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Judging Guidlines


MWCA offers the following Guidlines for Carving Show Judges.  

This outline was prepared by Frank Burghy (see Contact Page) and may be downloaded for printing by Clicking Here.

Judges should be accomplished carvers in one or more types of carving, if possible.  You may also want to consider certain non-carvers or judges, such as artists, sculptors, art dealers, or art teachers.  Some clubs use accomplished carvers from their own ranks as judges, however, these judges may be familiar with the work of carvers from their own group which may affect their impartiality.  Generally speaking carvers from outside the club group will tend to be more impartial.

You have been asked to judge at a carving show and you should feel honored that the club considers you qualified to be a judge.  But!!  I have never done this before!  Well, everyone has to start sometime, so don't be nervous - you will do a fine job.

Following is information you should consider as a judge. 
It is offered as a helpful guide to assist you with your judging.

Five (5) Basic Rules you should consider as a judge:
1.     Originality and complexity
2.    Execution and Workmanship
3.    Anatomy, Exception Caricatures
4.    Finish, Natural, Stained or Painted
5.    Presentation - including Bases, Habitat & Eye Appeal.

#1 - Originality and Complexity
A.    Does the carving exhibit a carver's original design, pattern, and concept?
B.    Was a commercial design, pattern, and concept used as available or altered slightly?
C.    Was a Commercial rough out used?
D.    How complex is the carving?
Our concern here is the originality, and complexity of the design, pattern and concept of the carving only.

#2 - Execution and Workmanship
A.    Is the carving well done with clean cuts, clean lines, attention to details, no rough or fuzzy areas?
B.    How difficult is the subject to carve?
C.    Is the carving one piece of wood, joined or added pieces of wood?

#3 - Anatomy and Shape
A.    With the exception of caricatures, all other carvings, regardless of the subject, i.e., humans, animals, birds, fish, reptiles, insects, etc, should be anatomically correct.
B.    If the carving includes structures, such as buildings, lighthouses, bridges, docks, etc, they should be of correct shape and proportions.
NOTE:  Carvings of birds, fish, animals, and other wildlife should exhibit correct placement of eyes, wings, limbs, tails, etc.

#4 - Finish
A.    A carving with a natural or stained finish should show the grain pattern of the wood.  There should be no runs, drips, or missed areas.  Stained carvings should also use colors that complement the carving.
B.    Painted carvings should exhibit clean lines between areas such as clothing, buildings, vehicles, and other subjects of this type.
C.    Carvings of animals, birds, fish, and related subjects should exhibit correct colors, and shading of adjoining areas.

#5 - Presentation
There are hundreds of ways to present or display a carving.  
Let's begin with carvings in the round (3 Dimensional).
A.    Regardless of the base, habitat, or other features, the carving should catch your eye.
B.    The habitat, etc, should be arranged in a way that will lead your eye back to the carving itseld.

The quality of work on the display should equal the quality of the carving.  A slipshod base, display, etc, detracts from the carving.  This statement holds true for carvings displayed in domes, shadow boxes, tables, or cabinets.  Relief and chip carvings can be presented as individual pieces such as plates, boxes, wall plaques, tables, or other furniture.  They should be attractive and catch the eye.

Judges should consider all the above when judging a show competition.  We recommend using three (3) judges for competition.  There are no set rules on how judges should reach an agreement on what carving gets the Blue Ribbons, etc.  A few clubs use a judging card which has a number of carving and boxes for the basic rules.  They assign numbers 1 thru 5 or 10 (1=Poor, 5 or 10=Excellent).  Each judge marks his score for each carving and the ribbons are awarded to the highest scores.  (see example below)

Most clubs let the judges check each carving and then agree among themselves on which carving wins the ribbon.  Because judges are individuals with varied experience, likes and dislikes, carvers, or non-carvers, their personal opinions will enter into their decisions.  This is the reason a carvers entry may do well at one show and poorly at another.  We feel each judge should try to be as impartial as possible and judge each carving on its merits outlined in the five (5) basic rules.

We also feel each judge should be ready and willing to critique a carver's entry on request.  Perhaps the clubs can announce this service will be available for a set time, 30 minutes for instance, after completion of the judging.


Rate Carvings on a 1 to 10 points
with 1 being the lowest on each area.
CARVING #  [_____]
[____]  DETAIL
[______] TOTAL  POINTS

Click  -  List of members willing to be Carving Judges
To be added to this list applicants must contact the M.W.C.A. Judging Chairman.
Frank Burghy