Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Taking Five

When I finish a major judging event, I "take five" -- a little time to rethink the awards selections. I reflect particularly on what made the winners stand out and whether I would choose a different set of winners another day.

We each spent an average of 2 minutes per exhibitor to move throughout the show asking questions about process, touching and looking at the work and making notes for later comparison. We were not surprised that many said they had never had a judge even enter their booth, much less ask questions. Having been out there ourselves for many years, we had seen many judges walk past without really knowing what they were seeing -- were they afraid someone would think they didn't know 'everything'?

Although I have been judging for more than twenty years, evaluation helps me grow as a judge and gives me confidence in my ability to handle the task when faced with new directions, new technology and new ideas. Over the weekend, I was able to return to the show after the awards were announced to review the choices which Joanna and I made. I only second-guessed myself on one choice and, in the long run, I was satisfied with my work.

NOTE: With so few websites available for reference, I have added descriptions to the post from Sunday, 9/3. Since Powers is a traditional festival, many of the entries are traditional and the awards relect this, but most also reflect a unique use of the medium.


Both of us also had many friends in the show which is both a good thing and a bad thing. We get to see friends (good for us), but we know what their BEST looks like and that's what we want to see so we're tougher on friends (bad for them!) So today, I want to remind myself about my old friends and what I love about what they do.

Lucy Moore, Anniston, AL is a toy maker extraordinaire who greets everyone with a smile. Her stuffed animals and blankets have been in my house for almost than 30 years. Working in fur, she always has a new design or texture which excites her. And yes, our Lucy went home with a new mouse, but no, Susan did not bring home the L-A-R-G-E moose.
Charles Adams, Troy, AL shines a light on the world in stained glass and colored sugar. His famous brightly colored suckers, exquisite glass windows and lamps and wry sense of humor bring smiles everywhere. I've watched the subtle changes in his work for many years and he just gets better.
Brenda Harris Tustian, Ball Ground, GA is a hard working watercolorist who manages to look lovely and unruffled in any condition. Along with her floral paintings, she has developed a unique style of floral paintings and pet portraits. She has raised thousands of dollars with a series of Christmas scenes which she has created for various charities.
Kazuko Chiyo Sasaki, Birmingham, AL, has been creating sumi and watercolor paintings for longer than I have known her which is almost 40 years. Her quality is consistant, yet always fresh and her laugh is spontaneous and joyous.
Pam Snellgrove, LaGrange, GA melts glass rods to build tiny, elegant figurines with circles and loops and blobs. No one matches her control of this traditional craft or her eye for quality. She uses mostly clear rods, but occasionally adds some colored and painted glass.
Don McWhorter, Carrollton, GA throws large stoneware pottery which he decorates with intricate lacy designs. His pitchers look as if they come from Arabian Nights. He is often surrounded by visitors who just enjoy his conversations or his music.

All of these artists are solid, creative people. They along with their families can be seen at major festivals and craft shows throughout the Southeast. I am pleased to call them friends.

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