Sunday, May 26, 2013

Who Do you Trust?

I wasn't going to post today, but I've been thinking about  a post I read on Jody Hedlund's blog titled "Is Our Culture become too Critical and Open?"  She is a writer, but raises many good points about criticism on the internet.

I have seen reviews from readers that are absolutely vitriolic and ignorant about the subject matter they purport to be critiquing.  (And can somebody tell me why so many reutable newspapers allow anonymous comments?)

If you are going to give a critique of any creative work I think you should have a strong basic knowledge of your subject.  Calling the creator names and worse does nothing to further the strength of the work.  On the other hand, "It's so nice;  I really like is a lot.", gives nothing either.

It is possible to be honest without being mean.  Many years ago a group of potters used to get together once a week.  We got into a mode of giving honest crits without being nasty about it. At the same time statements like, "It's so nice; I really like it a lot.", without any backup were not acceptable either.  That two or three years were invaluable in teaching me to be open to options and to thoughtfully defend what I was doing.  Alas the group gradually stopped meeting due to other things happening in our lives, but when I returned to university to finally finish my degree I had an invaluable tool because I had been through it all.

So, my question is "Where do you go, when you are working on an idea and need input?"  Friends, fellow potters, the internet?  I stay away from anything where people can post anonymously because I think there is too much of the ego driven fourteen year old boy out there, who thinks he knows what he is talking about, but doesn't.  Not all those fourteen year old boys are fourteen year old boys...it's my catch-all label after having worked with early teens.

I'm going to post this over on Mud Colony, but may return with more thoughts.  Click on the link to see  what is happening in the world of clay.

The rain has finally stopped; we've had over two inches in the last four days. It's still cloudy, but windy; supposedly we will have sun by tomorrow.  I need to dry out a bit.  I have pots that I threw on Tuesday that are still too wet to trim.

Remember those who have given so much for the USA on this Memorial Day and enjoy the rest of the week end.

As always, thanks for stopping by.......*s*

14 comments:

  1. This reminds me of the critique days in college. In my design class, we would have to go around the room and critique the project being presented. After a while, the phrase "it's nice, it's light and airy", got to be absurd. We all started saying " ssnnice ya'll" (it's nice you all ) about everything.
    I feel like for the most part, when I open myself up for opinions on my blog, I get 99% useful and helpful comments, and then there are the 1% know it alls that of course are anonymous. Critique is hard for those of us that were brought up to not hurt people's feelings. It's really bad in the South where we are supposed to "mind our manners".
    Honest opinions, good or bad are very helpful if given in a kind spirit, we need more of that!

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    1. Hi Tracey....You raise a good point about the difficulties of 'being nice'. I think most women are raised to be mannerly and not make waves. I think that is beginning to change, but it's probably not as much as we would hope for.

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  2. This is an interesting post to me, as I have an art critique class every fortnight. We tend to say nothing much if we feel the art presented is weak unless the tutor asks each of us a specific questions (Of course, he asks us if we are silent!). We suggest something, but often the real meanings of the suggestions don't reach the very person presenting mainly because, the weakness probably comes from the lack of communications skills in the very person.

    I try to read between lines when I am presenting my work. I also ask classmates specific questions, like 'which of my sculptures do you like more?' and 'Why?' when I am trying new ideas, because I like to get more information. I use the data collected in my marketing when I sell the works.

    I hope you will get back to this in near future.

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    1. Hi Midori.....I learned to get and give critiques in a very comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Perhaps all art students should be required to take a short class in criticism! Asking questions helps people concentrate their thoughts.....keep going!

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  3. Dearest Suzi,
    Any mature and intelligent person should be open to constructive criticism! Funny that just today I did react to such an anonymous comment on one of my blogger friend's post. That is so cowardly for writing as if they have an acute bout of linguistic diarrhea...
    I never allowed such comments on my blog and with my present setting it is impossible for receiving any; which is just great. I agree with you that those cliché comments of how nice and the like are just hollow words that don't signify anything!
    Have a meaningful Memorial Day.
    Hugs to you and I really enjoy your writing style!
    Mariette

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    1. Hi Mariette......Anonymous postings are cowardly. If a poster is that unsure or worried about his/her comments perhaps they should not be posting. I like your phrase linguistics diarrhea. It sums up the problem succinctly!

      I too, do not allow anonymous postings. It saves a whole lot of bother.

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  4. One reason I left the study of architecture for pottery was that it was such a contrast: arch. was NASTY, always, so competitive. I have always found pottery to be a much more supportive world! The man I apprenticed too was so kindly, when I think of the horrible work I did then, he encouraged me along, what was nice and working and how to improve without ever once saying anything but positive comments. He is that way still, and it seems like that is most of what I see around in our world.

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    1. Hi Gary....Some disciplines seem to be more vitriolic than others, also some schools. I blame faculty and general attitude.

      Do you think the more open and supportive atmosphere in clay and other crafts have something to do with the fact that we learn largely through apprenticeship? Of course originally all the so-called arts were taught through apprenticeship.

      Architects are a strange breed unto themselves. I think it may have something to do with the idea that, back in the renaissance, architecture was the only fine art.

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  5. Interesting discussion....I go to my art friends for imput and luckily have friends who will be honest with me and just communing with them in a group like you describe seems to move the work in a different direction. I try to comment with something meaningful and if I can't then I don't comment at all. It isn't about volume is it, it's about quality....I really think it's about acknowledging someone so it can't be casual oh that's great like you describe. xox

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    1. Hi Corrine....This is a discussion that I would like to continue at intervals, perhaps? I think your point about meaningful comments is well taken.

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  6. I check with my art friends

    ; I comment on blogs because I think if the person takes the time to write I'd can take the time to comment.

    how and where critiques are given is important, the internet can be too impersonal and written as opposed to spoken words can be taken the wrong way.

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    1. Hi Linda....I agree that the location of a crit is important and much better in real time. I think facing the person whose work is being discussed makes for more thoughtful and considered comment.

      Your thoughtfulness in commenting on what you read is always appreciated.

      BTW.....happy to see you out in blogland again.

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  7. I found this post and the discussion thought provoking. Sometimes I find that a certain piece just speaks to me and I feel an instant affinity. You rightly challenge us to think about that first impulse and to ask ourselves what about a work attracts, disturbs, or leaves us indifferent.

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    1. Hi bartster.....One of the many things I like to think about when viewing a piece is the tension between me and the work. It's that speaking attraction that can give rise to further thought.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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