The Value of Critique

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I’m always surprised, in the various wire art forums I participate in, that there is so little emphasis on critique. There are groups aplenty, and most of them are geared toward learning. But very rarely is a true critique--one that’s more than “So beautiful!”--offered. It’s unfortunate, because there’s a lot of benefit to be found in receiving and offering critiques. 

I think the lack of critique in most wire art groups is because the vast majority of us have no formal training in jewelry making, and many of us (myself included) have no previous background in visual art or design at all. It’s hard to know what to look for in determining whether a design is good or where it could be improved. It’s hard to know how to verbalize your feelings about a piece. And it’s hard to know how to offer a critique in a way that’s both constructive and supportive.

But mutual critique is, I think, just about the most beneficial activity an artist can undertake to improve their skills. Hearing various honest opinions about a piece can help you look at it with fresh eyes, see things that can be fixed, skills you can improve and build on, and strengths you didn’t know you had.

And offering critiques can be even more valuable in the long run. Learning to look at your own work objectively is crucial if you want to progress and improve in your design skills and craftsmanship. But it is so hard to learn what to look for. It’s so hard for me to see that my design is unbalanced or awkward, or that the weave in my bail is a little sloppy, when I can’t step back and look at the piece as a stranger would. But that objectivity and distance can be learned when you regularly practice looking with a critical eye. If I can spot a messy spiral in somebody else’s work, I can more easily spot it in my own. 

Of course, you should never offer a critique to someone who hasn’t asked for one, but you can certainly practice looking at others’ work with that critical eye, even if you never say anything to the artist. Also, in most learning groups, you can usually garner some useful feedback by asking for it with good, specific questions; check out this article about asking for helpful critiques: https://lateralaction.com/articles/how-to-get-feedback/  

And if you want to participate in mutual critique, I’d suggest joining a group that specializes in that: you can find one that I help admin on Facebook here: Wire Art Workshop. We're developing a helpful, healthy community there, based on mutual respect and support, but one that doesn't shy away from asking for and offering honest, objective feedback.

Comments

great piece

right on point

Thank you, Sheila!

Thank you, Sheila!

I've read it.

I've read it.

Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for sharing.

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The Value of Critique | WynterCreations

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