No holds barred critique

I am not sure why but I haven't been able to get my old buddy John Chalke off my mind the last two days. I was invited to the critique of the Sheridan College second year students yesterday. On my two hour drive there I thought of John and the importance of the critique. John gave me permission to say what I think about pots and to write. It was through John and the love of his life Barb Tipton that I was encouraged to write essays. I also attended a "No Holds Barred Critique" by John at the Harbourfront Center. He was soooooo kind to those that were new and enthusiastic. He was also absolutely brutal to those that thought their pooh didn't smell. He cut right to the bone and exposed what most of us thought but didn't have the guts to say.
I think that is a major problem at Art Centers, Guilds and pottery classes. Everything is pretty! Oh that is so pretty even if it is horribly crafted and aesthetically ugly. No one wants to be the fall guy.
I am proud to be part of the process at Sheridan. We have a fantastic faculty! We don't all agree but we have total respect for each other and the opinions put forward. The students benefit from our collective experience and
are very lucky indeed. The ceramics community misses you John.


Chandler said…
Well said Tony. Bravo.
I think of John every time I use a lovely little bowl of his.
And now your words on this important subject will come to mind as well.
Unknown said…
I only got to meet him towards the end of his life, but a more thoughtful, and thought provoking lecture I don't think I'm ever to see again. John was amazing. Well said Tony.
Dennis Allen said…
One thing I learned in those communications courses back in the dark ages " People may ask for your opinion but what they want is your support" I've also learned that an honest opinion is hard to get.People don't pay me for my opinion so I try not to offer it unless I think someone is serious about wanting to improve something.Then I try to do it by asking questions instead of stating the obvious facts of the matter.
Vicki Hamilton said…
T, I completely agree with Dennis Allen's comment. I teach at a community art center and "critique" is rarely part of what folks are there for. I often am asked to "opine" and for the most part, I tread lightly.
WillowTree said…
John was one of the very first pottery teachers I met when I took a course at Banff Centre for the Arts in about 1975 . He made us cut 50 pots in 1/2 , remarkable guy , irreverent, encouraging, and I'll always trust potter's who wear cowboy boots. One of Canada's finest. He is missed.
Teresa said…
We learn so much when people are honest. I would much rather have my eyes opened to something that could be improved and another "that's nice". Well, if it is nice what, in particular, do you like about it?
Anita Rocomora, when jurying our guild's exhibition, said she always learns more when a piece of her's is not included in a show.

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