In the fall of 1991, twelve artists joined together at Donna’s Children Making studio in Westfield, Massachusetts to attend the first Johnston Original Art dolls Professional Doll Making course. The workshop was a tremendous success, the graduating ‘Master” students were exceptional artists. They had a strong desire to show their new creations to the nation, but had no way of doing it. It had been a dream of instructor Jack Johnston to form a guild to help beginning artists in their quest to progress as professional doll makers. This seemed like the perfect time and group from which to organize a consortium of professional artists. The “Professional Doll Makers’ Art Guild” was formed and a group that has become a ‘legacy’ was born.
Over the past years the Guild members have had hundreds of professional artists join its ranks and show their dolls across the Nation. The Guild’s members have received an abundance of nominations to the “Dolls Awards of Excellence”. The Guild members have had International coverage through over dozens of magazine covers, profile stories and numerous individual photos in magazines. Scores of beginning artists have found their way to the top of the Industry with the Guild’s help. Combined, the artists who have been affiliated with the Guild have sold thousands of dollars in one-of-a-kind and reproduction dolls during these past years.
This group prides itself in saying “We will help any worthy artist who desires to improve his or her skills as a professional artist”. Potential members submit photos of at least three dolls of their own making. They receive a written critique to help and encourage them in their doll making skills. Apprentice members are given access to a mentor and our exclusive PDMAG Academy group. The beginning artists are encouraged to continue to improve their skills through additional courses and help from their fellow Guild members. Members are also encouraged to show their work with the Guild.
The Guild offers an annual educational scholarship program and a Masters Certificate program. Reva Schick was assisted by the Guild in reaching her “life changing” agreement with The Lee Middleton Doll Company. The same is true for Jane Pinkstaff, Barry Cathers, Pat Moulton, Mark Dennis, Joe MacPhale and many others. Jack Johnston, CEO Emeritus of the Guild says: “Helping others achieve in the doll making industry is why we have a Guild. As a team we all work with the same goal in mind. This allows us to progress much further and faster than we would ever be able to do alone. By helping artists become more successful there will be additional collectors, more successful magazines, the show promoters will have larger shows and as a result the industry will grow.”
Corporate sponsors like Scott Publications, Jones Publishing, ProSculpt, Heartland Mint and The Middleton Doll Company and others were very helpful in seeing that the Guild continues as a driving force in the doll making industry.
We hope our efforts in working together to help each other and those in the industry will continue for many years to come and through our efforts more artists will become ‘stars’ in the doll making world.