By MATT CRANE
Along with 12 other members, the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi welcomed local artist and craftsman Dylan Karges into its prestigious organization after an August jury process.
Karges said he thought about joining the guild for years and worked with the organization to bring a collection to Mississippi State University for an exhibit.
“The timing just never seemed to work out, so I finally got things together this year after getting back from a work trip to Israel,” he said. “I had about a week to get my application and work together, and I heard back from them about a month and a half later.”
Karges said the guild is one of the only professional organizations for artists and craftsmen in the state and members are chosen based upon jury panels in each artistic genre.
“I submitted in clay, so I had some pottery and I’ve been working on a ceramic installation of small figurines that I’ve been working on for about 10 years and I’m up to about 1,000,” he said. “I’m on a big push right now before I install a show in Meridian that’ll have about 1,500 statues that’s coming up in October.”
Karges, an illustrator for the Cobb Institute of Archaeology, said he realized he was not a traditional craftsman and approached his application into the guild by relating to his job at MSU.
“I’m literally illustrating a 7,000 year history of ceramics of what comes out of the ground so there was a nice tie-in there,” he said. “I tried to make some connections there with the history of what was being dug up and with what I do as artist as well.”
Karges said he was honored by his acceptance into the guild and is excited about the possibilities and artistic relationships he can build.
“It opens up a networking circle of people that have the same interests and it’s the opportunity for a sounding board of feedback from a professional perspective,” he said. “Often times your work is more appreciated by other artists than general public depending on what they know or get into themselves, but being in the guild means there’s a verification that the craftsmanship is there and the affiliation is important to help build a bigger network.”
Karges said he began working with ceramics in 1998 during a class required by the MSU art department, but soon recognized the joy he felt while working in that particular medium.
“It’s something that was very tangible and hands on and really, really expressive so that stuck with me,” he said. “I really like to work with my hands and with ceramics there’s an instant gratification with that.”
Aside from his work on campus, Karges played an integral role in the construction and design of the Starkville Community Market over three years ago.
“I took that on as a design-and-build project and worked with a handful of art and architecture students in the summer for the last two years to design and build that from scratch,” he said. “It’s really gratifying and a great relief to get that done and see completion.”
Karges said he is proud of the team’s accomplishments and the way in which the community came together to promote the service the community market provides.
“It was a great collaboration,” he said. “It got a lot of folks out and the buy in from the community, corporate partners and the city was absolutely fantastic.”
For more information on the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, visit http://www.mscrafts.org .