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The Value of Critiques


#1

Was: Open Hearts is suing over copyright infringement

Helen- I wholeheartedly agree with you that it is very helpful to
get honest critiques from knowledgeable people about our jewelry,
and I’d like to add–websites. Many of us work alone, and? it is
often impossible to look at our own creations with an objective eye
as to design elements, workmanship etc. It is useful even if several
different people come up with different opinions about a particular
piece, because it gives us an opportunity to see it from different
perspectives.

For those of us who save money (or just enjoy the challenge) and
create our own websites, an outside critique is really important. I
know I get so caught up in my own perceptions, I have no idea how
these pages look to someone else. All my efforts to invite family,
friends and clients to comment on my website have been to no avail,
because no one wants to appear negative or at worst, insulting. In
addition they don’t have the experience and the creative perspective
that Orchid people have. It goes without saying that if we invite
criticism, we also have to be able to handle it without feeling like
it is a personal attack. I? know we can trust Orchidians to offer it
in a most professional and constructive manner.

Can we change the name of this thread to The Value of Critiques or
something like that?)

Sandra
Sandra Buchholz
Elegant Insects Jewelry
http://www.elegantinsects.com


#2

Every good designer would agree that critiques are essential for the
creative growth of all artists. Thank you for starting a new thread,
as we have changed completely from the original subject, Richard’s
point of re-thinking being small publicly, to sharing thoughts about
artists welcoming helpful advice about their own work.

Michelle


#3

Sandra, I couldn’t agree more about critiques.

At the Jewelry Artists Network we have a board specifically for what
we call ‘structured critiques’. We have some guidelines for giving a
critique which helps a lot. One of the basic things we try to keep
in mind is that a critique is not necessarily a ‘criticism’, it is
an appraisal in which we recommend one includes what works well,
what doesn’t work well, along with suggestions for improvements.
Since its strictly from the perspective of the reviewer there will be
different perspectives and that is the great thing about it - being
able to see from many different ‘eyes’ and then being able to take
what you want and apply it.

For those of us who really do work in isolation - I highly recommend
trying to get involved with a group that can conduct critiques or
peer reviews or whatever you want to call it. I’ve seen artists make
huge leaps in their work after receiving meaningful critiques.

Janice


#4

I agree that it is very difficult to get friends and family to
critique your work in general. The artisans group that I belong to
has started to hold quarterly critiques, where each member may bring
2 pieces, and the evening is led by a faculty member in the art
department of the local college. We held our first one about a month
ago, and it went very well.

When I teach, I emphasize to the students that you don’t just say “I
like it”, or “I don’t like it” - you say “I think this works
because…” or “this doesn’t work because”. Whether you like it or
not is irrelevant. What matters is what parts of the composition work
and why; what parts don’t seem to work and why. Then the artist can
take that and use as they wish. Just because person A
says this works or doesn’t work doesn’t mean you as an artist have to
agree. But it IS important for you to consider.

I wasn’t sure how my jewelry was going to “work” in the critique, as
everyone else there were painters or photographers or ceramic
artists, but it worked very well.

I would suggest getting with your local arts commission to see if
they might be willing to sponsor a critique for local artists. Nice
to get to meet other artists anyway!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


http://bethwicker.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#5
I wholeheartedly agree with you that it is very helpful to get
honest critiques from knowledgeable people about our jewelry, 

Helen sent me pictures of her work, and I told her what I thought,
good and bad (not much bad)… Otherwise, I for one don’t offer my
opinions unless I’m asked. Everybody in the world is an excellent
driver, and mid-level jewelry makers are much the same. Students
know they are students, actual masters know that and generally don’t
say so…

Plus it really doesn’t matter, although I can appreciate a desire
for feedback. What I don’t like, the other guy does and vice-versa.
Craftsmans hip is another matter, but that’s also trickier… I
can tell you your work needs tweaking, but actually doing that is
the thing…

I know that not everybody sells their work and from some folk’s
idealism I gather they consider it evil. There’s no feedback quite
like selling something - the person is saying, “I like this enough
to want to possess it…”


#6
Helen sent me pictures of her work, and I told her what I thought,
good and bad (not much bad).... Otherwise, I for one don't offer
my opinions unless I'm asked. 

And it’s precisely that kind of feedback from folk like yourself
John, which has helped me to improve and I thank you sincerely for
it. I don’t have any arty ideals. I want to make what people want to
buy, so I like to ask advice from those jewellers on the list who are
selling such jewellery (the kind which people want to buy).
Hopefully, with the help and advice from the sages on this forum, I
and others like me will continue to improve.

Thanks to all those who are willing to offer opinions and advice -
it always helps, positive or negative.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk
http://helensgems.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#7

This subject just came up in conversation with a colleague regarding
a real world consequence of his asking “what do you think” of the
wrong people. He was pretty torn up by it. In this case, he
experienced rejection, in his judgment, because he is self taught (as
am I) rather than a graduate of a design or jewelry program.

I told him I’d had a similar experience and knew how painful that
kind of dismissive rejection can be. What did I learn from it? If you
anticipate a person or group disapproving of your work because they
are predisposed not to like the style/materials/subjects or other
issuesDon’t Ask Those People!

Over the years, I’ve learned to work as insightfully, passionately,
carefully, beautifully as makes me really happy. This has been a
successful mode for me for many years. The “critique” most important
to me occurs in public arena, measured by the amount of interest
sustained and pleasure generated in relative strangers. Like
bio-feedback, in a way. You can accept, reject it, be shaped by it or
shape it by the strength of your work.

You aren’t going to please everyone. No one does. Listen and learn
(to others and to yourself). Work and learn, from pieces that just
knock your socks off as your working and those that don’t have "it"
yet. If you’re honest with yourself, you know.

If you let your work be overly guided by other voices, where is your
voice in the end?

Some people like to work alone, some people like to work in
community. Neither style is more correct.

This may be a tangent from the original thread, which I missed, but
the coincidence struck me.

Marianne
Marianne Hunter
www.hunter-studios.com


#8

Critique, and some of the phrases, "this works because…, this
does not seem to… are hopefully open and sincere.

Orchid seems to have, under the watchful eyes of Hanuman and Ton,
been well directed, insofar as there has been give and take within
many subjects. On lesser developed forums, I have seen, “look at
what I made,” responded to as wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, etc.
none of which were valid. When I have asked why, I was told, “Oh we
have to encourage people.”

I did not and do not agree. I do not see it as serving any purpose.
I want to know when I have missed the mark, having thin skin does not
work here. A critique review is part of striving for excellence, and
should be accepted as such.

Design flaws may not be easy for the maker to see. Balance, color,
etc. I have not been an art student, and at times miss the mark. I
have a friend who curated museum shows, she is constantly trying to
get my eyes to see a variant of shade, or a smidgen of balance. I
appreciate her pressing me, and at times may huff and puff a bit.
Bottom line, she is right, and I am the student, and in the end, I
value the lesson.

Maybe, a “what do you think” section. I’m game.
Hugs,
Terrie


#9

This reminds me of something very common in the military, and I’m
sure, in many other organizations; that is that one of the most
difficult things for a commander to get is negative No
one wants to be the bearer of “bad news” and be painted with that
brush. Without knowledge of problem areas there is no way to address
them and make improvement.

Perhaps Ganoksin could make an area dedicated for critical review by
members. Any work could be submitted. Submitters would understand
that any comments are possible. Perhaps there could be a format for
critiques such as Topic, Comment, Recommendation. or something else
appropriate.

Thoughts? Comments?
Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV


#10

… put simply, “Never ask a question you don’t want to hear the
answer to.”


#11
 Perhaps Ganoksin could make an area dedicated for critical review
by members. Any work could be submitted. Submitters would
understand that any comments are possible. Perhaps there could be a
format for critiques such as Topic, Comment, Recommendation. or
something else appropriate. 

Mike: I like that idea - and perhaps it would be nice to have the
critique submitted anonymously. I think it is helpful just to have
the critique - regardless of who gives it. And sometimes a valid
critique can come from someone who doesn’t even make jewelry but
possibly wears a lot of it. Some people are hesitant to give any
negative critique if their names are attached to it but might give
helpful critique if they could do so anonymously.


#12

Bericho,

I like that idea - and perhaps it would be nice to have the
critique submitted anonymously. I think it is helpful just to have
the critique - regardless of who gives it. And sometimes a valid
critique can come from someone who doesn't even make jewelry but
possibly wears a lot of it. Some people are hesitant to give any
negative critique if their names are attached to it but might give
helpful critique if they could do so anonymously. 

I have no problems with a ‘critique’ area other than it will cause
hanuman more work for probably minimal user gain.

NONE of this ‘anonymously’ bovine crap.

If I say anything I stand behind it with my name. I expect the same
from others. Unless they really don’t have a name, but this is very
rare, even my dumb cats know their names.

The first things I do when looking at a new piece is to turn it over
to see the back, roll it in my fingers to get a feel, then look at
the front/top etc. Pretty hard to do on Photoshop images.

Jeff Demand, also signed as jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#13

I agree that telling someone their work is beautiful and wonderful
when it clearly isn’t, is doing them dishonor. I think those who put
their work up for review should be willing to hear the real criticism
in a helpful and encouraging way. I think we assume if someone says
something negative about our work that it has to always be hurtful,
which isn’t true. We can’t grow in our art if we aren’t honest about
our work. I look back on some on my work that I thought was great
early on and now realize that someone should have been more honest
with me and given helpful suggestions on how to improve my work.

We have become a society where our children now all get awards even
when they haven’t earned one. Every child has to feel great about
themselves and never learn how to fail and pick themselves up and
learn from their mistakes. I would rather have a gold star when I
truly have earned one then to be patronized by those who don’t care
enough to tell the truth… So the next time someone asks this forum
to critique their work we should all be more honest in a kind and
supportive way to help them grow.

Roxan O’Brien
www.designsbyroxan.com


#14

I for one whole heartedly support this idea!

Daniel Culver


#15
i'm using the very same graver geometry you just described - the
Lindsay Universal Parallel poi Over the years, I've learned to
work as insightfully, passionately, carefully, beautifully as makes
me really happy. This has been a successful mode for me for many
years. The "critique" most important to me occurs in public arena,
measured by the amount of interest sustained and pleasure generated
in relative strangers. Like bio-feedback, in a way. You can accept,
reject it, be shaped by it or shape it by the strength of your work.
If you let your work be overly guided by other voices, where is
your voice in the end? 

The words above are Marianne Hunter’s and I think she has it exactly
right.

A critical review by members of Orchid or anyone else is a bad idea.
It will end in tears.

If you want a critique do shows and listen to those who view your
work; that’s all you need.

If you have a particular question about something ask someone
’live’; someone you respect.

KPK


#16

I was once asked by a close friend to comment on recent photographs
she took.

“Constructive criticism” is what she asked for.

So… I looked on her work, and honestly and lengthy wrote her
what was great about her work and what …sucked. I emailed her my
opinions written straight from my heart, an honest & plain
constructive criticism. Not wrapped in sugar. I pointed up my
thoughts about the composition, the techniques, the mood and message
of each picture, I followed with some personal examples of ‘what I
would do if’ types of comments…I felt blessed. I had the
opportunity to offer a friend an honest, open opinion on a subject we
are both passionate about. Isn’t that what’s friendship is all about?

Well, dear readers, not really. Now I understand that maybe her
asking for criticism was probably a way to squeeze compliments…

Oh dear, did she get mad reading my review…

Bottom line, criticism values when it comes from someone you respect
but then it’s painful to accept.


#17

I think this is a great idea. I’ve tried to get a group of
professional artists together, not just jewelers, but it has been
soo hard to get our schedules to match!

Even though there’s nothing like being able to touch the work to
really understand the quality, visuals can show a lot. I for one
would love to have feedback from people whose opinion I respect and
can give me some constructive criticism.

However,one thing I have noticed about the web and email in general-
often people don’t think before they speak because I think they feel
kind of anonymous and it’s too quick and easy. It is different for
most people when they speak to someone face to face and have to own
what they say when they say it. It reminds me of the way people
carry on while they are driving. I’m sure they would stifle it a bit
if they were actually in the same space as the person they’re cussing
out as they whiz by them. There have been some pretty blunt and
occasionally unkind things said because of this anonymity and ease.
That doesn’t mean I think everything must be sweetness and light.

It is a critique I’m seeking, after all. I just want honesty AND
civililty, which I’m sure we can mange on this forum! (despite the
occasionally devolving Jane Seymour, open hearts thread) :slight_smile:

Anyway, sitting alone in my studio working on something day in and
day out, well, sometimes I begin to lose perspective and it would be
good to show my work to those of you interested enough to share your
insights.

Victoria Woollen-Danner


#18
I have no problems with a critique area other than it will cause
hanuman more work for probably minimal user gain. 

Jeff - you are absolutely right - and I stand corrected. And it
would cause Hanuman more work -and possibly it would be difficult to
render a critique if you couldnt, as you say, “turn it over to see
the
back, roll it…etc”

Kay (Bericho)


#19
We have become a society where our children now all get awards
even when they haven't earned one. Every child has to feel great
about themselves and never learn how to fail and pick themselves up
and learn from their mistakes. 

i am now going to critique your view of children and art Art is a
childs first language, it is sacred any child that creates any art
deserves a gold star The child that creates is building neural
pathways and developing thier brain and many other physiological
aspects to thier mind and body, hand eye coordination.

Art is a childs first language its not about your interperetation of
how good you think the work is A childs art is an expression of
themselves. Now for you and we who are adults that is a different
subject, is money being exchanged ? when money is involved brutal
honesty is not only neccesary it is also approriate.

When the child is old enough and mature enough to understand the
purpose of critique explain it to them before you offer them reality
of criticizm.

best regards goo


#20

Hi Sandra,

Yes, let’s hope we can have some sort of platform for constructive
(including both positive and negative) criticism. I have found it
immensely helpful when people have been honest with me about my
jewellery. I’m big enough and ugly enough to know that it’s not meant
personally, but instead is there to help you grow as an artist/maker.
Anybody who can’t handle such criticism doesn’t have to show their
work.

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk
http://helensgems.ganoksin.com/blogs/