paints on a 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 the paint the final detail, as well as the how and why of paint and paintbrushes.

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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 Classes

Prices Vary Per Class

Thursday, April 25th: Josh Guge and Jerry Painter

Josh Guge: Paint a Redpoll Study Cast

Painting is always the most difficult aspect of the bird sculpting process. Josh will teach you how to conquer these challenges in a one day paint class. He will cover all aspects of painting including: Using thin washes to create depth in base coats How to utilize texture to benefit your painting results The right... Read more »

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Jerry Painter: Miniature Techniques – Legs and Feet

Put your best foot forward. Perfect your legs and feet techniques with miniatures master Jerry Painter. Using micro motor tools and brass rod, learn to shape and sculpt legs and feet for micro-type miniatures.

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Friday, April 26th: Ellen Lawler

Ellen Lawler Worlds Drawing Class

Learn how to draw accurate birds with Salisbury University professor emeriti, Ellen Lawler. The workshop will cover the basics of bird anatomy, provide helpful resources, and suggestions for drawing living birds.  Students will work from photos and then spend time on the show floor drawing the competition pieces. Cost is only $45 for museum members... Read more »

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Sunday, April 28th: Ross Smoker

Ross Smoker: Carving for Beginners

Ross Smoker leads a class in basic carving techniques to create a miniature, classically styled bird. Participants will finish class with an unpainted piece. Tools and materials provided.

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Pre-registration is required for all classes. Deposit payments are due by Friday, March 4, 2019.


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, 2019. 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.