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    We have just been to a Wood Festival (for all forms of woodworking) in Waitara NZ. Waitara is a small town in the Taranaki province, by Mt Egmont (sometines labelled Mt Taranki on maps) on the west coast of the North Island, 3hrs north of PN. This was an inaugural show, well supported in exhibits and well attended. One of the things that was very controversial though was the use of patterns in the sections for marquetry & intarsia. The problem, not just at this show but also at other NZ shows, is judges making decisions on whether or not a piece has been made from a pattern. I have heard of pieces wrongly been ruled out because someone thought it was a pattern, thought another was a kitset when in fact they weren't! It's also a controversial point here when other woodworking sections allow articles to have been made from patterns. I would love to hear what restrictions are placed upon entrants in other parts of the globe.
    Cheers. Teresa .

  • #2
    First any show I have been there was no restrictions on weather a pattern was used or not. I think that should never be a restriction of any kind. A project should be judged on sharpnest of the cutting, use of woods together, clean finishing technique. Not haveing things misaligned, glue showing, and cuts that are not pleasing to look at. Now you can break them down into beginners catagory and professional catagory and this even gets subjective. I have designed alot of pieces I have also used alot of patterns and I have also combined patterns or added my own touch to a pattern. How do you classify those then?? That is why that is too subjective and the piece should be judged on craftsmanship. My opinion.
    John T.


    • #3
      Thanks for your comments. I too, think the same way. Even though I did not enter any pieces myself in this weekends festival I would like to forward these comments on to the organisers for their debrief. Are you happy for me to do this?
      Cheers. Teresa .


      • #4
        Another of my way too long posts.

        Little Flower:

        I can only respond with a reference to my small corner of this huge world.

        In my local area there are three classes of craft shows. They are described by several ways, I prefer as church basements, art and crafts, art fairs. Usually the dividing line between them is the value that can be expected for the work.

        In the first two classes, working from a pattern is what the customer expects. Any awards given out are based on craftsmanship, or Booth, or many other factors. The prices the customers are will to pay for is related to quality of product, hours to make or produce, and their desire to to get the most value for the money.

        I have gone on about this before, but here it comes again: In the art fairs and to some extent the upper end of the Art and Craft shows, the value the customer is willing to pay includes the value derived from the concept of craftsmanship and uniqueness from the maker. The experience of the purchase itself at the art fair has a value the customer is willing to include in the price.

        A customer at an art fair is willing to pay more for a piece of fret work from someone who has published several articles on their craft. Thus the owner gets some sort of 'bragging' rights to their social peers on the purchase. There is a snob effect going on here, an effect I don't fully understand.

        The uniqueness effect is also in play in art fairs. A one of a kind work of art is of importance, since one of the selling points is to counter the mass produced machine made world of the discount department store. Thus a design that is unique to the maker has more value than a similar item made from a commercially available source. The maker may make several copies of his own design, but the design must be unique.

        Thus my take on just what you have presented us with:

        I think the judges are going by the more correct wording of the rule something like: "All works shall be original design. No designs or patterns from a third party without creation design credit being given. Additionally crafts produced from a commercially available pattern, or published in a periodical, should not be considered in this artistic award competition. The judges shall be given the discretion on wither an object demonstrates significant artistic uniqueness, or variation, from a published or purchased pattern can be included in the competition."

        I perceive that you would agree that a fret work piece from a CNC router should not be compared to the hand 'craft' of a scroll saw. But at one time long ago I am sure that there were arguments about use of machine power scroll saw vs the hand fret saw produced craftsmanship.

        I know I am long winded, but in summary, it depends on what the sponsor of the show, and the general public that attends the show have in mind. The show you talked about sounded like it was trying to be an art fair.


        Anyone care to comment on 'pretense of grandeure' by some show sponsors?


        • #5
          I always like when Phil gets so elequent when he speaks. I will agree on a few things like if it is advertised as an artsy fair then I can see the use of one of a kind projects. But my question is how does a judge know what is and isn't? You can take a pattern and 5 different people do it and all 5 look different just by the use of material and the adding and subtracting of different medium. You give credit for the designer and say this is your interpretation of his pattern. The great woodworkers of all times are being copied by todays woodworkers and I always felt that is the highest form of a compliment.

          Phil mentions the use of CNC routers today and I have been accused of using them on a number of occassions. Which I simply answer I do not but thanks for the compliment for if they feel my work is as good of a cutting as a computer controled machine makes me feel proud. Of course that is a problem if you are trying to make a living and advertising as hand made items and competing with a machine. I think this is one reason todays craft shows are off because of storess Like Walmart and others that import this foreign stuff and compete with the hand crafter. This is why in my opinion you MUST strive for perfection in your woodworking. That is a topic for another forum though.

          Getting back to the original posting I do not read into anything there that leads me to believe it was an art fair. Just a woodworking fair and it would be open to all catagories. Now you must keep intarsia together and fretwork together and things like toys together but to make it from a pattern or not should not in my opinion be a factor as long as credit is given to the designer if known.

          How about that Phil I can type as long as you? All right almost.
          John T.


          • #6

            Good post, and thanks for the compliment.

            Originally posted by jttheclockman
            But my question is how does a judge know what is and isn't?
            Hmm-m Good point, and IMHO not a trivial one either.
            Originally posted by jttheclockman
            You can take a pattern and 5 different people do it and all 5 look different just by the use of material and the adding and subtracting of different medium. You give credit for the designer and say this is your interpretation of his pattern.
            That problem is one of artistic variation and uniqueness, which means a personal opinion by each of the judges which, if any, of the interpretations have produced a variation that is of significant artistic merit.

            With that said, notice the following words: artistic, variation, unique, interpretations, and of course merit. Go ahead define these words. Put a meaning to these that is fixed and agreeable to the other judges. I bring up this point because I agree with you that a judge, or any human being, is caught in a web of applying some aesthetics standard to that which cannot be defined. Where does the line between craftsmanship and artistic work belong? When and where is the distinction between the two a hard emphatic line of demarcation? Two question that cannot, and maybe should not, be answered.

            Originally posted by jttheclockman
            Getting back to the original posting I do not read into anything there that leads me to believe it was an art fair. Just a woodworking fair and it would be open to all catagories.
            You may be correct, I read into Little Flower's post way more than she actually wrote. For some reason I read into her post that the event was an open show, but was trying put on airs of grandeur.



            • #7
              Phil is correct when he says in the judges minds. This is why I never did put much Credence into contests. I think the best judge and greatest compliments one can get is from their peers. It is so subjective that you may enter a particular piece in one show and place last and enter the same piece and finish first even if all entries were the same.

              I guess to sum up what I went on about is if I were you I would not get yourself worked up too much about the contests and just have fun with it. Pick up some knowledge and go from there. If you want to pass this stuff on you go right ahead and maybe others have differernt views. As a matter of fact I hope to be entering a piece in a woodworking contest that involves display cabinetry. If I can finish it I will enter it and my expectations are not at all high but it is something to get my piece on the map. Will post here if this happens.
              John T.


              • #8
                My two cents.

                The judges don't know what they are talking about. They never have been to an other show to get ideas how to judge craft shows.
                I agree with both Phil and John. How can someone decide if it was made from a pattern or self designed? The judges maybe never made marquetry & intarsia themselves. They are lucky not being a judge at and craft show in the US. They would not last very long as a judge.

                Mike M
                SD Mike


                • #9
                  The notion of doing either intarsia or marquetry without a pattern or plan is bizarre. Every project must start with a plan, be it home-made or commercial.

                  There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
                  (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


                  • #10
                    It sounds to me like you are describing what I would call a County Fair here, but with the entrants being all woodworking related. You enter your item(s) and they are judged against either a) each other or b) a standard of some kind. Or for those who have attended them - the woodworking picnics.

                    I entered a fretwork design (from a pattern) into our County Fair. It was the only one there, and was awarded a blue ribbon. I had the opportunity to talk to the judge since I was judging other art items at the same time, and asked him about it - his reply was that he would give a blue ribbon to anyone doing that much work - so much for my ribbon!! LOL

                    OK - I have never been to a picnic, but have seen pictures of all the work displayed and judged there - Those of you "in the know" - how does the judging work, and does working from someone elses pattern make a difference??

                    Now, to switch speeds and add my 2cents to the "art", "craft" show judging :
                    I have had applications stating "The work must be the artists work" so I emailed the organizers to find out what they meant. For that particular ART show - it meant that the artist had to make the items. Even with me using other designers patterns, I was accepted into the show because I did the painting. Now, a lot of shows also state they will not let "buy/sell" items in, and the organizers cannot even determine if something is an import or created by the crafter. So, I don't put a lot of faith in them knowing if a pattern was used or not.

                    Little Flower - more specific to your origional post, I can understand the judges not accepting items made from kits. But even if someone else's design was used, it is up to the artist (or creator of the item) to choose the woods, the grain direction, and the finishing used. These along with the actual craftsmanship of the item should be taken into consideration in judging - not who made the actual paper drawing.

                    whew..! now, was my response as long as the gentlemens?? LOL





                    • #11
                      Yes Theresa welcome to the long winded club. Like to answer one question you brought up. In my experience any craft show gets this kind of scrutiny when it is suppose to be a juried show. But I have seen buy-sell items work their way into shows and it gets other crafter annoyed as well as it should. But then comes the question what is hand-made and what is bought. I have seen people buy from craft stores ans Walmart ready made items and then put people's names on them in glitter and call it hand-made. So many of these Christmas ornamates are imported and you can't tell any more.

                      As to your question on judging The times I have seen shows using judges and one in particular is the Pennsylvania p[icnic. There they use people that are scrollers so they know what to look for. But like I said judging is so subjective I would not get worked up about an entry of mine.
                      John T.


                      • #12
                        Whew! That was a bit to read. Will digest it and be back!
                        Cheers. Teresa .


                        • #13
                          Little Flower,
                          You asked some very good questions. Here in California we have a (somewhat) uniform set of rules for Guild shows throughout the state. Our intarsia and marquetry classes (and most of the others) have no restrictions on using purchased patterns, or even "kits", as the work is actually being done by the exhibitor. Our biggie is that the pieces may not be partially done for you, as in buying a commercial roughout for a carving. Even that is allowed in the competition, but is not considered for best in show. If there is ever a question (did you do the work yourself?) we take the radical approach of asking the exhibitor, and believing the answer! Then it is up to the artist's integrity.
                          As a judge, I will add that when I see a piece that at least looks completely original (and well done), I probably give it slightly higher marks that one that I recognize as a pattern.
                          I hope you continue to go to the events, and enter if you are so inclined, but remember, you've gotta please yourself above all (unless, I guess, you're really commercial about it), and excellence follows passion.
                          As always, just my somewhat skewed opinions.


                          • #14
                            I think you guys are talking about two different things here, and maybe getting them each confused.

                            The craft/art fair thing is not really a judged competition, other than competition to have a booth and to attract sales. Whatever criteria their jury committee may use is what you have to go by. Most of them that I have read would prefer original designs and not work done from patterns. If there is no jury committee for a show, I don't think they care whether or not you use a pattern.

                            Then a judged competition is a whole different animal where you are trying for that elusive ribbon and recognition of the quality of your work. But, again, it depends on the rules set up for the competition. I have helped to develop the Scrollsaw contest that SAW puts on at many of the picnics. There is no demerit or bonus for having an original design, but by the same token, working from a pattern is not given a demerit either. We are judging the craftsman ship of the project, not necessarily the design (whether the design is original or not).

                            The design comes into play only when we are dividing the entered projects into the three categories of Basic, Intermediate, and Complex. Other than at that time, craftsmanship is more important than design.

                            It is extremely difficult to come up with a purely objective judging criteria, so there is always some bias from judge's experience and knowledge. That is why we have three judges, so that one opinion doesn't make a winner.

                            I've all ready gotten pretty long winded, but you have all seen pictures of contest entries and winners from SAW. You can find more information about the contest at the SAW web site.

                            I'm sure there are other contests out there that use different criteria. Ours have been developed to work in the format that we have. Basically one day from beginning to end. There just isn't time to put each project under a microscope to find everything in it and on it.

                            Hope this helps.


                            • #15
                              I seem to be getting the general message from everyone that the use of patterns is not an issue in competitions and a friend who did have entries in the competitions I wrote about will be taking this issue back to the the organisers of not only that competition but also others. I don't have a problem with them excluding kits as even though it still has to be put together etc it cuts out much of the craftmanship. I personally haven't entered anything in any competition yet as I don't feel I have reached that sort of level yet and don't really enjoy the formal competitive side. In many ways I am my own worst enemy in critiqing my own work! But I do get a lot of pleasure in showing my work in a display only situation.
                              Cheers. Teresa .


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