How perfect are you? - WarmGlass.com

How perfect are you?

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Phil Hoppes
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How perfect are you?

Postby Phil Hoppes » Sat Apr 03, 2004 4:35 pm

Just finished up sandblasting a batch of my irid bowls and was looking at one of them when I was taking off the resist and noticed that one of the triangles had a corner lift off just a tiny amount and part of the corner was blasted off. Now when there is some irid left on where I don't want it, that is a fixable problem, but having some blasted off where I wanted it to remain, well for this particular piece I believe it is just going to be a "feature".

This got me to thinking, how was I making value judgements as to what was acceptable for the quality of a finished piece and I got to wondering how all of you came to the same judgements?

For all of the artists I've had the great fortune to meet, I'd have to say we are all quite critical of our own work. Often times probably too much in areas that, for all intent, may be of no consequence to others especially our customers, and to the critique thread, we may be missing the proper critique of our work that is more important.

For those that know me, know I use to be one of those annal engineering types (still am to a degree but I'm workin on that right gray matter :wink: ). So finish perfection is just a real sticking point to me. I will finish the above mentioned piece and I know the flaw is VERY minor, but I know I won't be able to look at it without having my eyes first fixate on that tiny part of missing irid. I've reconciled (grudgingly) that it is not necessary to smash every finished product I've made that was not 100% perfect but it is not always easy.

So what value judgements/decisions/criteria do you all use to say that one finished piece of work is acceptable for your name on it and another is good to hold greasy nuts and bolts in, in the garage?

Phil

PaulS
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Postby PaulS » Sat Apr 03, 2004 4:54 pm

(Edited for brevity 5Apr04)


I just do the best I can. There's enough rip-off merchants out there and the buck has to stop somewhere.
Last edited by PaulS on Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Brock
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Re: How perfect are you?

Postby Brock » Sat Apr 03, 2004 5:25 pm

In a perfect world, the work is perfect or it's a second. However . . .

My current work with the foils is totally reactionary. I fire it once, look at it, apply more foil, fire it again, repeat . . .

So, something moving, or a small error in blasting, can be fixed in the next firing. This obviously won't work in many instances.

It comes down to you, Phil. You made it. You get to say if it's a first, or a lesser work. We aren't making injection molded identical flasks, we're making individual works, and process marks are not necessarily wrong.
My memory is so good, I can't remember the last time I forgot something . . .

charlie holden
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Postby charlie holden » Sat Apr 03, 2004 7:55 pm

It's hand made I tell 'em. They're paying extra for the off bits. I count myself lucky that I'm not a perfectionist by a long shot. I wouldn't attempt something as precise as your irid bowls.

I don't let anything structural go, that's for sure.

ch

Dick Ditore
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Postby Dick Ditore » Sat Apr 03, 2004 9:22 pm

Ive had the same thing happen Phil. It depends on the piece. If it is a large or nice art piece, I will redo it, and my family gets more gifts! If it is a production piece, I evaluate it on how minor it is, and if I am probably the only one to notice, if so, let it go. From what I have seen of your work, everything would be a go.


Dick

Queenbee
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Postby Queenbee » Sat Apr 03, 2004 9:52 pm

This question leads me back to my garage sale days. The really cool stuff that I thought was worth something, I couldn't give away at a garage sale. The total junk I had, people fought over it. When I used to do ceramics, a wise old potter told me, " Don't assume that if you don't like the colors or design of something you make that others won't like it." Sometimes it amazes me which pieces people pick over others. So the moral of my story is, crash it if it is structurally unsound, but try to sell it if it's just the color combination or design elements that didn't turn out exactly the way you wanted. Ginny (It also depends how hungry you are at the moment!)

Ron Coleman
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Postby Ron Coleman » Sat Apr 03, 2004 9:52 pm

Phil

Striving for the extra mile in quality of your work is one way to set the bar for the standard of work being produced today. I see it as a way to maintain the art and keep it moving forward and avoid falling into the craft catagory.

People may not always see the fine details at first glance but when they compare your work to others, the details of fine craftsmanship will be evident.
Ron

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Phil Hoppes
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Postby Phil Hoppes » Sun Apr 04, 2004 9:07 am

Guess I didn't clarify myself that well. I'd already decided what I was going to do - Much what Dick mentioned, I'll finish it out and reevaluate then. It's a small piece so I may be a bit more forgiving on it than a larger one, plus I really think it is pretty small. I strive for perfection on every piece. Don't always get it. (Yea, Dick....my family and my own house is filling with happy rejects :wink: ) I was just curious as to others criteria when faced with the same situation.

Some intersting points brought up. In my case, due to the nature of the design and its construction, once the irid is off, its off. Also wrt surface blemishes, I can't take the pice up to fusing temps after the top layer of irid has been fused. You only get one shot at full fuse with irids, at least if the irid is on top and that is the look you want. Brock has an interisting design, as he can keep adding to it until he gets the look he wants. Another type of work I'm doing, my fumerol lattice work, has a certain amount of "band-aid-ability" to it in that I can refuse it a number of times (which I have done) to clean it up. I'm annal as heck about my coldworking. I really want the edges clean, sharp and as square as possible. That's one of those "in the wrist" techniques however and as a young grasshopper at this art, it takes nothing but time, practice and persistance to master.

One of the "criteria" I always ask myself is I look at a finished piece and say "Would I pay that much for this?". Most times the answer is yes, sometimes the answer is no. Where I run into trouble with this kind of selection method however is my criteria for "acceptance" is not always what the more global criteria is. Some of those "defects" for me may in fact be character points of a piece someone else actually appreciates or looks for. The point or questions I'm asking then are how have all of you or what have all of you learned in tempering your own judgement of your work to appreciate what others may see in your work.

Do you only make your work to please you and that is the final assessment of what is acceptable or have you tempered your judgement criteria given input from others?

Phil

PaulS
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Postby PaulS » Sun Apr 04, 2004 9:57 am

Phil Hoppes wrote: ...or have you tempered your judgement criteria given input from others?

Phil


Definately not; that only generates fog. Trying to chase someone elses' idea or please other people is like a dog chasing its' tail.
Last edited by PaulS on Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Steve Immerman
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Postby Steve Immerman » Sun Apr 04, 2004 10:47 am

Phil I feel your pain. I think there are two issues here. One is what to do with the flawed piece, and two, whether you should or can prevent it from happening in the future.

One of the first pieces I made had huge bubbles that I hadn't planned on. I was deeply disturbed by this, and almost had to go into therapy.

My wife talked me into donating it to a local auction to benefit a theatre. People ended up fighting over who got it, and it has been proudly displayed in the bay window of someone for the last 8 years. So, as has been already said, what we see as flaws, others don't necessarily perceive that way. So, if there is something I don't like in a piece I've made for someone, I point out the problem and see what they think. So far, nobody has cared a bit about the technical problems that I've anguished over.

On the other hand, I don't let it happen again if possible, and take every step to prevent it. Last month I had debris fall off the ceiling of my Paragon onto a piece (not the first time this has happened) and decided I was unhappy enough with the small particles that have been raining on my pieces, that I bought a Skutt clamshell with a fiber lid. Nobody has ever remarked on these particles, but they bothered me.

I think that we have to modify our evaluation of "perfection" with this medium, because there are always "flaws". It's just whether we can see them and whether we call them "flaws" or just part of the artform.

Steve

Jackie Beckman
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Postby Jackie Beckman » Sun Apr 04, 2004 11:17 am

Phil, I think you are (as many of us are) much tougher on your own work than you are on those of your peers. You come over here and rave about a new piece of mine, when in reality, every piece I've ever made has some flaw or another that I could find and point out to you. Granted, in my style of work it is less obvious than it would be in work like yours or even Doc Steve's, but they are there none the less, and you, even as a seasoned glass artist, wouldn't always notice them unless I pointed them out to you. And even then you most likely would find them unimportant in the overall piece.

We all find flaws in our own work. Roger, for example, is super critical of his own work on that 35 Ford. He'll toss and turn about a tiny little high spot in the line of the window frame, that NO ONE will ever notice, and like you, his eye will go right for that spot every time. . . until he goes out there and spends another 20 hours making it perfect. Time wasted? Perhaps, but in the end he's always happier that he's done that. You are very much like that, too.

But the difference is this; Roger is doing that car for no other reason than personal satisfaction and pride. YOU are making a living. You absolutely can't trash every piece that has some miniscule liitle pin size dot that you see as a flaw. Let it go. I've told you my opinion on this before - I think you have finer attention to detail than anyone. You and only you will see these tiny little imperfections UNLESS you point them out to people, which I've cautioned you about. (No-no)

I'm not advocating substandard work in any way. The truly flawed pieces are best left holding candy on your table or getting cut up and used in something else. But you don't make any truly flawed pieces, my friend. One would need to walk around half an hour in direct sunlight holding your piece at different angles just to see what you generally refer to as a flaw.

Let it be what it is - handcrafted, one-of-a-kind, artwork. If that's unacceptable let them go to the store and buy something made on an assembly line - in fact, if you picked up a random 10% of those pieces you'd find flaws far worse than any you will run across on your work, Phil.

Make the work, enjoy the process, don't be so hard on yourself. Your work is near perfection. There ARE no technically perfect pieces. Thank goodness Klaus doesn't trash his work for every pinhole found! What a tragedy that would be for all of us! Look at it like a spouse - there are no perfect ones, just ones who's imperfections we can live with and love.

Alecia Helton
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Postby Alecia Helton » Sun Apr 04, 2004 11:26 am

Jackie,

You sound like a very wise woman.

Alecia
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Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Sun Apr 04, 2004 11:54 am

Alecia Helton wrote:Jackie,

You sound like a very wise woman.

Alecia


Her no dummy
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Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Sun Apr 04, 2004 12:03 pm

I'll bring up another side to the firsts seconds issue, which is the long term value of work you have signed. There are artists who would never allow anyting they consider to be second quality out to the marketplace for fear that it would devalue their first quality (very expensive overpriced lol) work.

That said, I think this really only applies to the top few percent of all people in the marketplace. If you plan on placing yourself in that bracket, you might think twice about selling or giving away work that doesn't meet your personal standard.

My own approach to the level of perfection that is sought by some is to lean towards organic designs that are not always negatively effected by a zig instead of a zag. I know better than to expect my hand to do the style of perfect craftsmanship that some people excell at. An example is shapes that are not geometric. I can cut a pretty good straight line. I can use a circle cutter to cut a pretty good looking circle. I don't have an oval machine and I can not freehand cut a perfect looking oval. I would try and direct a client towards an amorphous organic shape rather than an oval.

All that said, I do give away pieces that are in my acceptable but not the greatest zone to places like public TV auctions.
Bert



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Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Sun Apr 04, 2004 12:14 pm

Oh Jackie I so needed to read this this morning. I'm assembling a complicated piece at the moment and for some reason everytime I get to the last stages of a piece I'm disappointed in it. Even if it came out just as I wanted I start finding flaws or worries about it. Here's the kicker--my work is quite purposefully organic and free form but I still find myself wrestling with the precision demon. I think you might know what I mean. Anyway I will spend my time in the studio today trying to enjoy seeing it come together instead of picking it apart.
Amy

Carla Fox
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Postby Carla Fox » Sun Apr 04, 2004 2:36 pm

My parents were perfectionists and as a child it drove me crazy. I told myself I'd "never be like that." Of course, we should never say never.

Here I am a metalsmith and novice glassie both of which require a lot of anal perfectionism.

On the days I go off the anal deep end, I think of many things. One is a story of Navajo weavers (this may or may not be true, but I like it). I was told the women weavers purposely weave a flaw into their work. It's because only gods can make things perfect, not us humans.

The other thing I draw on is from the Japanese culture and it's a term called Wabi-Sabi. It's a description of the Japanese aesthetic.

From the book: "Wabi-Sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional."

And finally I look at the art that appeals to me most. I like things where I can see the makers hands, the intent, the mistakes, and warbles, the zigs instead of zags. Machines produce things perfect, only we human artists can make these mistakes.


Carla, off to try again to make something with less flaws..... :lol:

Phil Hoppes
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Postby Phil Hoppes » Sun Apr 04, 2004 3:51 pm

CM Fox wrote:On the days I go off the anal deep end, I think of many things. One is a story of Navajo weavers (this may or may not be true, but I like it). I was told the women weavers purposely weave a flaw into their work. It's because only gods can make things perfect, not us humans.


Yes that is true. And Jackie, very well put as always. I've listened now....I don't point out the boo-boo's.......at least to the customers. :oops:

Intersting points. My personality will always, to a degree, require a certain level of perfection even if I was doing totally organic pieces. I just know myself....I'd find something to grip about. But all in all, I'm coming to peace with it better. As you said Jackie, I just can't trash every other piece because of a glitch, snag, or whatever. Striving for that Zen in your work isn't so much a struggle as it is a journey. Jackie, what was it Jack was telling us that Klaus use to harp in his classes "You must become ONE with the glass".

So it is I strive to become one with my work.....and as I suspected, I'm not alone in that journey.

Phil

gone

Postby gone » Sun Apr 04, 2004 4:06 pm

This thread reminds me so much of a friend of the family who took up weaving because she loved the look of handwoven fabrics. The only problem was that she was so anal that her weaving looked machine made. So she quit.
I remember being in Brock and Avery's class up at Red Deer and admiring Linda Reed's ability to "just do it" while I agonized over every detail. I love the look of "loose" work, but I can't allow myself to make it. It's inborn I think. I'm always amazed at how much work it is to make something look random. Everything has to be intentional with me.
As for seconds, I sell them as such at my studio sales. If I had the little triangle corner pull up, I'd try to fix it (maybe make them all smaller?) or make it a second. When I go to the better galleries, I notice that, in general, the work is perfect.

Jackie Beckman
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Postby Jackie Beckman » Sun Apr 04, 2004 7:01 pm

I will spend my time in the studio today trying to enjoy seeing it come together instead of picking it apart.


This is a great rule for all of us to live by. Hey Phil Hoppes - are you listening out there?? Get this made into t-shirts that you wear to your studio every day. :)

Phil Hoppes
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Postby Phil Hoppes » Mon Apr 05, 2004 6:27 am

Hmmm....maybe I'll have it tatooed on to my forehead backwards so I read it when I look in the mirror. :lol:

Phil


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