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Diana Ferreira

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I would be very interested in what Bernard Leach had to say about judging ceramic work.

 

What I mean to say with "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is that art is always subjective.

It is always personal opinion. People should not feel they are "passing judgement on others", as TJR wrote.

It is not about right or wrong, or condemnation, it is about opinion.

There is no need to feel guilt when you say: "This work does not appeal to my sense of aesthetics".

Similarly, the artist has the right to think: "Well, that is just your opinion, and I don't have to worry about it".

 

I have difficulty in having "standards" for aesthetic judging. Think about all the artists who broke the "standard" of aesthetic judgement in their day,

e.g. Van Gogh. We can set standards for use/function, but not aesthetics.

(Not sure if this is relevant to Mr Leach though).

 

 

Google Leach's essay "Towards a Stamdard"

Marcia

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Ah, so many interesting comments here about Commenting on others work. If I can't walk around a piece, pick it up, give it some hand knowledge and benefit of my experience, then I cannot possibly critique it; but perhaps you can, Frederik-W. BUT I can LIKE it. I can be encouraging. I can ask questions....

 

All that I can expect via a forum such as this is a superficial critique: I Like It; or I Don't Like It -- and the I Don't Like Its on this forum are politic enough to withhold their comments -- as on my FaceBook page Dianthus Visual Arts. But on Etsy.com it's a different matter and worth having a look and participating and taking time to really work the angles, and be ever so precise and careful about descriptions of your work. I'm still learning from other etsy shop posters. I've been lucky in that an image recently prompted someone to buy a yarnbowl. Halloo Hallay! It's been a long time coming and very welcomed.

 

When we enter a juried show with images uploaded this is exactly the type of scenario we enter into. I've noticed just recently that a couple of shows will be juried based on the presence of the work. Mashiko holds this principle. ICF Mino 2011 held to this principle after eleminating a couple of rounds, and then pieces had to be sent over for a final jurying. I was lucky enough to earn Honorable Mention, but I met a chap there who did not quite get this final jurying caviat and bought a ticket to Japan on the strength of having sent his piece over for the final jurying. About 45 entries who sent their work over were eliminated. His was among them.

 

I will close by saying that from what I've read around the subject, Bernard Leach was very pleased to get his work into London galleries. He was also very pleased with his local patroness; he had a difficult slog down there in St Ives, with wood firing kilns in an area devoid of wood, which had to be brought in a great expense which ultimately reduced his bottom line of profitable income. There's more. He was inspirational, but his son David saved his bacon by taking a course up in the potteries -- Stoke-on-Trent -- on managment, kilns, etc., and allegedly really disappointed Bernard, but ultimately saved his pottery. I talked with David a couple of times, he exhibited in the Peter Dingley Gallery in Stratford-upon-Avon where I lived for over 25 years, and through Peter I was able to repair a large BL plate which had come off the wall and broken into several pieces. David said that this was one of the very few pots B had ever given to him.

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Dinah you make a distinction between commenting and criticising.

I would not blame anyone for not wanting to criticise, but I do blame people for not commenting at all.

 

There is nothing worse to an exhibiting artist than to be ignored.

Not having anything to say to fellow artists who put their work on display here is simply rude.

Being afraid to somehow hurt their feelings and therefore saying nothing is an excuse to be rude.

It seems to me that one reason for people not wanting to comment is the fear of offending, disagreeing or hurting someone,

an aesthetic political correctness. I think it is a paralysing fear to the detriment of the ceramic community.

It is nonsense for anyone to suggest that he/she cannot criticise a piece without handling it and walking around it.

Sure, there are some aspects where this is necessary, but we can deduct a lot from a photograph. Enough to be critical.

I am sure there are plenty of faults with glazing and firing that can be picked up on a photo alone.

We can also be critical of form and function in many works by looking at a good photograph.

We do not HAVE to be critical, but we CAN indeed.

 

I would think that artists/potters put their work on display not just to invite comments from the "informed" or the experts,

or those that handled the work, or seen it in person, but anyone.

 

Comments need not be superficial and a lot on this forum are not.

We can say WHY we do not like things or WHY we think things are wrong or not appealing or whatever.

 

So everyone please do your bit and comment.

 

 

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Imagine getting criticized for not criticizing.

 

 

Ok, watch this-

 

 

 

There are so many unpleasant pieces to look at in the gallery that they are a waste of clay, money and time. Piece #--- really needed more work done to it. The glazes do not suit the piece and the texture was totally unsuitable. The sprigging was poorly attached and in an unskilled manner. This potter is so unskilled that they really should reclaim their clay pieces before they decide to fire.*

 

 

 

Now how would this make you feel? It can hurt. Many people cannot take this type of criticism or even less wounding statements. I will not hurt folks for the sake of hurting them. Instead I prefer to help folks by relaying to them how to increase their skills and techniques and now only if they ask for it. I know that it takes time, patience and repetition to increase skills. And this growth will become evident to the potter.

 

It is better for folks new to the profession to get their critiques from people near them who understand them and who can see what the potter is trying to do with the clay; entering a juried show maybe better for some that really need to have critiques.

 

If someone really wants me to critique their work in the CAD Gallery in hopes of them making a better product, I have a minimum charge of $^,^^^.^^ per image, payable in advance, no checks!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*That is not a real critique, by the way.

 

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Imagine getting criticized for not criticizing.

 

 

Ok, watch this-

 

 

 

There are so many unpleasant pieces to look at in the gallery that they are a waste of clay, money and time. Piece #--- really needed more work done to it. The glazes do not suit the piece and the texture was totally unsuitable. The sprigging was poorly attached and in an unskilled manner. This potter is so unskilled that they really should reclaim their clay pieces before they decide to fire.*

 

 

 

Now how would this make you feel? It can hurt. Many people cannot take this type of criticism or even less wounding statements. I will not hurt folks for the sake of hurting them. Instead I prefer to help folks by relaying to them how to increase their skills and techniques and now only if they ask for it. I know that it takes time, patience and repetition to increase skills. And this growth will become evident to the potter.

 

It is better for folks new to the profession to get their critiques from people near them who understand them and who can see what the potter is trying to do with the clay; entering a juried show maybe better for some that really need to have critiques.

 

If someone really wants me to critique their work in the CAD Gallery in hopes of them making a better product, I have a minimum charge of $^,^^^.^^ per image, payable in advance, no checks!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*That is not a real critique, by the way.

 

 

I ignore the comments of anyone who doesn't put something in the gallery.

 

Jim

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This is a free and open forum, which has no requirements for membership (you don't even have to be a potter), it should stay that way. No one should feel pressured to do anything.

 

The gallery is simply a feature, and comments are optional.

 

 

 

As long as your not a spammer, use this place however you wish, your Kool with me.B)

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This is a free and open forum, which has no requirements for membership (you don't even have to be a potter), it should stay that way. No one should feel pressured to do anything.

 

The gallery is simply a feature, and comments are optional.

 

 

 

As long as your not a spammer, use this place however you wish, your Kool with me.B)

 

Perfect example: I don't know this guy. Never heard of him, but I go his page and what he has in the gallery--especially the porcelain TV's--impress the hell out of me so when he expresses an opinion on this form, I may not agree with him, but I know he's a good potter so I pay attention to what he says instead of ignoring him as just another "talker".

 

Jim

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Dinah you make a distinction between commenting and criticising.

I would not blame anyone for not wanting to criticise, but I do blame people for not commenting at all.

 

There is nothing worse to an exhibiting artist than to be ignored.

Not having anything to say to fellow artists who put their work on display here is simply rude.

Being afraid to somehow hurt their feelings and therefore saying nothing is an excuse to be rude.

It seems to me that one reason for people not wanting to comment is the fear of offending, disagreeing or hurting someone,

an aesthetic political correctness. I think it is a paralysing fear to the detriment of the ceramic community.

It is nonsense for anyone to suggest that he/she cannot criticise a piece without handling it and walking around it.

Sure, there are some aspects where this is necessary, but we can deduct a lot from a photograph. Enough to be critical.

I am sure there are plenty of faults with glazing and firing that can be picked up on a photo alone.

We can also be critical of form and function in many works by looking at a good photograph.

We do not HAVE to be critical, but we CAN indeed.

Well, it's a difficult area as you say. Do appreciate your passion here. But before I buy, or use I pick up. Touch. I dislike the heavy, unturned pot. It's a beginner's work. I want to see the foot ring or base. In fact, I think all postings should have a second shot of the footring and base treatment. Hmmm? What about it, folks?

I would think that artists/potters put their work on display not just to invite comments from the "informed" or the experts,

or those that handled the work, or seen it in person, but anyone.

Comments need not be superficial and a lot on this forum are not.

We can say WHY we do not like things or WHY we think things are wrong or not appealing or whatever.

How can I possibly say Why I like or dislike a piece in any depth if it's based upon superficial impressions based on a photograph?

So everyone please do your bit and comment.

 

I, like several others have mentioned, will only comment if asked, especially based on a photograph.

 

 

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More critique aspects, when it is functional work, land squarely in the discussion OF function. Does the piece serve the intended purpose well? Can the functional aspects be improved somehow? Handles that do or do not balance well, spouts that do or do not pour well, lids that do or do not seal well, knobs that are or are not easy to grip, vessel interiors that are or are not easy to clean, and glazes that do or do not pose toxicological threats are all in this nature of things.

 

 

John,

 

I don't really agree with you here, but perhaps I am not understanding what you are saying.

 

If function was the ONLY thing discussed for a functional piece I don't think it would be a helpful critique. Functional work always goes beyond function, purpose intended or not. I really do believe in such things as good pots and bad pots. If you take one potter's pitcher compared to another, and if they function equally well, you will probably find one is better than the other. It is a part of life, no?

 

Phill

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I have also noticed the lack of comments.

 

Shame on all of you with your lame excuses for not providing comments !

Is the purpose of art not to evoke response !!!

 

All of us are qualified to have an opinion on art, and our opinions are just as valid as any art curator.

If you somehow think you are not qualified enough, you simply enforce the snobbery of those who think they know better.

 

If the critique is about function or practical matters, then it should be even easier to criticise,

because then we deal about facts, which are objective.

 

If you do not want to appear "negative", at least say when you like something!

 

I would think that any artist would like to know what his/her piece evokes, e.g. if people like or don't like the work,

or whatever feelings it evokes.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is no "right" or "wrong".

I think the worst thing for an artist is to present a work, and then... UTTER SILENCE !!

 

You want to treat people with kid gloves. This is wrong. The fact is that artists make works to be exhibited,

whether it is in a home or a gallery. Artists need to know what people's reactions are, whether it is the cleaner or the "art critic".

They need to "face the music", or they will get nowhere. Even beginners should be taught this asap.

They need to put there vulnerable egos aside. If they cannot accept opinions, how on earth are they going to survive as an artist?

 

I also disagree with the fact that you have to establish some relationship with the artist in order to criticize.

As a teacher maybe, but an artist's work is public, and anybody in public has an opinion.

While they do not know you at all, their opinion matters a lot, and artist should take note of them.

 

The artist can shrug off criticism or accept it. If someone's critique here is "unfair",

I am sure there will be good Samaritans who will quickly point it out.

 

So please crawl out of your shells and comment!

 

PS: I will be posting photos in the near future and you are welcome to tear my works apart.

 

 

amen and bravo!

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There are so many unpleasant pieces to look at in the gallery that they are a waste of clay, money and time. Piece #--- really needed more work done to it. The glazes do not suit the piece and the texture was totally unsuitable. The sprigging was poorly attached and in an unskilled manner. This potter is so unskilled that they really should reclaim their clay pieces before they decide to fire.*

 

 

I am happy there is some honesty.

 

Now how would this make you feel? It can hurt. Many people cannot take this type of criticism or even less wounding statements. I will not hurt folks for the sake of hurting them. Instead I prefer to help folks by relaying to them how to increase their skills and techniques and now only if they ask for it. I know that it takes time, patience and repetition to increase skills. And this growth will become evident to the potter.

I realize it does hurt peoples feelings and no one likes that. But many people cannot take it? I completely disagree. If they can't take it, they shouldn't be in the profession. It is not hurting someone's feelings for the sake of hurting them, it is for the sake of helping them make better pots. that is the whole purpose of a critique. If you take out the parts that hurt and just give them cake for a critique, you have just hurt them more than they might realize. People are able to get up after they fall. It is part of the growing process and part of life. Like a spanking for a child, it hurts but it corrects. It doesn't mean it wasn't out of love.

It is better for folks new to the profession to get their critiques from people near them who understand them and who can see what the potter is trying to do with the clay

 

again, I disagree. People tend to learn better and quicker from working alongside people who are better at it than the "newbie." Case and point: Apprenticeships.

 

 

 

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Well, it's a difficult area as you say. Do appreciate your passion here. But before I buy, or use I pick up. Touch. I dislike the heavy, unturned pot. It's a beginner's work.

 

 

I like that you expressed your opinion about not liking them and think it is fair, but I disagree with your comment about heavy unturned pots being beginner's work. I think you are wrong. Heavy pots say something that light pots can't. The same goes for unturned pots. The same goes for sanded pots vs. unsanded pots. Etc. etc. etc. Shoji Hamada's pots are pretty heavy. So are some of simon levins. Both make wonderful work, and i think everyone could agree it is nothing like beginner's work.

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More critique aspects, when it is functional work, land squarely in the discussion OF function. Does the piece serve the intended purpose well? Can the functional aspects be improved somehow? Handles that do or do not balance well, spouts that do or do not pour well, lids that do or do not seal well, knobs that are or are not easy to grip, vessel interiors that are or are not easy to clean, and glazes that do or do not pose toxicological threats are all in this nature of things.

 

 

John,

 

I don't really agree with you here, but perhaps I am not understanding what you are saying.

 

If function was the ONLY thing discussed for a functional piece I don't think it would be a helpful critique. Functional work always goes beyond function, purpose intended or not. I really do believe in such things as good pots and bad pots. If you take one potter's pitcher compared to another, and if they function equally well, you will probably find one is better than the other. It is a part of life, no?

 

Phill

 

 

Phil,

 

I think you are missing the point there. The key word there is "more". It is building off the discussion that came before it. Functional aspects are just one potential criteria for evaluation when the work has intended function.

 

Yes, functional work always goes beyond function; they are tangible objects occupying 3 dimensional space. We percieve and interact with them. So there is for sure more.

 

best,

 

.............john

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Phil,

 

I think you are missing the point there. The key word there is "more". It is building off the discussion that came before it. Functional aspects are just one potential criteria for evaluation when the work has intended function.

 

Yes, functional work always goes beyond function; they are tangible objects occupying 3 dimensional space. We percieve and interact with them. So there is for sure more.

 

best,

 

.............john

 

 

haha i see. thanks for the clarification.

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Phill said- "I realize it does hurt peoples feelings and no one likes that. But many people cannot take it? I completely disagree. If they can't take it, they shouldn't be in the profession. It is not hurting someone's feelings for the sake of hurting them, it is for the sake of helping them make better pots. that is the whole purpose of a critique. If you take out the parts that hurt and just give them cake for a critique, you have just hurt them more than they might realize. People are able to get up after they fall. It is part of the growing process and part of life. Like a spanking for a child, it hurts but it corrects. It doesn't mean it wasn't out of love."

Yes Phill, 'people will get up after they fall'. But I will not knock them down. I want folks to love the craft and not be frustrated while they are growing in the skills or when they meet a challenge. I don't know if you noticed but not everyone has the same purpose. Some look for ways to knock others down for no other reason than they can do it and do it anonymously. No, I will not be a party to it.

 

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As to the original topic, I think one problem is the members gallery itself, I find it rather clunky to use. It's nice to have though.

 

 

If you want an actual critique of your work, I think posting a photo or link in the forum would be the best option. Of course taking a decent photograph is an art unto itself.

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There are so many unpleasant pieces to look at in the gallery that they are a waste of clay, money and time. Piece #--- really needed more work done to it. The glazes do not suit the piece and the texture was totally unsuitable. The sprigging was poorly attached and in an unskilled manner. This potter is so unskilled that they really should reclaim their clay pieces before they decide to fire.*

 

 

Lucille you make a point with this example of criticism - i.e. some criticism can hurt. Most of the criticism above are fine I think, but to tell someone he/she is "so unskilled that they really should reclaim their clay pieces before they decide to fire" is a bit rough. It can be put better, but it is still an honest opinion and a valid one.

I am sure not many people will criticise in such a way though, and if they do, I believe there are enough good angels here who will come to the rescue of a someone whom they think is being unfairly criticised. (I will do my best too).

So I still prefer such comments above ignoring fellow potters.

 

 

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Yes Phill, 'people will get up after they fall'. But I will not knock them down. I want folks to love the craft and not be frustrated while they are growing in the skills or when they meet a challenge. I don't know if you noticed but not everyone has the same purpose. Some look for ways to knock others down for no other reason than they can do it and do it anonymously. No, I will not be a party to it.

 

 

Just because you knock someone down in a critique doesn't mean they are going to hate pottery or even be frustrated with it. If it was too easy I don't think anyone would make pots; people generally love at least a little bit of a challenge. I think your opting out of critiquing work is a poor and detrimental choice for the art world and pottery as a whole. I don't recall anyone here on this forum, nor elsewhere in any of my art classes or experiences someone who is just beating another down for the fun of it. Perhaps you have had a personal experience with it which is too bad. No, don't be a part of hurting people for fun. But I encourage you to be a part of honestly critiquing work for the betterment of pottery and all art.

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As to the original topic, I think one problem is the members gallery itself, I find it rather clunky to use. It's nice to have though.

 

 

i agree, not the most user-friendly.

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Yes Phill, 'people will get up after they fall'. But I will not knock them down. I want folks to love the craft and not be frustrated while they are growing in the skills or when they meet a challenge. I don't know if you noticed but not everyone has the same purpose. Some look for ways to knock others down for no other reason than they can do it and do it anonymously. No, I will not be a party to it.

 

 

Just because you knock someone down in a critique doesn't mean they are going to hate pottery or even be frustrated with it. If it was too easy I don't think anyone would make pots; people generally love at least a little bit of a challenge. I think your opting out of critiquing work is a poor and detrimental choice for the art world and pottery as a whole. I don't recall anyone here on this forum, nor elsewhere in any of my art classes or experiences someone who is just beating another down for the fun of it. Perhaps you have had a personal experience with it which is too bad. No, don't be a part of hurting people for fun. But I encourage you to be a part of honestly critiquing work for the betterment of pottery and all art.

 

 

 

No.

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Phill, some of us know that we come across as critical and hurtful even if we don't mean to, so we abstain from commenting. Some of us just don't have anything to say, or don't think what we have to say would be helpful. Anyone who chooses not to critique should not be told that they are making a 'poor and detrimental choice' = it's their own choice. If you want to critique, don't do so, but please don't be critical of those who don't!

 

 

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Anyone who chooses not to critique should not be told that they are making a 'poor and detrimental choice' = it's their own choice. If you want to critique, don't do so, but please don't be critical of those who don't!

 

 

I am going to be critical. I agree with you about it being a choice to critique. Of course it is. But when you choose not to critique because you don't want to hurt someone's feelings is missing the point. There are ways to be critical but not mean. I am not saying to be mean about it. I am saying to be critical. If we didn't critique work, then everyone/nobody would have great work. If there are no standards and no critical atmosphere, then pottery shouldn't exist as an art/craft. I am telling Lucille that I disagree with her because I personally don't want that sort of thinking in the pottery world. I think her view is, in the long run, detrimental to pottery as a whole. I believe critique is necessary, and I believe everyone does it whether formally or informally, in public or in their heads.

 

And it's okay that Lucille doesn't agree. Without differing opinions, the world would be boring. I am glad that Lucille is standing behind what she said--it shows me that she truly believes what she said and wasn't just saying it on a whim. We can agree to disagree. But I am not going to disagree quietly.

C.Banks likes this

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People who are to afraid to hurt someone's feelings and then not comment at all (i.e. ignoring) fellow potters work,

are in some way actually sponging on others who stick their necks out and provide critique.

Someone else need to do what they consider the "dirty" work, because they cannot deny that we do in fact need criticism.

But they want to wash their hands from this process in order to seek the moral high ground i.e. they are not hurting anyone.

 

We are all part of a community and we need criticism in order to encourage other to do better or praise those who we think are doing it right.

 

I wonder of those who are not willing to comment or critique, if they ever want or try to get feedback on their own work.

Are they consistent in their argument?

If you refuse to comment on fellow potters work, do you deserve any comment yourself ?

If you think you do, does it not smack a bit of hypocracy ?

 

PS: If I step on a few toes here, so be it, for the sake of the argument.

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