tech notes: etiquette/critique


Formal critique is what is objectively in front of you. These include: height, width, depth, and qualities such as surface texture, volume, negative and positive spaces, color, refinement and detail. Surfacing and refinement of forms will play a big role in this class and at a certain point we will begin to work a bit more conceptually with ideas playing a bigger role in the forms we build.

Critique etiquette:
You must ask why someone says what they do in a critique if you do not understand otherwise the comment is of no value. This includes asking professors in this class and others as well.

You cannot be afraid to tell people your opinions, particularly opinions that are critical in a constructive manner, such as

“I like the surfacing technique on this piece, but the form itself is not refined enough and looks sloppy and not deliberate and so I am distracted by the form and unable to really see and enjoy the surface. The handling and refinement of the two elements do not match.”

The majority of our critique in this class will focus on formal content since we will mainly be making utilitarian forms.


You must make a habit of looking at as much art as possible. This includes clay work as well as all different types of work too: design, sculpture, painting, anything contemporary since you are living now and work that is made in this time period will reflect the ideas of people also living in this time period.

Edges/corners both inside and on the lip of the vessel should be slightly rounded to be stronger, to prevent chipping and to be more comfortable for the hand/mouth. A good way to do this on the lip of a vessel is with a damp sponge when your piece is leather hard, holding your finger at a  U-shape  and running the sponge in your finger around the edge.

A Sureform is a  cheese grater-like tool that is great plane down high spots on heavier clay bodies such as terracotta and stoneware, but too harsh for porcelain. For porcelain use only Scotchbrite type scrubbies to sand down bone dry clay or slightly damp sponge for leather hard clay.

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