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Turning Group Discussions (Read 655 times)
 
Don Stephan
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Turning Group Discussions
May 21st, 2017 at 11:15am
 
Anyone in a group that has tried group discussions about design, grain pattern symmetry, and so on?  Notice I didn't say group "critiques" as that can be such an inflammatory word.

Touring wood turners will present on their unique item, embellishment, and such; a turning group may have workshops on tool sharpening, tool presentation, sanding, finishing and such; but when are turners led to compare and contrast bowl shapes and curves, combinations of heartwood and sapwood, grain pattern, and such.  In other words there may be regular technical discussion of tool marks, sharpening angles and such, but is anyone is a group that regularly encourages discussion of subtle visual and functional factors that distinguish one bowl from another?  If so, how is this done to minimize the risk of people feeling they or their work are simply being criticized?
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Ed Weber
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #1 - May 21st, 2017 at 3:44pm
 
I'm with you on the first part but I have no idea about the second part. Grin

There is certainly much to be covered in this area but as you said, sadly many people anger easily at critiques of their work.
IMO if you don't get critiqued, how can you learn and/or grow as an artist?
I'll have to look into this idea
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #2 - May 21st, 2017 at 4:14pm
 
I think the best way to get a true, meaningful critique is to find someone you know and whose work you respect.  Let him or her tell you what needs to be improved and what is good.  Photos don't really work for a critique and you may not know the person giving the critique.  The other good critique comes from yourself.  You see a good piece and then compare that to your own.  It is easy to tell yourself my form was bad, the walls were uneven, etc. Rarely do I see a meaningful critique on one of these bulletin boards
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Don Stephan
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #3 - May 21st, 2017 at 4:59pm
 
My thought is not so much looking for shortcomings in work, but instead discussing what might be possible and what makes a bowl more or less attractive than others.  For example, especially when the pith is off center it is easy to have the grain pattern in the bottom of a "flat cut" bowl off center.  I didn't even think to look at the symmetry or lack thereof in my early bowls, and I certainly didn't initially understand the cause when I first started looking more closely.

At the same time, is there a way to make a distinctly interesting non-symmetric grain pattern.

Another discussion topic could be combining sapwood and heartwood in walnut and cherry bowls where there is a clear color contrast.  Is there more than one "look" that is possible from "flat cut" bowls.  What about end grain bowls from cherry and walnut branches perhaps 6-8" in diameter.  Are there particular shapes that are more dramatic with such end grain bowls? 

Are there particular shapes that take advantage of special features of a lump of wood - a knot, a crotch, medulary rays, . . .

For some, the ultimate goal is to make bowls, and that's great.  But there's so much more that one could explore if one only knew of the potential.
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #4 - May 21st, 2017 at 6:29pm
 
I agree with you 100%
I've heard many people say that they've "mastered" bowls but don't necessarily give much thought to the aspects that you just mentioned.
Using the grain to enhance the "look' of the shape or using the shape to enhance the 'look" of the grain. Both require more then just the basic level of "turn a bowl' knowledge/skill.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #5 - May 22nd, 2017 at 2:16pm
 
Wondering if the group moderator requesting 8.5 x 11' pictures of topics to be discussed, submitted in advance anonymously, would avoid the "criticize" aspect.  Participants wouldn't know whose bowl was being discussed.
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #6 - May 22nd, 2017 at 3:40pm
 
My mentor showed me how the shape of the growth rings help tell you what the bottom shape of the bowl should look like. Basically, the rounded shape of the bottom of the bowl should follow the rings. They compliment each other.

Now, having said that, One of my plans in the future is to specifically go clearly "against the grain" so to speak and make them be opposites of each other just to see how it looks. Sometimes, the visual "stress" is what makes the piece.

I always figure that one of the first things to do is to experiment and see how things would look if one disobeys the "rules".

I can imagine putting a burl with the branch running thru it (which I happen to have!!) onto the lathe so the branch is betwen centers, then turn the burl round around the axis of the branch.... THEN reset it so i could turn out the inside of the burl.

Not sure of the holding procedure at the tailstock yet but it is on my list.    Smiley


When I try this, I'll post about it and will include the room number at the hospital. i like roses.  Shocked
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #7 - May 22nd, 2017 at 3:46pm
 
in a more OP related thing... I think things like this would be better done in a club meeting with the explicit understanding that it is a learning process and not a critiquing of anyones work. Someone would have to agree and be open to accepting what was pointed out as learning like from an instructor.

It could turn ugly quickly if the parameters weren't spelled out clearly beforehand.


Of course, it could also be one of the meetings planned demos so all can learn wihout anyones work being spotlighted unless approved in advance.

I think online, it wouldn't work as well.

My 2
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Ed Weber
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #8 - May 22nd, 2017 at 3:53pm
 
Don Stephan wrote on May 22nd, 2017 at 2:16pm:
Wondering if the group moderator requesting 8.5 x 11' pictures of topics to be discussed, submitted in advance anonymously, would avoid the "criticize" aspect.  Participants wouldn't know whose bowl was being discussed.


Don, I've entered contests on another forum where all the submissions were anonymous.
I find that it works well in the effort to avoid personal biases toward one person or another whether conscious or not. Without having knowledge of who performed the work, you have no choice but to focus on the work itself.
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #9 - May 24th, 2017 at 5:29pm
 
The whole idea of a critique is to point out both the good and the bad, in other words criticize the work.

I'm not sure how posting a picture anonymously would guarantee that a person's feelings wouldn't get hurt. Some people are just sensitive that way. Other like me that have a thick skin and appreciates a honest critique while most fall somewhere in between. 

The person submitting the work not only needs a thick skin but needs to understand that the shortcomings others see can be very beneficial towards the growth of one's craft.

If someone is willing to send me a HIGH QUALITY image I would be happy to post the image under a new heading for critiques and I would be the only person who knows who's work it is.  Please understand there may be times that I will need to delegate this to someone else on occasion.

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Ed Weber
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #10 - May 24th, 2017 at 7:43pm
 
Ron Sardo wrote on May 24th, 2017 at 5:29pm:
'm not sure how posting a picture anonymously would guarantee that a person's feelings wouldn't get hurt.


It doesn't, I'm sure feelings will still get hurt. What it does is eliminate the unconscious thoughts like "I like Joe, he sent me some wood once so I won't be so critical" or "Joe's a bit of a jerk sometimes so I'll be critical when it isn't necessary".
Anonymous isn't for the person submitting the work, it's for those doing the critique.
If I see a tool mark or an unflattering curve on a piece, it won't matter if it's Ron Sardo's or Richard Raffan's, the flaw is still there. Personal feelings are no longer a factor in the critique.
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Brad Barnhart
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #11 - May 26th, 2017 at 9:32pm
 
Some good thoughts, & a good thread. Not having access to a turning club of any type, I'm careful of the questions I ask here, or try to be. Regardless of who's work it is, or how many friends or acquaintances the person has in the club, there are going to be feelings hurt, & pride torn. To critique can get ugly, & sometimes cause that person to give up turning, or woodworking all together.

As a beginning turner, & experienced scroll sawyer, I'm always open to advice, & I've been scrolling 25 years. But critique & advice are two different things. Some folks take critiquing as insults, or slams towards their work, anonymous or not. On the other hand, some are unwilling to take advice from a group because they have a mentor or the like that keeps them informed.

I've learned over the years of doing numerous craft shows, fairs, etc., folks are going to look at your work, some say good things, others don't, others say "oh, I could do that alot cheaper than you can." I just kindly tell them "that's great." And move on to the next customer. Scroll work is alot like turning. It's about trying to make different woods look just right together, or trying to bring out the best in the wood so it shows itself. It takes a little compassion to have the ability to critique someone else's work.
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #12 - May 27th, 2017 at 12:23pm
 
Well said Brad
Brad Barnhart wrote on May 26th, 2017 at 9:32pm:
Some folks take critiquing as insults, or slams towards their work, anonymous or not. On the other hand, some are unwilling to take advice from a group because they have a mentor or the like that keeps them informed.

I find this to be the central issue of the problem.
While critiques can be a harsh thing to hear about your work they are necessary. If you are not able to hear a "valid" critique that may be come off harsh to you, then you might just stagnate as an artist.
A good critique should not simply point out flaws and areas of improvement but also explain why and how this can be achieved where possible.

Keep in mind, that if you are an artist, regardless of type of work or skill level. If people see your work in any setting, you're being critiqued. It doesn't matter if it's for sale of just show or if they say it out loud or not. When people "see" art, they instantly form an opinion. It's up to you as the artist to take the information within the critiques and positive comments to use towards your advantage.
As always JMO
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Brad Barnhart
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #13 - May 27th, 2017 at 1:25pm
 
I agree 100% Ed. To be honest, that's how I learned & perfected the scroll saw. By listening to what others had to say. I'm still interested in what folks think of my work. Make no mistake, I make screw ups & miss a line in a pattern, but experience & patience has taught me to lightly fix those issues.

What I've learned about turnin' is there is a huge learnin' curve, & plenty of advice. There's alot to learn about turnin'. Sharpenin', woods, etc.
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Re: Turning Group Discussions
Reply #14 - May 27th, 2017 at 6:30pm
 
Brad Barnhart wrote on May 27th, 2017 at 1:25pm:
What I've learned about turnin' is there is a huge learnin' curve, & plenty of advice. There's alot to learn about turnin'. Sharpenin', woods, etc.

In my case, what I learned is that having knowledge in other skilled crafts & trades minimizes the curve substantially. I started turning to add elements to my flat woodworking projects, things like posts, legs, and finials. Having worked in several trades, the learning curve was not a burdensome issue, at least so far. (always more to learn)
I do know that some don't always achieve the results they desire as quickly or as easily as others, which is partially why I spend time here, to help people.
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