I made it

In these days of instant information, most of what lands in my physical mailbox isn’t worth spending much time on. But yesterday I got this envelope. I knew it had important information for me.

RALA envelope

I am not a person who waits well. The teenager in me still craves instant gratification. In fact, when I’m watching a movie or reading a book in which a character (always a woman) puts an unopened envelope in her pocket to read later, I always find such an action incomprehensible. Good news or bad, give it to me now. Unless it’s a bill, I rip open envelopes on the way back up my driveway from collecting it out of my mailbox. That’s what I did with this one, too.

The letter was going to tell me if I remained a regular RALA Artisan or achieved the status of RALA Master Artisan. So what’s RALA? Roycrofters At Large Association. That phrase might not be meaningful to lots of folks, but when I say that the Association was founded on and maintains the principles of Elbert Hubbard, a leader in the Arts & Crafts Movement in the late 1800s, more people start nodding their heads.

Here are the five criteria to be a RALA Artisan: high quality craftsmanship, excellence in design, continuing artistic growth, originality of expression, and professional recognition. A person has to be an Artisan for at least five years in order to apply for Master status, and that designation is far from guaranteed. I know some folks who applied for and were denied Master status. Plus, in order to keep the RALA designation as both Artisan and Master continue to be meaningful, the Board is applying increasing scrutiny to the work submitted.

The jury process for RALA status, both Artisan and Master, starts with photos of the work. You may remember my glam shots for this year’s applications. For shows, that’s all a jury sees. But for RALA, the actual work must be submitted for hands-on jurying. Imperfections that could be hidden in a photo are there for all to see in a hands-on process.

So it is a definite honor to be selected as a Master Artisan! Now I need to make sure I live up to that status.

If I ever get a real break from weaving baby wraps, I’ll probably look into the Certificate of Excellence designation through the Handweavers Guild of America. This is a very in-depth, multi-stage, more-than-one-year program. I know I can’t devote the time and energy to it right now.

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