A Shopmark Of Their Own: The Arts & Craftsmen Guild
by Kate Nixon
Collaborating with East Aurora’s historic Roycroft Campus and holding meetings on their campus (that now includes a virtual audience from all over the country), the Arts & Craftsmen Guild have provided educational classes and resources to not only members and Roycroft supporters, but to the community of East Aurora. Since 2015, a main objective of the guild is to not only provide a supportive venue for their artists with the help of the Roycroft Campus, but to provide support for the community in the form of classes, participating in local events, providing a local scholarship, collaborate with other guilds and galleries, and distinguish their Triangle Rose shopmark as a dependable symbol of craftsmanship of the Arts & Crafts style. We spoke with Yvonne Stoklosa, guild co-founder and chairperson of the Arts and Craftsmen Guild committee, to find out more about this group and the importance of their triangle rose as their shopmark.
In talking with Stoklosa about the struggles of 2020 and into 2021, I couldn’t help but bring up their YouTube channel, now populated with interviews with their artists from all over the country. “It turned out to be a really good thing because we do have members in other parts of the country and Canada that couldn’t come to our monthly meetings, so now we have an easy way,” Yvonne noted. “We will continue going forward with every open meeting being offered through Zoom and all meetings will be shown through our YouTube channel, so members can look at those meetings at any time.” Like so many other organizations today, they have used services like YouTube and Zoom to hold their meetings and spread them to a wide audience of supporters.
A closer look at these videos reveal several artists with a number of different styles, reflective of the guild itself as holding artists of not only different fields, but of different experience levels. “Many different styles and mediums of artists are in our guild and we open our membership to anyone who wants to join. We’re there for new artists, young artists, maybe old and retired artists who are just starting out in a certain field. We’re there to support everyone.” When it comes to the juried artists, that’s a different story. Artists must meet certain criteria in order to acquire the use of the triangle rose on their works. Where the majority of the guild does work in the Arts and Crafts style, it is not a requirement to work within the guild; according to Stoklosa, the Arts & Craftsmen Guild works to find shows, galleries, and other resources for up and coming artists and craftspeople of different genres. “We’re opening the doors to anyone who wants to join, we’re there to help.”
“We’re trying to get more involved with helping the community in any ways we can through outreach and to make our presence and the legacy of the Roycroft Campus known.” – Yvonne Stoklosa, Co-Founder of the Arts & Craftsmen Guild
Like other Arts & Crafts guilds and societies, the idea of mentorship is essential – and in tackling a number of different styles and experience levels, the Arts & Craftsmen Guild considers themselves quite strong in mentoring capabilities to students of all ages. “We encourage new juried artists to come exhibit at our shows, we provide ideas for other shows, opportunities for custom work. Also, our rural community outreach to underprivileged children is going strong in East Aurora. A lot of the members of our guild are former, retired and current teachers; some of them have spent this past summer teaching these underprivileged students. It was so successful we opened it up to any children in the area with a small fee to be donated to the rural outreach center.” In addition to stoking a creative fire in today’s youth, Stoklosa is also quick to tell about a scholarship they provide high school seniors going into a visual arts program in college. Starting five years ago, the scholarship can go to any East Aurora high school senior applying for that higher learning visual arts study.
Lastly, as charity has become an important touchstone of the Arts & Craftsmen Guild, they used the expanded virtual audience to ask for monetary or food donations to a local charity. “We’re trying to get more involved with helping the community in any ways that we can through outreach and to make our presence and the legacy of the Roycroft Campus known. You’d be surprised; even though locals around here know where the Roycroft Campus is, they don’t know WHAT it is.” It is safe to say the grass doesn’t grow under the feet of the Arts & Craftsmen Guild after keeping involved in charity and outreach in addition to shows.
And then there’s the shopmark. In developing their own shopmark in 2015, the guild took inspiration from the infamous Mackintosh rose from the movement originating in Britain as well as Dard Hunter’s own square spin on the rose. The color yellow represents friendship – fitting as a group who spends lots of time mentoring and helping each other. Once someone is accepted as a juried artist into the guild, the artist or craftsperson may put the shopmark on their work as a representation of the Arts and Craftsmen Guild. It’s safe to say grass that does not grow under the feet of the Arts & Craftsmen Guild. With an upcoming holiday party on December 9th and the addition of a new arts center being developed on the Roycroft Campus in 2022, which will serve as a meeting and gallery space, there’s plenty to celebrate over at this guild.
The Arts & Craftsmen Guild meets on the second Thursday of every month at the Roycroft Campus.
For more information, please see the Arts & Craftsmen Guild’s website below.