Tag Archives: Projects

Critiques and criticism and “eww!”

I stumbled onto this post (from True Stitches, via Red Thread Studio) regarding making honest comments about a knitted item. I was intrigued by this statement “Apparently someone left a comment about the socks Stephanie was knitting, calling them “fugly”. Stephanie was slightly miffed, pointing out that her blog was like her living room, and it would be rude for a guest in her home to say “Gee, that’s an ugly couch”, so why do visitors to her blog feel they can say whatever they like?” In the next couple of paragraphs, True Stitches makes the point that only making positive comments is boring. Too true! Though we all like to hear good stuff, it ought to be okay to disagree and say you don’t like something (personally, I’d appreciate hearing why you don’t like it too!).

There’s two parts to this:

  1. the “fugly” comment – criticism is good, bland, non-specific (rude) comments are not good, but they’re a fact of life, so deal with it
  2. “like her living room” – um, no, the ‘net isn’t my living room; it’s an alcohol-free zone that is public

Okay, no. 2 first: The Internet is public. Whatever you put out there, people can see and react to. Sometimes they won’t be nice about what you put out there. And it hurts. So toughen up, dry your tears, and get over it. Delete the danged comment! Sometimes easier said than done.

But no. 1 is much more… important to me, I guess. Personally, I would love to get constructive criticism. I get a considerable number of visitors to my blog on a daily basis, but rarely get comments. Of course I love getting positive feedback! But I’d like to hear from visitors who think my hats (or whatever) are, well, ugly! “Constructive” being the operative word here. In a way, I don’t blame Stephanie for being offended by the “fugly” comment. She would have been better served if the criticism had been more specific: I don’t like the design, I don’t like the colors, the object is poorly constructed, the sock will only fit a midget with three toes, etc.

How do I judge things? Mostly by whether it appeals to me; I think that’s how most people decide that something is “good” or “ugly”. By the color, the shape, the texture, and how they all fit together. When I’m looking at a piece of artwork (or machinery, for that matter), I also want to look at how the piece was constructed; the workmanship. I try to look beyond the aquamarine blue that I remember (and detest) from Phoenix, and look critically at the oil painting of the river, and see that the artist didn’t quite capture the color of the river, but the trees and the motion of the water and the sky are proportional to each other, they look realistic, and my eye is drawn to the subject by the placement of the elements in the painting. I think about what I would do differently if I were the artist. Why do I like this piece, or not? What attracted/repelled me? What keeps me looking at it?

Looking at an object critically helps me refine my own artwork. I try to step back and see the piece as though it were new; it helps if I put it away for a few weeks and then look at it. Sometimes I’ve put a lot of time and energy into a project, and I can’t distinguish between that and whatever else I might like/dislike about the work. But if I can step back, and be critical, I learn what not to do, and what works. My next piece will be better. Other people will see things that I don’t; they also don’t have any investment in the work, so they might be more honest than I can be. That’s why I’d like comments from you.

What would you prefer… Would you leave a comment on the blog? or would it be easier for you to leave a comment on Flickr? What about setting up a blog just for critiques? Would you be willing to contribute (items to be critiqued and comments)?

Curiously waiting…

Another perspective on criticism from Judy Dunn, of Artrepeneur. She makes some good points on not listening to criticism. Her conclusion says it all:

The bottom line….The process of creating is precious. Protect it from the critics. The product is just product. It is not precious. It is not us. Let the critics come out and have their say when you are ready to pause. Listen. Notice. See it as a way to learn and grow. And then thank your critics for their input, and tell them to go back in their closet.

Be sure to read her post on after the show as well; it contains good info on evaluating a marketing experience, but I think you could use a similar process to evaluate why you didn’t win the gold (with some revisions to the questions you ask yourself).


Dang, it’s COLD!

And I’m back home in Alaska! A bit of a change from Ireland… Fairbanks can’t decide if it’s still winter, or it’s springtime. 70-ish degrees the day I got home and the next day too, and snow and down-to-zero temperatures at night since. Jeez, I’m glad to be back <lol>!

I had a wonderful trip! Can’t wait to go back, which is a real possibility, as I made new friends and am assured of a couple of guest rooms should I return. And I will. I didn’t get to see near as much as I’d planned (I got lost too many times!), and I didn’t hike as much as I wanted. There’s thousands of wildflowers I didn’t see, and people I didn’t meet. So yup, I’ve gotta go back!

I brought several projects to work on, and got a couple of them finished. I don’t have a photo of the baby onesies I embroidered; this was the second set. Apparently there is a population explosion going on in Fairbanks! I have one more set to do (and no one else better get pregnant!), and I have plenty of time to finish them before Baby arrives, so I’ll get a photo of this set.

needleholder needleholder
This project started out as a photo holder, but when I was packing for Ireland, I thought it might make a nice needle and scissors case for my trip. I found the thick yellow felt at A Weaver’s Yarn in town, and the yellow silk is a remnant from Britex in San Francisco. I finished it on the plane on the way over, but I am not thrilled with my new needlecase and didn’t use it. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it now. It just didn’t fold up the way I wanted it to. Oh well, I’ll figure out something!

passport bag
On Saturday morning, literally hours before I left for Ireland, I decided that I needed a new passport bag. So I assembled one out of the same fabrics that I’d pieced a hat from. The basic bag was finished before I got on the plane, but it still needed a strap, a button closure, and binding before it was really useful. Thank goodness for long plane rides! It was functional by the time I got to Ireland, but the first sleepless night I had, I redid the binding to close up the bag more. I was afraid my precious credit cards were going to fall out, and oh my, I would be a skinny little thing by the time I got home, without those bits of plastic! Not to mention that there wouldn’t be any embroidery thread or buttons or who knows what for my crazy quilt stash!

Irish baseball cap
I also brought a hat along, and that worked out as planned. I purchased threads and all kinds of fun stuff to finish off this hat while I was in Ireland. It’s very, very bright! And don’t be thinking that the threads and findings will tone it down! No siree bob, those threads are almost as bright as the fabric. I finished the bill of the cap, and one of the sections before I came home, and am well on my way to finishing section number two.

UPDATE:The new image inserter thingie isn’t working… But, I just learned that you can insert images manually (hm, so why is a blog better than a webpage, if I have to write HTML??). NOW you can see what I’m talking about! And I have two more sections of the hat done-more on that later!