Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sandra Sider Critiques

On April 17th-18th the President of SAQA, Dr. Sandra Sider, held three critique sessions in Portland. Each participant (28 total, as some had to cancel) brought one piece; unfinished or not, to be critiqued and analyzed. Throughout the sessions, Sandra stressed the elements of art and design when working on our art quilts. She gave everyone a handout and told us to consciously count how many elements were well-represented in our work. This was eye-opening. She began each critique by hearing what the artist had in mind and/or hoped to accomplish with the work. She then pointed out the successful elements of the piece, and then opened a dialogue with the artist: what part was their favorite? where had they had the most trouble? what was their biggest question about the piece? and so on. She pointed out what she felt might have been handled differently to strengthen the piece, often referring back to those basic art and design principles to reinforce her comments. Finally, she opened the discussion to the group as a whole, and everyone had a chance to comment on the piece. We heard nothing but positive comments after each session, and many said they learned just by watching the critique of other pieces. Some of the changes suggested for the works were truly jaw-dropping in their effectiveness.

The good news is that Sandra wants to return to hold more sessions in the fall of 2012, and we will work with incoming reps Jean Wells Keenan and Betty Daggett to make that happen. We hope that those who were unable to participate this time will have the chance to do so next year, and we're also pretty certain that some people will sign up to repeat their positive experience.

Our thanks to Sandra, to SAQA member Gerrie Congdon who graciously hosted her, and to Geri Grasvik, owner of The Pine Needle in Lake Oswego, for hosting the sessions. And to all who brought their work and put it up at the front of the room!

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