In the fall of 1991, twelve artists joined together at Donna’s Children Doll Studio in Westfield, Massachusetts to attend the first Johnston Original Artdolls Professional Doll Making course. The workshop was a tremendous success, the graduating students all reached professional status and where prepared to start making dolls for a living. There were a few small doll shows around, but only one that caught the eye of their founder Jack Johnston. Jack had his eye on the nations largest show, The Toy Fair in New York City. It was a very expensive show and out of financial reach for any one person to go to. Jack came up with the idea of forming a guild of the graduating artists from his class. It seemed prudent that as a group they could share the costs of the show. They formed the Professional Doll Makers Art Guild in order to have enough strength in numbers to attend the show. They all agreed and together formed the Guild and went to the show. It was a great success and it was the beginning of the PDMAG, it carries on today.
Over the past years the Guild has helped hundreds of artists show their creations at shows across the nation. The members of the Guild have shown in every major doll show from San Francisco to Miami. They have received hundreds of awards ranging from small shows to the largest shows in the nation. Members of the Guild have received more awards from the “Dolls Awards of Excellence” than any other organization. In 2015 alone the members received 35 awards at the Diamond Awards ceremony at the International Doll Show in Asheville, NC. Since 1991 the combined members of the Guild have sold one-of-a-kind dolls, limited reproduction dolls and mass produced dolls totaling millions of dollars.
The PDMAG prides itself in saying “We will help any worthy artist who desires to improve his or her skills as a professional artist”. We have never turned an artist away, if they are beginning artists we offer them a chance to improve their skills by assigning them a Mentor to them in a one year training program. Once they have improved in their skill they are asked to help other new artists. Beginning artists have their creations critiqued by Master artists from the Guild once a year until they are ready to move from the beginning stage (Apprentice level) to the higher level of “Artist”. The members who have reached the Artist level are invited to show their creations at the annual doll shows that the Guild attends. Each year the Guild awards three of it’s members with either the Artist Choice Award, The Best of Show Award, or the Presidents Award. Once a member has received one of these awards that member will be elevated to "Master Artist" status.
The Guild does not take a commission from the sale of any of it’s artists creations, in fact it does not even charge for booth space for it’s members. The annual dues of $49.94 each are sufficient to pay for the show space. Once a year the Masters Artists of the Guild make a doll in front of the collectors at one of the shows, at the end of the show the Guild auctions off the doll and gives the money to the Guild to perpetuate their shows in the future. All of the money that goes into the Guild is used to help it artists get a leg up in the doll making industry. The officers serve as volunteers during their two year stay in administration.
The money that is left over at the end of the year is used to purchase advertising and to pay for the upcoming shows. The Guild does much more than just help its members, the Guild also encourages its members to contribute their dolls and time to charities. In one auction alone the members of the Guild gave $16,500 to Marie Osmond for the Children’s Miracle Network.
One of the Guilds corporate sponsors (The ProSculpt Company) the Guild offers supplies to its members at a 20% discount on all retail items from Johnston Original Artdolls online store. (Joe and Ryan Jones image can text wrap on the left side of this paragraph). Jones Publishing gives the members of the Guild 30% off on all of their magazine subscriptions. The International Doll and Teddy Bear show in Asheville, NC reduces the cost of their show space to the Guild to help their members. The IDTS has become the location for the Guilds annual meeting and is its largest show. The Guild has become the largest contributor to the show and is their anchor Tennant.
Jack Johnston, the founder and CEO 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. Working as a consortium of artists with the same goal in mind give us the ability to progress faster and go further as a team than we ever could as individuals. The Guild has become the largest group of doll makers in the world. It is our desire to help any one who wishes to become a doll maker reach their goals, and if they work hard enough, help them become a star".
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