The International Guild of Miniature Artisans strives to promote miniatures as fine art, and to that end, the Guild continues its long standing program of encouraging and recognizing artistic excellence within it’s membership.
And now, I am pleased to announce the elevation of eleven new Artisan members: Pia Becker from Germany in Flowers/Plants, Pat Kasell from the USA in Needlework, Sherri MacRaild of Canada in Toys, Peggy Meyers of the USA in Needlework, Julie Parrot of the UK in Animal Figures, Mario Sergio Ramos Pastrana of Spain in Glass, Barbara Studebaker of the USA in Needlework, Lorraine Thomson of the UK in Food, Elizabeth Winters of the USA in Animal Figures, Jasmine Blanche Woodbury of the USA in Food, and Michael Yukovic of the USA in Furniture; and five new Fellow members: Erzsebet Bodzas of Hungary in Food, Pat Richards of the USA in Needlework, Kellie Wachter of the USA in Needlework, Mariella Vitale of Italy in Needlework and Carolyn Mohler Kraft of the USA in Plants.
These artists have worked long and hard to get to this point in their miniature careers and well deserve to take a bow for their achievement. Some are, or will be dealers; look for their work at upcoming shows, and in the exhibits at the Guild School and the Guild Show this summer.
Anyone who has been a member of the Guild for at least a year is eligible to apply for Artisan membership. When you’ve been an Artisan member for two years, you become eligible to apply for Fellow membership, which is the highest honor the Guild can bestow. Those are only the most basic requirements, there are several pages of guidelines posted on the IGMA website that are required reading for anyone thinking of applying. The guidelines give you an overview of the evaluation process, list the categories used to classify submissions and an overview of what the evaluation committee looks for within those categories.
Reading the guidelines and then closely examining your work and the work of other artists you respect is a bit of an education in itself, and is a great way to begin the process. The guidelines are the criteria by which your work will be evaluated. It is a blind process, meaning that those on the committee have no idea whose work they are looking at, there are no names attached to the submission when they see it. There are also no limits on how many members may be elevated at any evaluation. If they have 10 fantastic submissions at an Artisan or Fellow evaluation, and all are evaluated as meeting or exceeding the criteria, then IGMA has 10 new Artisan or Fellow members.
I urge all who are interested in stretching and developing their skills to consider working towards this recognition. The Guild Study Programs and Guild School are invaluable resources to help you in this process. At either of these programs you will be able to meet and talk to many other miniaturists and perhaps find a mentor to help you along.
Winter has finally rolled over into spring, providing fairly nice weather for the biggest miniatures show on the 2015 calendar, which took place last weekend in Chicago. Tom Bishop graciously donated space for Guild events both Friday and Saturday evenings at his Chicago International Show. The Guild’s second annual fundraising auction took place Friday evening, raising funds to support the Guild’s many educational programs. On Saturday evening, the ‘IGMA-What Is the Guild?’ program provided the audience an overview of the Guild’s mission, and served as an introduction to Guild School. For many of us, that’s what’s next on our calendars!
For the international dealers and shoppers, what’s next on their calendars is probably the Kensington Dollshouse Festival being held in London just a couple of weeks from now. The Guild has been coordinating with festival organizer, Charlotte Stokoe, to offer classes taught by renowned IGMA instructors, in the days immediately preceding the show. This year’s instructors are Ann High and Bonni Backe. Ann’s furniture carving class is full, but if you act quickly, you may still be able to snag one of the few remaining spots in Bonni’s class. She’s teaching a phenomenal class in creating passementerie in 1/12 scale. You’ll learn how to create braided and woven trims, as well as tassels and twisted cords and infinite variations of each. It will give you many skills that will prove invaluable on future miniature projects.
For those of us who can’t make it to the Kensington show, we’ll just have to content ourselves by anticipating the Guild Show coming up in August. More dealers have signed on in recent weeks, and the Gallery of the Guild is working on expanding its presence at the show. Its a opportunity for recognized Artisan and Fellow members of the Guild to sell their work and its your chance to see, and perhaps purchase, high quality miniatures. High quality does not have to mean high costs; come visit the show and see for yourself!
The upcoming Chicago International Show is my first show of 2015 and it will be my 10th anniversary as a dealer at this, the biggest miniatures show in this hemisphere. As I’ve been making and selling my miniatures for about 15 years, almost everything to do with that has evolved. Because what I make has changed, what I need to display it effectively has changed as well, so this year, a good bit of the time spent preparing for this show was devoted to developing and constructing a new display. When that was done, any remaining time was spent building up inventory. I am not alone in that.
If you visit the IGMA Facebook page, you will notice a number of dealers are busy putting together new pieces for the Chicago show and are posting photos on the IGMA page to help build interest and anticipation amongst those who will be attending. It is an exciting time for all of us; dealers and shoppers alike. I remember how exciting it was when I was a shopper and it is still just as exciting on the other side of the table. There will be well over 150 dealers at this show. Glancing at the dealer list, it is a pleasure to see so many IGMA members among them.
The Guild will also be represented by a Membership/Guild School table staffed by the Guild School Director, Barbara Davis, the Guild Administrator, Carol Hardy, as well as other member volunteers standing in for them over the weekend. Side by side with that table you will find the Gallery of the Guild, which will be selling the work of many IGMA Artisan and Fellow members who are not otherwise represented at this show.
On Friday, at the close of the show, there will be an IGMA Gala Fundraising Auction held at the hotel just around the corner from the show entrance. Tom Bishop has kindly made space available to the Guild for this event, and the generous members and friends of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans have donated an amazing selection of pieces for the auction. With Duffy Wineman as the auctioneer, it promises to be a rollicking good time.
Saturday evening, at the close of the show, there will be another IGMA function designed to acquaint miniature aficionados with the Guild and its many programs. Much of the focus will be on the Guild School-and if you are unaware of what that is, I sincerely urge you to attend the program and find out.
Time to get back to work, only 4 more days to build up that inventory!