Today I met with my textile critique group — although admittedly, I didn’t have any textile work to discuss. But they let me in — and let me have it — anyway.
The group is small, and we are only allowed to present a single piece for critique. What this results in, always to my surprise and delight, is the art gets the attention it needs and deserves. It’s seldom that anybody ever looks at my work in as serious and thoughtful a way as this group does. They look, comment, speculate, and spend a goodly amount of time, working it from various angles and ideologies.
The most important rule that keeps us on track, I suspect, is that the artist isn’t allowed to say anything until the piece has been thoroughly described, interpreted, discussed, questioned, and otherwise interrogated. All the artist can do is listen in.This means that the artist can’t push the group into any particular direction, and that the group has got to look long and hard to figure out what in the heck she was trying to do. It also, I suspect, prevents digressions and socializing, although we always have lunch afterwards to debrief. And a bit of socializing happens, willy-nilly:
I tend to get photos while my work is being discussed. When I’m looking at the work of others, I get too involved to remember to take pictures. The folks in these photos are Terry Grant, Gerrie Congdon, and Mary Maxwell. And no, you don’t have to rhyme to be a part of it. —June