Anyone can join the Guild, even without any previous enamelling experience or qualifications. However it is hoped that a simple interest or the aim of extending one’s knowledge will lead to an aspiration to gain new enamelling skills. To encourage this the Guild offers incentives with awards for work, both simple and advanced. These can also give tangible recognition of each member’s enamelling achievements, and there is something to suit everyone.
The assessments are not very daunting although standards are maintained. Selection for the Guild’s Craftsman and Associate Craftsman, and most of the other awards, are judged over the annual April conference weekend.
Only the major awards of CGE and ACGE need to be entered for in advance, but neither of these requires the candidate to be attending conference in person. All others awards are chosen from among the pieces exhibited that weekend by eligible members.
Winners will receive a certificate and some prizes also have monetary value. Any trophies won are held for a year but they remain Guild property; the recipient is responsible for them and they must be returned at the next conference. They cannot be taken out of the UK.
Awards may be withheld if the standard of work is insufficient. Also no piece will be eligible for awards on more than one occasion.
Selection and the Selectors Please note: Application must be made to the Awards and Selection Secretary in advance for Selection.
It is hoped that all members will aspire to become Associate Craftsman ACGE or the higher Craftsman Member CGE by offering their work for assessment:- by the three Selectors, who are appointed each year from among the best enamellers in the country. This only requires the submission of six different pieces, which may be in any technique and should be accompanied by the relevant notes. A 50% pass mark will secure Associate Craftsman status and Craftsman is gained with 75%. The full rules and additional notes of guidance are given in separate leaflets.
Anyone contemplating entry is strongly advised to request copies of these further details from the Awards and Selection Secretary at an early date, and advice will be given without any obligation. However formal entry will be required before final acceptance for actual selection.
This award goes automatically to the entrant for selection gaining the highest marks at Craftsman level.
Maureen Carswell is a founder member of the Guild and an enameller of international repute. She personally made the trophy, which she presented to the Guild for this award
This award is open to members with less than three years enamelling experience, is also assessed by the Selectors but has less exacting standards than “selection” proper. Between three and six pieces, plus notes, must be submitted, and at least two weeks notice is required. (However a beginner, aiming at achieving Associate Craftsman as well as this award, may offer the same six pieces for consideration for both on the one occasion.)
Additionally the Selectors may award a Certificate of Merit to any entrants whose work is of an acceptably high standard, but who does not win the trophy.
No member can win the award more than twice and Craftsman members lose eligibility, being considered too experienced.
Special provisions are made for disabled enamellers.
Hans Theilade was another founder member of the Guild who worked tirelessly to introduce the delights of enamelling, in its simplest forms, to as many people as possible. He is remembered for "his sense of fun, experimentation and love of enamelling". These words are therefore incorporated on the Certificate to keep his memory alive and inspire those who did not know him personally.
This will be presented for the Selectors' choice of the best work on precious metals using the Champlevé, Plique-a-Jour or Basse-Taille techniques.
Charles Frank Barnes, better known as Fred, was an original promoter of the Guild and an early Selector. He was probably best known for his fine champlevé work. As a senior part time teacher at the Sir John Cass School of Art & Design, in London, he encouraged students to learn and use traditional skills of enamelling, to explore their own ideas and to share their new found knowledge with others. Several Guild members were taught by Fred and continue to recycle his learning and determination to achieve excellence by care and control, through Guild workshops. After he died in 1989 his son Phil , another master enameller, donated a trophy in his memory.
This cup is for the best example of Cloisonné enamelling on show - chosen by the Selectors.
Peter Wolfe was also a Founding Member of the Guild and a teacher of enamelling. He presented this cup to promote his favourite technique.
This award is to honour the memory of Kenneth Benton who died in 1999 and is for the piece of enamel showing the most original and innovative use of enamelling in any technique. It is chosen by the Selectors.
Kenneth Benton came to enamelling late in life, having carved out a successful career with MI6 during the war. He and his wife worked together for MI6 and you can read about their activities on Wikipedia! He discovered enamelling as an octogenarian and donated money to the Guild's reserves. Some of this was used to buy the glass paperweight trophy to be awarded in his name.
This award is for the Selectors' choice of the best exhibited enamel displaying painting techniques using vitreous onglaze pigments. It is chosen by the Selectors.
This trophy was made and presented by Gillie Hoyte Byrom.
The Present, Past and Vice Chairmen have a free choice of whose work they consider should win them the Rose Bowl, but excluding anyone already selected for another award at the same conference. The three Chairmen may also award up to two additional Rose Bowl Certificates of Merit to members who were close runners up to the winner.
The bowl was presented by Dorothy Budd to mark the Guild's tenth anniversary, a year in which she was chairman.
This award is for the three Chairmens’choice of the best exhibited enamel displaying high quality finish. It is open to all exhibitors, except selectors and tutors. The Chairmen will consider the quality and clarity of enamel along with the finish and polish of the supporting metal.
Rachel Gogerly was Guild Chairman in its 30th year and was passionate about producing a high quality of finish to her work. She was keen to pass on her skills and knowledge and ran a conference workshop and masterclass in finishing and polishing. This trophy was made by Rachel and donated to the Guild by her family.
These awards were introduced in 2010 to encourage younger members of the Guild to submit work for exhibition at Conference. Any member under the age of 18 may submit work into one of the following categories; U11, U16, U18.
There are three trophies, one for each age group, which were designed and made by Laura Ball, our first under 18 winner from 2010. Judith Harris was a long standing member of the Guild and Conference Secretary for many years. The trophies were funded by her husband, Douglas Harris.
This is the members' choice and selected by ballot. It is for the work of any member attending conference (other than invited selectors, tutors etc., or the winner for the two previous years). A cash prize of £100 is awarded.
This trophy was made by May Yarker, a dedicated long-standing member of the Guild, and was donated by her family.