I have read the thread a bit while I was on my trip where people were voicing in that we needn't bother outside judges with the initial jury process when we 'know' who will get master level right off the bat. But I just can't agree with that thought process and here is my thinking on that.
First I think we open ourselves to future criticism if we just automatically advance people without them going through the process. What if next year when we officially launch people jump on board and say 'how can these people judge me when they have not been judged themselves? If they get in automatically then I should too." Perhaps even opening ourselves to lawsuit that we did not follow our own protocols of three judges. While the three judges would not be master ISSA members for this initial jurying, they would be people esteemed within the art world and knowledgeable about scratchboard.
Secondly what if someone thinks they are good enough, but maybe I (or someone else) don't feel like they meet the criteria set up. Now we have the start of a personal feud right at the get go and hard feelings. Now of course any juror in the future may hurt feelings too (it goes with the territory) but its not all out there for everyone to know who is the one speaking against them, as it would be if done through postings on WC and some people would likely feel intimidated to comment if others seemed to think the person was good to go even though they may not be alone in their feelings. In my opinion jurying should be done in private, not public, where the jurors can openly discuss the issues and their decision without offending more than a simple 'no' will already (if the jurors do not feel they are qualified).
Many of the people that would be potential master members are also people that are now running for positions on the board. If elected (which seems likely since we are all running unopposed) then even more it goes back to my first comment or someone saying that these people got in based on a position of authority in the society, not on skill.
And if we are all so confident of who will get in, what is the harm of having it validated by outside judges to make it all legit and with a record of the results for book keeping purposes.
I do feel that we should not impose a large burden on these judges that we ask, as someone else also indicated. I think we should limit this initial outside jury to no more than 7 applicants (which would mean that the viewers would have to look through a total of 70 images (7 sets of 10), look over 7 resume/bios, which really should not take that long to do) I would certainly hope we can get at least 3 out of that lot, and perhaps all seven if seven apply, which would give us a good pool of jurors for 2012.
I have two people that I would suggest as outside jurors.
Charles Eweing, who many of you are familiar with as the founder of clayboard and the scratchboard that ampersand makes. He has an intimate knowledge of the medium, and although he mostly works on clayboard, he has discussed at some length techniques on black boards as well. And while he does know some of us, I can say with full confidence that I believe he would be unbiased in any decision that he makes.
Diane Mason (http://www.ddmason.com/Artists_Profile.html
) is the president of the Society of Animal Artists. She is now a primarily a sculptor, but has worked in scratchboard before (it was one of her first mediums). She has served as president of SAA for the past several years and is very supportive of seeing scratchboard take its rightful place as a fine art medium. She has served on the jurying of SAA members as well as SAA shows, and judged a variety of national competitions. She does know me and Cristina (as are both SAA members) but again I can tell you with good confidence that she would be unbiased in her decisions.
Rodman suggested an artist that he knows and hope he will hop in here and share a bit about him and why he thinks he is qualified. If others have suggestions on outside jurors please feel free to let us know.
If these two are to everyone's approved I would take on the task of calling them to see if they would agree to be jurors for our initial pool of Master members. If someone has an objection please feel free to voice it (I won't get offended or upset). If the fact that I know two of them bothers someone please feel free to suggest an alternate too.
And some have said "well I only want my peer of scratchboard artists, who know every in and out of this medium to judge me" and my opinion is that is fine, then you wait until 2012 to apply, when you will in fact have just that. I can honestly think of no valid reason that we would NOT have a jury panel to get the first master members.
OK off my soap box...