How do we deal with quilting critique? Friends and family's comments on our work tend to be very 'nice' as most people will find something nice to say rather than pick something that needs improving. Even if we ask for constructive criticism most people will not have the skills to critique or choose not to because of fear.....fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of getting it wrong, fear of hurting our feelings, fear of damaging a friendship.
Critique is an important part of the quilting process. In Lyric Kinard's new book Art + Quilt found at http://www.lyrickinard.com/ a whole section is devoted to critiquing art work. This is an excellent resource which can really assisted us in looking more closely at quilt art. But like anything in art practice is the key. Practice at looking at all art with a critical eye. Sometimes though we need another persons opinion as they can look at our work with a fresh and clear perspective.
Lets take a look at a recent critiquing experience of mine
"I have just received back the judges sheets from a recent judged quilt exhibition. I had very mixed comments. Some very justified i.e. Finishing needs more attention (I always rush this bit to get on with next idea I have buzzing around my head) and raw edged binding needs to be even and straight. I am the first to admit that I need to work on this part of my work.
I felt some parts of the comments were definitely just the judges opinion and it is those comments that can sometime sting because they can seem unfair. i.e. More quilting needed in bigger spaces/uneven amount of quilting.....I put no quilting there for effect and contrast, Backing should compliment quilt top.....I was recycling fabric. Next time I might over dye or paint the quilt backing to try and satisfy the judge and my need to be ecologically friendly and a 5 out of 10 for design and colour use, but wonderful comments about the design in the comment section.....ummmm... not sure on this one!! This is were thick skin comes in. take what I feel is justified and improve on it and let some of it bounce off my skin and try again. "
We all need critique as without it we cannot improve or work as well or accurately. How we choose to accept critique is key in using it to our best advantage.