Today I was part of a crit group led by internationally renowned textile artist, Alice Kettle. I have been finding these crit groups incredibly helpful, having a dialogue between groups of people I wouldn't normally hear from is so useful. Sometimes we get too stuck within our own ideas, so this has been helpful to shake out the cobwebs. There is a certain degree of divergent opinions, but I feel this is also helpful in showing me areas that are less resolved.
In this morning's crit I chose to use a 'Silent Crit' format to start with. In this I did not introduce the work, but listened while the group explored, investigated, looked for clues and discussed how they felt about the work. Through this process I learnt that my work largely communicates what I want and that people are responding to the space through emotional and sensory means. There seems to be a primal, instinctive understanding of the work (yipppeeee!). The work certainly seems to translate my own emotional position. People seem particularly taken with the large 'canopy' piece, although they perhaps talk about this less. I don't mean to sound smug, it's just that I feel like it's been such a struggle at times and I really wasn't sure if my work was able to communicate my ideas successfully, so it's a big relief to know I am making progress.
One thing that is clear to me is that I need to review all the different elements, considering how the different pieces might form a dialogue. Alice picked up one of the bundles and placed it on the embroidered woollen piece, and I began to see how this is something that can become much richer and rely less on my pre-conceived ideas of display.
So much to think about and more crits to come...