Terry Scott Critique

Being asked to critique others work is always a challenge unless the person doing the critique has asked others to be judgmental and take no enemies. I have been fortunate in that I have been part of a friendly group that does just that. Many hearing us critique each other’s work would think we are too harsh and at each other’s throats. Not so!  The benefit this has shown to all of us is it gets the form and finish think tank working.

Yes, its true, different strokes for different folks. However, the base rules are always there.

Form and Visual impact

Reading Dane’s description of his entry to this critique I was instantly impressed with what he calls “his best piece so far”.

He obviously has an understanding of proportions. Having undertaken a continuous curved vessel like this would test the skills of even the seasoned turner.

Does the work sit well and have good lift?  Yes it looks light and by turning to an even wall thickness of 3/16” the piece will feel as it looks. Very important as, believe it or not, the relationship between visual sight and feel make a vessel pleasurable or not to pick up and look at. The hands tell the brain this feels good, the eyes say this looks good and the pleasure is combined.

Dane said in his artist statement “I would have brought the curve a bit lower to put more on the bottom of this HF, bringing the “O” figure just above midpoint and giving it just a touch of lift.”

You would have to be careful doing this Dane as you could get the opposite effect and actually pull the vessel down making it look pregnant, heavy and even sandbag like. I would probably go the other way and lift the widest point an inch/ 25mm. This would also make the vessel more rounded. Even though you have a gracious curve, it appears flat in the middle.

A 10% less opening with a slight concave flick at the rim would create a whole new look which would draw the eye, especially if it had a small detail line like a small bead at the entrance.

A pleasing result is when you look at a picture and the size is deceptive. Essentially this form is correct because you could have said its 20 inches across rather than the 5 that it is.


I always look at my own work and ask:

Does the overall finish add to the work bringing out detail grain or texture?

Does it add Value?

My preference is not to have a work so the gloss is at a level that it picks up all the reflections of items around it .Cutting back slightly would mean the wood still has depth like you are looking into a pond rather than a reflection on the surface.

Dane suggested that he would have liked to of bleached this work to bring out the flames contrast.

I think it’s a simple well-turned form that he should let the timber do the talking.  Yes, that maybe a strange comment from a person that uses wood as a canvas. I find with my own work some customers will like seeing the wood, others like texture and colour. I keep telling myself I carve, colour, and sandblast or generally attack the wood because I am adding value. Yet the truth is that the most I have ever sold a work for was a small plane well-turned bowl.

There is no in between. With this wood I’d go for the wood liking customer.

Once again I have to mention the bug hole. I feel this would have been better filled.

1  A customer maybe put off thinking some animals are still hiding inside.

2  If taken through customs in many counties the work maybe confiscated.

A fix for this is to in fact make more bug holes all over the piece as a form of embellishment 

Technical difficulty in the making 

Dane has a good understanding of shape and proportions not often found in someone turning for such a short time.

Summary of Comments

If asked what I especially like about this work I’d say it appears that the vessel is floating and graceful.  The vessel also has a warm appeal.

To my eye, lifting the widest part of the vessel and highlighting the rim with a bit of detail could improve the lift.

Some say anyone can turn a hollow form, unfortunately, not many do it well.

Dane I will be looking forward to watching your journey as you nailed this one so well.



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Wednesday the 21st. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.