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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Art's Critique?

What is a critique?

A critique is a formal or critical appraisal or evaluation of ‘something’, in our case, a piece of jewelry or component of jewelry. It allows an ‘objective’ person to give an assessment including, but not limited to, improvement advice and ideas. Ideally, the analysis should contatin both positives (this was good) and negatives (this needs work).

Structured critiques are an invaluable process for an artist to learn, grown, evolve, and an opportunity to help particpate in the same process for someone else.

General guidelines:

Try to be objective, while personal taste can play a factor, its not a major part of a critique….leave it at the back door if you can, If you MUST, try something like, its not my style, but..and then go on to give your critique.

Divide your critique into two sections if possible –

No improvement needed - what you think works well or is done well in the piece, and why it fits or works.
Suggested improvements – what seems ‘off’ and suggestions for what might work better or areas where artist may consider more practice or effort in perfecting the technique

For pieces which you honestly think are done well and you have no ‘areas of improvement’, considering doing a critique focusing on what elements seem to really work, bringing special attention to areas of technical or advanced excellence, this will help those with less experience learn and improve their own work.

Remember, its OK to pass…..if you find nothing compelling pro or con about a piece, let it pass. This is NOT the place for general comments such as “Nice work” or “Good job!”

Consider the following for critiqueing jewelry pieces or components:

Design (composition) and Technique (execution).

Design -
rhythm or flow
unity (do all the elements go together? Are they all handmade and if not, would the piece benefit from handmade findings, etc)
balance (weight, color, positive and negative space)
is there a focal point or is the piece too busy with no ‘eye stops’?
does the setting highlight the stones (if applicable) or does it overwhelm them?

Technique –
is it well executed (if it’s a herringbone wrap, does it look like one, or is it a tangle of wire?)
tool marks
sturdiness of overall piece (will it fall apart under normal wear? are any aspects suceptible to water damage?)
finished (are all edges filed, wire ends tucked in)
correct weight of wire for size of piece or heaviness of stones, etc.
If its glass, do edges appear clean, are there cracks, bubbles, etc (and pardon me, I’m not a glass person, we can revise this!)

In some cases…….
Originality – this is included because we all start somewhere, usually by completing tutorials for techniques which are project based. We create the item in the tutorial project. IF we are familiar with an artist and are looking for them to begin reaching BEYOND the basic “Preston Reuther pendants” or Connie Fox bangles” (and no offense to EITHER of those artists…I ADORE the connie fox type bangle!) then originality MAY be something we consider. But use this area with caution.

Finally --
Harsh words are never necessary in a critique.
Heed any specific concerns of the poster asking for the critique. (i.e if they ask about the bail, be sure to address the bail! If they don’t want feedback on colors (for WHATEVER reason) then try to ignore the color in your critique)

These guidelines are courtesy of Jan from the Jewelry Artists Network


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All the best,

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I bought the 'How to Make Wire Names" book and I am GLAD I found it. I am a 66 yr old disabled man on dialysis and now I have a way to make a living!

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I love what I am doing and the people I meet making wire name pins and pendants
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By Peter Lansing

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