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judging and jurying

updated wed 2 may 01


Wayne Matthews on tue 1 may 01

Interesting thread...
Surrender to the process...

In the 80s I was on the board of the SC Crafts Guild.
We held two juried shows a year. I was a juror for
three years.

When we looked at our show requirements and the juror
guidelines I was confused. They didn't sync. I took it
as an opportunity for us to review all the jurying
we'd been through as participants and look at what
worked and what pissed us off.

Where we ended up was a 2 pass process. This worked
because we were jurying from actual pieces, not photos
or slides.

Pass # 1 we ignored aesthetics and our likes and
dislikes of the specific work. We looked at technique.
Was the work technically done correctly? We wanted to
be able to include artists who were in the first few
years of working. For pots, we looked at things like
the fit of glazes, the thickness of the pot, tooling
of feet, etc. For jewelry we looked at soldering, etc.

For Pass #2 (if needed to reduce the # of pieces
further), we rated the pieces individually an a scale
then added together the individual juror's scores. The
highest scores were in.

It wasn't a completely satisfactory process. As soon
as you begin to pretend that subjectivity is
objectivity you are in trouble. We didn't see any way
to avoid that conflict.

On another note...

When applying to juried shows..
I did ACC Baltimore and Rhienbeck shows for years. I
learned this when applying to these shows.

Always put your presentation together in the format
the jurors will view the slides. At the time I did the
shows, they took 5 slides. They showed them to the
jurors as three slides on the bottom and two centered
on the top. I would sort slides into the ones that
were really good and where the backdrop looked the
same to the eye. It's important that the backdrop be
consistant. The slides need to occur to the juror as a
single presentation, not 5 separate ones. I'd set them
up in the correct configuration on a slide viewer or
light table until I got a few sets with the impact I
wanted. Then I'd borrow a projector from a friend or
two and look at them in 2s or 3s to be sure that the
backdrops looked alike when projected, and that the
lighting on each piece was similar. If one looked way
off projected, I'd find another slide or set that
worked better.

The context I was working from was that the juror had
a maximum of 30 seconds to look at my slides. There
needed to be no distractions from the impact of the
work. In fact what I was selling was the impact of
the work as a presentation, not the individual pieces.
It was a eye opener to see how far I needed to get
into the heads of the jurors and to understand the
specific jurying process of each show. It's a
marketing game that is completely different than
producing one's wares and sometimes seemed at odds
with the simplicity and meditation of the creation

Wayne Matthews
Innvironments, Potter and Sulptor
Prostate Cancer Initiate

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