Monday, December 17, 2012

Friday Critique returns

            I will be reinstating Friday Critique this Friday. Consequently, I'll be putting up another post this week about critique - what it's for, and how to do it respectfully and constructively.
            In the previous Friday Critique series, (found here) I followed a format including lots of pictures, and lots of discussion about each piece. But I found that I was not receiving the feedback that makes a critique helpful, so I ceased the series for a time. (I also ran out of pots to critique before the kiln arrived!) I think that my extensive descriptions and discussion may have been intimidating to those who have never critiqued ceramic work before - perhaps it seemed as though I had said all there was to say.
            There are many aspects to a ceramic object, and I have been taught to think about as many of them as possible while planning and creating my work. But I can assure you that I have not thought of everything - and I would rather foster discussion than do all the talking myself. I learn the most about my work from what others say about it.
            I often encounter people who tell me they aren't "qualified" to talk about ceramic work, since they don't make pots/don't know how kilns work/didn't go to art school/etc. This is a common, but silly, assumption that I suspect a lot of artists hear. Let me tell you why it's a little silly: Artists are not making work only for potters/kiln gurus/art school graduates, we're making it for everyone who is interested. Therefore, I want to hear what all sorts of people have to say about my work. I do not want my work to be too abstruse for someone who isn't an expert ceramic artist - I want everyone to use my dishes!
           And, truth be told, much of the best critique I have had came from friends and acquaintances who have no background in ceramics. You don't have to know how throwing works to suggest a different shape, nor how glazing works to suggest a different glaze texture. It's even helpful to say that you dislike a shape or texture!
            So please do not be shy; your thoughts are valuable. I will follow this up with a post about how to critique someone's work constructively.

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