Monday, August 07, 2006

Quilt Critique

On the quiltart list recently, there has been a discussion about critiques and reviews provoked by this comment from Lisa Call:
"While I know it's wonderful to get rave reviews doesn't it seem likethat is about all the quilt world has to say about itself?

Where are the critical reviews to challenge us and to make us think honestly about our craft and our art? Are we afraid to look under the hood for fear of hurting someone's feelings? How do we as a collective whole get better if we don't challenge ourselves with our shortfalls?

When I've attended quilt shows lately the artists have plenty of not so positive things to say about some of the work and the shows in general. Yet some how when all this translates into a written review in the SAQA journal it's all sunshine and happiness.

Why is that? What would happen if someone were to seriously review all these group quilt shows? I'm sorry but there is a lot of bad work out there - andI think as there are more opportunities to show work I see moremediocre work being shown."
These comments are made in the context of the American quilting scene where there are perhaps more juried shows and other exhibition opportunities compared to Australia which is dominated by the big guild member exhibitions. But it got me thinking about sources of critique for my quilts. I have found it difficult to find which is part of the reason why I stuck my neck out for extra critique and feedback while I was doing my workshop with Nancy Crow.

Twyla Tharp also discusses this issue in her book
The Creative Habit which I mentioned earlier. Twyla notes:
"As we mature, we need to build criticism into the working process...For a long time now I;ve had my own validation squad, a small group of people I invite to see my works in progress. I trust them to look at my crudest, clumsiest noodlings and reward me with their candour...My criteria for these validators is very basic: I pick peole who (a) have talents that I admire greatly (so I know they have judgment), (b) happen to be my friends (so I know they have my best interests at heart), (c) don't feel they are competing with me (so I know they have no agenda no matter what they say) and (d) have hammered my work in the past (so I know they are capable of brutal honesty...all you need are people with good judgment in other parts of their lives who care about you and will give you their honest opinion with no strings attached..."
Do you have your own validation/critique squad?


Blogger Karoda said...

VCS, I have one in the making...there is one I attend quarterly but doesn't have Tharp's (b) component...another one I attend monthly that has potential to get there...more than a squad I have at least 2 individuals who I call my art gurus.

August 09, 2006 4:54 am  
Blogger Shelina said...

I haven't really done any art quilts, but I have made a lot of quilts. I don't think I could take criticism on a finished project, no matter how constructive.
Quilts take a long time to make - and something that took this much time and energy has to have value. It's not like a five minute sketch that I can write off. Second, most of the criticism would be personal opinion - if you don't like certain colors together or if I had too much or not enough contrast for you, well that's your preference and it is allowed to be different than mine.

What I do appreciate is suggestions while my work is in progress. If you tell me I have a problem while I can still fix it, then that's great. If you have a suggestion on how to make something better, I'm all for hearing it. I may or may not take your advice, but telling me after the fact doesn't serve me at all. I guess if I was making a series or planned on making another one similar to one I already made, then it would be different. But again, when I tell you I am ready to make another one, you can tell me then as suggestions for the next one.

I can also take compliments - tell me what I did right on this one, and I might be able to transfer some of those right elements into my next quilt.

August 11, 2006 3:24 pm  

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