The hard work of the organizing committee has again paid off with growth in entries in this year's York Society Art and Craft Awards.

Award winners were announced at the official opening of the exhibition of art and craft  by local MHR, Christian Porter, on October 12. Mr Porter paid tribute to the volunteers organizers. He also drew attention to Ensign Robert Dale who led the first expedition of white settlers from the Swan River colony to what is now York. As an understudy of WA's first surveyor general, John Septimus Roe,  Ensign Dale had been a talented artist and illustrator, Mr Porter said.

This year's 266 entries were judged by husband and wife team, Dr Stefano Carboni who is director of the Art Gallery of WA and Maria Carboni who is an artist and art curator. The number of entries was up from 239 last year and a number addressed this year's optional theme, families.

Entries came from as far away as Margaret River with the majority from the metropolitan area. Entries from York and the Avon Valley gained several major awards. These included Jean Arnold from York who received the Avon Valley art award for a painting entitled Scones and Jam with Silver. Mick Cotter from Northam received the award for works in wood for a lidded jewellery box. Ken Emberson won both the Avon Valley Craft Award and Families Craft Award with his set of bowls in the potter/ceramics category. Winner of the people's choice award was Linda O'Brian from Karrinyup, with a pastel called Dusk on Karijini. 

The judges were impressed with the overall standard of entries in this year's competition. Commenting on the local entries they said of Mick Cotter's jewellery box: "Beautifully crafted and great choice of wood, the natural pattern is incorporated in the form of the overall piece.  "It has a smooth finish, seamless transition between bowl and lid and a feel that makes it a jewel itself". 

Of Jean Arnold, 'Scones and Jam with Silver', the judges said, "A very successful still-life composition.  "The use of a monochromatic palette is visually arresting.  "The work is engaging and dynamic.  "The choice of frame is unobtrusive and harmonious," they said.

Ken Emberson's set of bowls were: "Imbued with symbolic meaning. "Celebrating the rose family is an endearing portrait, an evocative portrayal of family," the judges said.

Spokes person for the organizing committee, Liz Parker thanked the major sponsors of the awards, Healthway Act-Belong-Commit, the Shire of York and  the York and Districts Community Bank branch of Bendigo Bank. The support of numerous other sponsors helped make the awards possible, she said

ABOVE: Judges of this year's York Society Art and Craft Awards, Maria and Stefano Carboni (left) and local winners of major awards Jean Arnold and Ken Emberson.