May 21, 2012

Do I have more growing to do?

Hmmm... This is what I got as a response to an app to a pretty high end show.
I am not sure what to do.
Do I react?
I want to see what was chosen, for sure.
I felt like it was a reach... 
Admittedly, I have a lot going on right now (outside of the work) and I do believe there is a reason for everything and yet... I STILL WANTED TO GET IN.
It would require booth development and outlay of funds and a lot of work and hours and physical exhaustion...
I do still feel that I have room to develop my surfaces and  feel like I am still vacillating between
not wanting to create work that is overly refined and "Perfectionist" and still allowing the detail of the carving not to get lost in too much texture... 
SO...I can't help but wonder if I was really ready to apply 
wonder if I should consider changing my direction.... 
I feel like I am still HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION....
BUT if you can't wait for all of the lights to turn green to leave your house,
If I don't try, I will never know...
BUT  I am missing the CRITIQUE PART... 
Was it the actual work that got me declined?
Was it not high enough in terms of quality/craftsmanship?
Was it inexperience on my statement of shows I have been in?
Was the work not cohesive enough?
Would you guys consider giving me your thoughts?

 : Sorry, your application has been declined.
Thank you very much for giving our 2012 jury panel the opportunity to review your application for the ___________Craft Show. I am sure you understand how difficult the task is to select from so many fine applicants and especially to have to turn down excellent artists in an effort to create a balanced show.
Regrettably, they have not selected your work to be included in this year’s show. We greatly appreciate your interest in the < _____________ Show and hope that you will apply again.  Each year we invite a different mix of jurors, and their perspective and emphasis will be different from those of their predecessors’.
____________ Director, ___________

Category: Ceramics

Artist Statement:
The human body, nature, and the world around me are inspiring to me. I am not interested in replicating but, rather, reinterpreting this in my work. My textile background ultimately informs the work as well. The process of creation and the manner in which I choose to work stimulates me creatively, allowing for investigation and exploration. I use several different natural clay colors and throw the form on the potter's wheel, then I proceed to alter and carve interchangeably. It is the synergy created during this hand-to-clay contact that is both meditative and energizing to my soul. The residual markings found in all of my forms, affirms the reality of how the human spirit remains part of the vessel’s creation. I am emphasizing the vessel as a sculptural vehicle but many pieces function. The location the piece comes to reside in will ultimately determine its scale and presence. These forms find harmony in environments from modern to rustic. This completes the creative process for me.
MANDATORY: Booth Description or Booth Image
Pipe and drape in clean,neutral fabric. Various table/shelving/pedestal style configurations with clean organic, modern approach.1 black & white(antiqued) enlarged image hanging with artist name. Overhead lighting track style and possible floor covering.

2011 SHOWS PARTICIPATED IN (Other than Crafts America Shows)
No retail/wholesale craft shows in 2011. The KC Clay Guild's Juried Tea Bowl National Show Kansas City, MO 2011

OF COURSE, in the middle of typing this, I get a phone call from a gentleman in Ontario who seeked me out to buy THREE of my vases as a surprise for a ceremony renewing the vows of his marriage after FORTY  years... and on MY ANNIVERSARY, no less...SO whatever I am told, I realize I can handle it... as all opinions and critiques are subjective, I presume! 


  1. In grad school, I've had some opportunities to assist jurors on the other end of things. My experience doing that has shown me how random and unpredictable the process is. I've seen really great work rejected because it didn't fit with the feel or theme of the rest of the show--or because there were already too many in a certain category--or because the juror has an odd aesthetic and for whatever reason prefers minimalist work over organic or whatever their deal is. I've been shocked sometimes by what is chosen, and what is not.

    Your work is strong and beautiful. If you have the right price range and type (craft vs. art pieces) for this particular show and didn't get in--apply again, and apply to other shows, and think of this rejection as a missed opportunity--for them.

    Best wishes,

  2. Judi,

    Your work is awesome and I could easily see it standing toe to toe with work that I know has gotten in in the past.

    The reasons you didn't get in could be that the jurors chose a show where your work, great though it is, didn't fit the direction they were going in.

    If these are the images you sent, it could also be your images.

    Here's my criticism of these images as a unified set, based on looking at a lot of potters images and work when I was co-owner of a craft gallery and what experience I've had jurying a few things.

    The first and last piece don't show well. I'm not sure if it's the photography or just that the pieces themselves are just difficult to photograph, but the images leave a lot to be desired. I'm sure they are fantastic pieces, but they look very busy and flat at the same time and it's hard to tell what what they really are. Some of my best pieces and glazes look horrible when they're photographed.

    Your backgrounds are not the same and that's distracting.

    I also think that all the different clay tones are also a little distracting.

    I've been kind of making a study of what gets in to some of the large, prestigious craft shows like the Philly Museum craft show for the last few years. One of the things I've come to realize is that the potters who do get in tend to have images that, if not monochromatic, are at least of limited, harmonious palate.

    Add all these things together, combine it with the complex surfaces your work has and I think it could be easy for jurors to get a little overwhelmed.

    Remember, jurors likely only spend 30 seconds to 1 minute looking at each artists work in the first round.

    Your work is great. Don't let this rejection slow you down at all. Just learn from it and move on.

  3. This is great information. I truly can not thank you enough!!!

  4. Hey there: I have written a couple of blog posts about this recently. I was a juror recently just so I could see how the process works, and boy was that eye opening! One"artist" was known by most in the group, and while her work was not that wonderful and we all agreed on that, she was voted in because she wrote grants for this particular group! I did not vote because I thought this was so unfair to the other artists that applied. It is such a random, personal opinion process. We didn't look at resumes or information about the work, just looked at six photos and decided if the work fit the criteria we were given as a guide.
    I also applied for a show recently that I thought I had a good chance of getting in to. The Piedmont Craftsmen show.I was rejected. If you check out their website, they have some pretty ordinary pottery, some really wonderful, but some really bad.I am in galleries with some of the same potters they have, go figure...The day I got the reject letter, I got a letter that I was accepted into another show, ha! It's who you know, politics, personal opinion, randomness. It's a crap shoot! The reject letter I got suggested I review the quality of my photos! The photographer that shot my pics was a small product photographer for one of the top studios in the country for 30 years, he shot for National Geographic, and many major corporate accounts. Now do you think my photos were bad?
    I have decided that I am going to sell my own work, continue with the groups I am already in, and screw these juried application fee shows. I haven't the stamina for all the rejection! I know my work is good, it just takes understanding it, just like yours!!
    It's not you, it's THEM!!!!!
    PS: I do agree that the photos have to be very consistent, however on my Mac, that needs calibration right now, your backgrounds all look the same to me, so I can't comment on that. See there is another thing, your work will look different on various computers! arggghhhh....

  5. Nancy lee10:36 AM

    I think your work is strong, organic and absolutely individual and gorgeous!! Who knows what the jurors were looking for? I think you should shrug this off, and continue in the direction in which your own Muse is sending you. Because it is a fabulous one!!
    BTW, I used to live in Lincroft, I am upstate NY now.

  6. Just read this. Not even sure there is a problem. Seems to me that while on the outside it feels like rejection, maybe it's just not a good match? Hope there are open doors elsewhere. I think you did nothing wrong; the selection process of juried shows from what I understand can be quite subjective. Just be you and do your thing. I think too many potters try to be something or someone else and then the whole world loses out, including themselves. A lot of mystery in life; you'll never know why you your pieces didn't make it into that show. Embrace the mystery!


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