Getting Ready to be Reviewed

Preparing to be Reviewed

All who submit work are honored.

Master Status in the Pennsylvania Guild is a lifetime honor awarded for a body of mature work that shows:

  • excellence in craftsmanship
  • resolved design, and
  • a unique style or voice

Preparation over time is important. Attend PGC shows to see master work.  Be active in a chapter or media specific group.  Seek and receive master status at the chapter level.  Listen carefully to comments offered.  Talk to master members about your work, and theirs.  Find a mentor or ask the Office to connect you with one.

Educate your eye.  Visit large museums and galleries to look at work in your medium and beyond.  Notice details.  Learn to recognize good design, color and balance, the use of tension and space.  Assess how what you see could be applied to your work.  If yours is a medium that uses color, study the paintings of the masters to assess color harmonies and energies.  Notice nature’s palette as you drive.  Look around you.  Be observant.  And practice, practice, practice.

All who submit work are honored.  Be brave.  Remember, the work is being critiqued; not you.  Everyone on the committee has been in your shoes.  Applying for master status and the opportunity for critique is one of the greatest benefits of Guild membership.  Those who listen with an open mind benefit most.

The committee will assume you are bringing your best work.  Before you come on the in-person review day, look your work over with a critical eye.  It should be clean, the finish dry, all functioning parts working smoothly, glue dry with no overruns.  Careful attention to details goes a long way toward getting your work ready.

What to bring is a common question.  Present your best work.  Choose four pieces that work well together, that can be identified as being made by the same maker and that showcase your skills.  Keep in mind excellence in craftsmanship, resolved design and unique style or voice.  Do the four pieces you choose say this about your work?

What does the committee look for? Quality is an overall observation.  Excellence in craftsmanship shows technical skill beyond student or intermediate work.  It shows mastery in the medium.  This hands-on evaluation is rigorous.  Pitchers will be filled with water to see if the handle is comfortable and they pour without dripping.  Drawers must open and close with ease. Inside and bottom finishes will be checked.  Jackets will be tried on.  Materials should be of the highest quality, appropriate for the task and worthy of your skill and effort.

The function of the object should be enhanced by the design.  Personal involvement and creative ingenuity should be evident.  A resolved design shows maturity, with conclusive evidence of exploration and imagination.  This is your chance to wow us.

All four pieces you present should have a cohesive style that shows an understanding of your expression.  All should be identifiable as your work.  While the design of each piece is unique and stands alone, the style is consistent and shows a personal voice.

Traditional work is acceptable.  It must be historically accurate and able to be documented.

Work not eligible for master status includes use of commercially available kits and patterns, work derivative of other’s, consumables, assemblages of found or manufactured items unless it is evident the maker has significantly altered raw materials.  Commercially produced elements may not comprise a major component of any work.

What to expect on review day: Arrive 30 minutes early to allow time to arrange your work before the session begins.  If you encounter travel problems, call to let us know. After you arrange your work, you’ll leave for an hour while the committee evaluates all the work presented in that session.  You’ll be invited back into the room to learn the results.  If you desire a critique, members of the committee will share some of strengths and weaknesses of your work relating to the three areas of assessment: excellence in craftsmanship, resolved design and unique style or voice.  At this point, it’s very useful to remember we recognize your vulnerability.  We’ve all been in your place.  We’re talking about the work—not you.  Those who listen with an open mind have a wonderful learning opportunity and gain the most from the experience.

For work that doesn’t pass, you’ve received a valuable critique.  You are respected for bringing your work to be evaluated and for making use of the process.  Many people try several times before achieving master status, including members of the committee.  While no one wants to hear their work didn’t pass, when master status is awarded, you’ll have reached a high bar worthy of all your effort.  It’s not uncommon for the person who reaches this mark on the second or third try to tell us they’re glad they needed to keep stretching as their work has matured.

For work that is awarded master status, please accept our congratulations.  You will receive, with our compliments; an initial set of PGC master seals to proudly display on your work.  Additional seals may be purchased. Your slides will be kept in our library and you will receive, within one month, a hand lettered master’s certificate.  From this day forward, you are eligible for all the privileges of master status in the PGC.

When the day is over, pass or fail, does the process end here?  Make use of the benefits of this great membership organization.  Take time to reflect.  Talk to your colleagues about your work.  Push yourself to continue to learn and excel.  Go to galleries and museums.  Be observant.  Take workshops.  Take chances.  Enter gallery exhibits.  Have fun.  And keep on making.