Friday, 29 May 2009

I know that judging anything

is difficult. It is probably wrong.
Despite that I gave up yesterday afternoon's working time in favour of trying to help people understand what judges are looking for in the knitting section of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society Show. This is South Australia's annual big event for the rural community. It is when they descend in hordes on their city siblings and try to make them understand that, without their brothers and sisters from the bush, there would be no milk in the coffee (or tea) or a good many other things.
They have a permanant venue - the Wayville Showgrounds - and the craft people now have part of the nice, new, light, airy (but rather noisy) Goyder Pavilion. There is renewed interest in people entering the cookery and craft sections of the show. So Ann, who now takes care of all this, 'phoned me and asked if I would come along to an information session. She would pick me up and bring me home. How could I say no? Ann volunteers her time. I should volunteer mine. I really do believe that creating things is good for people's mental health. I am not so sure about the competitive streak. I went anyway.
It turned out to be quite an interesting experience. There were quite a lot of queries. Nobody was belligerent and nobody blamed me for their failure to win a prize the previous year. (No, I was not a judge but that would not necessarily have stopped anyone.) I took along a couple of useful books and suggested they search their local libraries for them. Interestingly, everyone wrote down the titles/authors. They may not look them up but they now have the information. I suppose if they bothered to come to the session they really were interested in getting some information. I took on some useful feedback for Ann.
I still came away thinking that it is difficult to judge. The items that are produced are, presumably, the best that someone can do. They have, presumably, been worked with materials the maker loved. I do not like bright orange acrylic. They might. Why should I judge them?
But, feedback can be useful. It should be positive. It should show us how to improve.

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