Judge not lest ye be judged
Mark Baker (Group Editor)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I am being cheeky with this blog, as I am using the post I made in this thread by Dave Atkinson as the main body of it. However, I think that it is worthwhile flagging up the subject again here for those of you who may have missed it in the forums.
Any competition attracts entries, but some greater entries than others. Some people will not enter competitions for whatever reason, some cite the theory that only the ‘enhanced’ pieces ever win, some are just not interested, some are shy and there will be myriad other responses with equally personal - and therefore valid - reasons.
I have always found entering competitions somewhat daunting, as it takes an amount of courage to offer your work up to scrutiny from peers and judges.
I must admit to find judging very difficult. It is a value call made on the day and for that specific event. Yes, as judges we can all work according to the three Fs: Form, Function and Finish, but there are always going to be additions to that depending on what is on display.
When I am called upon to make a judgement about a piece of work it is like treading on someone’s dreams and aspirations. By default, the judging process means trying to find a reason why something should not win. You must find fault with the entry, make subjective views and so on. Maybe the shape is wrong, the finish might not be all it could be, or perhaps the overall combination of elements does not work. Each piece is carefully looked at and assessed.
Many may think we only look for the most """"enhanced"""" or technically advanced pieces. That is not true. A """"pure"""" is very hard to pull off well, but when it is it simply sings its heart out and is very difficult to overlook. Many are now of the opinion that there ought to be two sections, one for pure turning and one for enhanced turning. I must admit that when there is an open category it is very hard to judge the diverse mix of items on display. I find it hard because I am not comparing like with like.
Another thing entrants often neglect to do is read the rules of entry (where applicable). It sounds obvious, but many times I have seen items entered in the wrong category or an item that clearly does not comply with the guidelines or rules.
A tip to remember is that when entering pairs or sets of items: these are effectively judged as one item. So the more items you have together in one grouping the larger the risk of something being wrong or not matching.
Finishing is still one of the largest parts of a piece that can go wrong. Either there are scratches still showing from sanding, patchy finishing or in some cases just an inappropriate finish chosen for the piece.
The interesting thing about judging is that the judges also end up being judged and in some cases being told they got it wrong in quite vociferous terms. It is a very subjective area, which is why I think there should be at least 3 judges so there can never be a stalemate. I do like the way we all see things differently too. Judging is a very hard process indeed.