Attaining Master Status

Honor. Recognition. Excellence.

Those are words Master Members use to describe the benefits of being in-person reviewed by one of the largest and most established crafts guilds in the country, The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.  Craft-makers who pursue master status do so for the prestige and acknowledgement that comes with having their work achieve the mark of excellence that distinguishes them from the mainstream.

Master Status is the crown jewel of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.  It is one of the many reasons craftsmen join from out of state; and it is one of the many reasons craft collectors trust the Guild to connect them to the finest craft-makers.

Master Status is recognition for a body of work that is exceptional and meets or exceeds these three benchmarks:

  • excellence in craftsmanship
  • resolved design
  • unique voice or style

Taken together, the successful marriage of these three benchmarks produces a WOW factor that merits the awarding of the high honorary recognition of Master Status in the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsman.

Additional information is available in two articles: Getting Ready & Ensuring Quality Craftsmanship

To attain Master Status, craftsmen apply to be consider to bring a body of work in-person to the expert panel. The panel reviews this body of work carefully, in a hands-on rigorous examination.  This is an opportunity for an honest critique and a unique assessment. Experts meet one-on-one with applicants after the session. For those whose work is not accepted, and many aren’t, the process offers a unique teaching moment. Experts do not offer a checklist for improvement, nor do they articulate the steps a craftsman may take in the future. All comments are related to the three benchmarks and designed to give the applicant ample room for self-discovery. For those who come with an open mind, this nurturing is one of the best gifts of Guild membership and one to be savored.  Follow up conversations and mentoring may be arranged.

In Floor Jurying, a panel of experts visits the booths in a fine craft fair. They review the craft as presented and compare it to what was submitted in images. Those whose work and presentation are exceptional receive letters of commendation. Those who work does not meet the three benchmarks receive a letter outlining a course of action. See our Floor Jurying article for more details.

To Show Selection at the Pennsylvania Guild, craftsmen submit images which are reviewed by a panel of recognized experts in craft. The panel may review as many as 1,500 images in a single day. Each image is viewed with the benchmarks in mind and graded accordingly. Those craftsmen with the highest marks are permitted into our Fine Craft Fairs. See our Show Rules for more details.