2014 WJS Judges

In addition to the Audience Choice award, the more formal judging of the WJS artworks will be made by a distinguised panel of 5 stone sculpting experts. They will adjudicate the 3 Gold, 3 Silver, and 3 bronze awards for both the Sculpture and Jewelry category.

Alex Schick

Alex Schick graduated from the Vancouver School of Art in 1973 majoring in drawing and bronze casting. He mastered jade carving in 1971 and has exhibited in many group exhibitions across Canada. His work has been exhibited at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and the Vancouver Airport. His sculptures are featured in many major corporate collections as well as the Embassy of the Bahamas and the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC. Currently he continues to create work in bronze, ivory, jade and stone as well as using his thirty years of experience in fine art restoration in all these materials.

Bill Koochin

Born in Brilliant, B.C., he studied at the Vancouver School of Art between 1949 and 1951. He joined the design department of the CBC television studio in Vancouver where he worked until his departure for France in 1955. In Paris he studied drawing at the Grande Chaumière and worked in the centuries-old govern­ment-operated Manufacture de Sèvres, producer of fine porcelain, china, enamel ware and ceramics. In this factory he studied ceramic sculpture.

He also travelled through Europe, returned to Paris and then arrived back in Canada in 1957. By 1958 he was creating metal sculpture with a welding torch. He produced three huge sculptures for the Canadian Pavilion at the Brussels International Exposition (a huge 18 foot high welded steel figure "Industrial Worker" for the manufacturing section, and two 9 foot high welded metal figures "Ballet Dancers" for the ballet and music section).

A one man show of his work took place the same year at Galerie Agnes Lefort when Dorothy Pfeiffer noted, ". . . from Mr. Koochin's welded birds one derives a feeling of optimism and strength as well as a sensation of almost over­powering and opulent majesty . . . in the figure of a young women standing with upraised arms and with delicate claw-like fingers gathers her wiry black hair into a chignon. The figure's arms, hands, fingers and legs are of rather roughcast steel cleverly contrasted to the body which is seductively modelled by a garment of finely-welded links outlining its form like a tightly-fitted gown or crocheted silk lamé.

The two deceptively simple terra cotta heads might have been dug from the ruins of ancient Pompeii yet also are completely present day in feeling." Koochin was living in Ottawa during this period and worked on his welded steel creations in a garage. In the years that followed he returned to Vancouver and held one man shows in Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.

He also worked in the mediums of enamels, mosaics, terra-cotta, wood, and exhibited his drawings and woodcuts in the above cities. His subjects have been derived from bird forms, the human figure and animals in a style which he describes as 'realist-expressionist.' He taught sculpture at the University of British Columbia in 1962 and is now an instructor of design at the Vancouver School of Art.

His sculpture has been exhibited at The New Design Gallery, Vancouver, The Vancouver Art Gallery, and in the Centennial Sculpture 67 show held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver (arranged by the Federation of Canadian Artists and financed by Rothmans of Pall Mall Canada Ltd.). William Koochin is represented in the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the University of Oregon Museum of Art, and elsewhere. He is a member of the British Columbia Society of Artists, and lives in West Vancouver, B.C., with his wife and children

Dante Lopez


Michael Binkley

Michael Binkley is one of Canada's most successful self represented artists. Born in 1960, he is primarily a self taught sculptor. His artistic talent was evident at an early age and through perseverance and dedication, he is now one of Canada's leading stone sculptors. Binkley maintains his studio gallery and sculpture garden, Binkley Sculpture Studios, in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Binkley's initial inspiration to turn to stone sculpture occurred in 1980 while he was in Florence, Italy. He encountered Michelangelo's four unfinished "Captives" at the Accademia, which struck a chord deep inside him. He discovered he was able to see the finished sculptures hidden in the marble and from that moment, a transformation began which has shaped the soul of an Artist.

Since his experience with the "Captives," Binkley's desire to create has been continuous and prolific. His passion is for the human form, and this can be seen in a wide range of gorgeous sculptures ranging from stylized to representational in his Figurative Portfolio. He also creates images of Wildlife and pure Abstract forms. Inspiration for his sculptures comes from his life experiences and observations and it is a rare moment when his sensors are turned off. The sensory joy one experiences from feeling a polished stone is something no other material can provide. There is an ancient, primal link between Man and stone, and few viewers can resist the urge to run their hand over Binkley's sculptures. Sculpture occupies space in our world and allows for a deeper connection through the sense of touch. This is a feature that two-dimensional art cannot satisfy.

Binkley strives to create sculpture which will seduce the viewer's eye, stir the soul, and entice the viewer to touch. He carves as much of the details of a particular subject as he can, without sacrificing the flowing, graceful lines which typify his style. He is a widely collected artist with a diverse and versatile sculpting talent. His work over the years has proved to have a universal appeal. His work can be found in private, corporate and public collections on every continent and he has over 40 exhibitions to his credit.

Binkley has worked with exclusive, six-star cruise ship lines. He is the first stone sculptor to have a solo exhibition aboard a cruise ship. Binkley is the first stone sculptor to give carving lessons aboard an ocean liner. Binkley is the first stone sculptor to lead an art tour aboard the cruise ship, Crystal "Symphony". Binkley is the only Canadian artist in the permanent international art collection aboard the Queen Mary 2, the world's largest ocean liner.

In April 2006, Binkley traveled to Pietrasanta, Italy and worked at renowned Studio SEM for the month, beginning work on four major commissions in Carrara marble for North American patrons. He returned again for the month of September in 2008 to begin a new series of sculptures in the beautiful white Carrara marble.

Tom Duquette

Tom Duquette was born in northern Ontario in 1940. He studied classical drawing, painting and sculpture at the Central Technical Institute in Toronto, Ontario and then proceeded to improve his knowledge and understanding by traveling to various indigenous art centers in the far north, southwest and pacific coastal areas of North America.

During these travels, the artist absorbed a variety of techniques and influences, which he gradually synthesized into his own personal art form, combining the most ancient and the most modern principles of North American art. To this was added the direct influence of wild creatures and the natural forces experienced during Tom's long stays in remote wilderness areas. These combinations have produced an art that is firmly rooted in tradition and yet enlivened in ways that only real life inspirations can produce.

Tom continues to express himself artistically, as he has for over 40 years, using wood, stone, bronze, precious metals and stones as well as paint and canvas. He has had the distinction of being featured in National Geographic magazine for his jade carvings, high praise for any artist.

In October of 2001 Tom was bestowed the name "Ghaiaanook" by Chief Frank Baker. The name means "great carver". For a non-native artist, there can be no higher honor.

Judging Criteria

Scoring: Judges may award a maximum of 20 points for each of the following categories

Design and Style. How well has the artist made use of sculptural elements such as form, balance, contrast, composition, surface relief and integration of supporting materials? Is the style consistent, whether traditional, abstract or realism etc?  Does the language of the artwork resonate with the intended message?

Originality and Creative use of material.  Does the artwork offer a fresh sculptural language or expression? How well has the artist incorporated the unique characteristics of jade into the design and is the jade choice complimentary?

Technicality. How well has the artist rendered the form or design and how skillful have they been in their use of various tools? Keeping design in mind, the Judges are looking for clean and consistent cuts, lines and texturing, definition of surfaces, smooth curves, and difficulty of carving.

Surfacing and detail. How well has the artist attended to the details. Are any additions joined seamlessly or in harmony with the jade? Judges will be strict against tool marks, unfinished elements and inconsistent polishing. NB. Choosing a good jade for your can make a big difference here.

Overall impression. How presentable is the finished work? Are supporting materials joined in a strong, clean manner? Is the piece in a sellable or wearable state? Does the artwork evoke emotions, is it dramatic, or successful in concept.