Sunday, November 16, 2014

What to make of a critique

I was really taken by surprise by EB’s critique of my submitted quilts.

Here’s what EB said:

I like them both...the non traditional one practically dissolves when the printed blocks come together the "traditional" one isn't exactly tradition - there are anomalies - very slight! - which do make you think  and break up the rigidity of the traditional patterns.  I like the top one because it's more open at the top and there's more "air" but the fact that the light/medium/dark face pattern doesn't quite work is a little more uncomfortable.  The bottom  one is more comfortable in that way but the dark ones feel very strong and heavy..

I wonder if you followed the traditional pattern with one face for each value...but then reduced the weight of each value as the blocks climbed??

Beautiful crisp pattern which gives a great sense of a winter's day and the orange of the banners contrasting with the crisp white/grey/black of the trees!

So I took this to heart and revised the traditional one and submitted this which I like. In fact I like all three of them.

Here’s what she said about the revision:

wow that was fast...I do like the longer proportions and the sense of rhythm here...and the way the color comes's a really great interpretation of the photograph with a traditional pattern!    Nice one!






I also consulted my daughter who has been incredibly helpful when it come to my quilts. After seeing the first two quilts my daughter said:

... and I LOVE the deconstructed version of the quilt. That looks like it should have a frame around it and be hung in an art gallery somewhere! I like how the colors flow into each other vs. the traditional one where they're all scattered around.

After seeing the resubmission she said:

I think I actually still like the original deconstructed one better. I honestly wouldn't change that arrangement at all. I will admit that the new one looks more quilt-like and the deconstructed one was more art-like. I actually like how some of the blocks in the deconstructed one have very little contrast with each other and some are more pronounced. There is also kind of an optical illusion where you can't tell where some of the blocks are going which I also like. The new one is much more uniform, but I prefer the variations in the original. It actually looks like a lot of graphic design work I've seen.

So now I have decided to make the deconstructed one. The comments on my last blog also support that decision. Plus I need to think about what was my intent in this quilt? I wanted some of the blocks to stand out and some to be ambiguous. I think that is achieved more with the deconstructed version. Plus my daughter likes that one more and she will probably have this one on her wall.

How could I not trust a face like this? Thanks, Kelsey!


So what do you do with a critique?

Usually I take it to heart and follow it exactly and make all the changes it suggests. This time, however, I am going to follow my heart and make the one I want to make.  Sorry, E. What surprised me the most about her critiques is that she likes the ones that read as a quilt more than the deconstructed one which read more as graphic art. My husband who likes traditional quilts liked the deconstructed one the least.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Yup, I wouldn't want to cross that daughter's trustworthy face either! She's one smart critic. :-)

  2. It is hard to remember that even an instructor's advice is just that, even if it is an informed opinion. And we are not getting a grade. That matters, because I think it difficult as a grader to not reward following my advice more than ignoring it. ( Trying to get beyond that, I used to tell my writing students that they were free to not follow my advice, but they should write a note saying why they hadn't and what they had done to strengthen their piece. A few were that analytical. Most just wanted to finish an assignment.)

    I liked the non-traditional one before, and still do (though I like the graded traditional better than the first one.)

  3. I like all of these, but your final choice would have been mine too. So interesting to read the critiques and see what you did with them. Great post!


Thank you for commenting on my blog. I am always thrilled when someone takes the time to comment.