Creativity and Skill

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rossvh

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This was my first Bash and it was awesome! My only pen submittal got some votes and I learned a lot. But here's my question: when "judging" a pen, where does Creativity and Skill rate in terms of importance? There were some amazing pens in all categories, but the ones I truly felt were worth my vote were those where the Pen Turner took some risk and created something by using his/her skills and creative vision. I understand that some categories were all about creating the blanks, but many were about the artistry of the pen (creativeness and skill). For me, that's why I read IAP. To get not just technical advise but to get my creative juices going and create a pen I never thought I could make. Hopefully next year I can turn a pen where both creativity and skill are obvious. Thanks to all who worked so hard on the Bash. I look forward to next year!
 
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ed4copies

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Hi Ross!
Last year the membership answered Mike Broberg's polls and strongly indicated they wanted to see the contests judged by membership voting. This means each member picks the pen in each contest that they "like" or "think is the best".

Who knows what each member uses as criteria? By keeping the "maker's" name off the entry, we hope to keep it from developing into a popularity contest, but we certainly realize some members' work is identifiable.

Got a better idea? I, for one, would LOVE to hear it---I think the current system leaves room for improvement. PM me, if you don't want it public.

Thanks,
Ed
 

plantman

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Ed; I think we should have 2 new contests added to the bash. Best Looking Pen At First Glance and Best First Impression Pen. Also a contest for Polymar Clay Only would not be a bad idea, or one for Metal Pens. I think many of the pens are judged like cars, nice color, great shape, etc. I know many times I will look at a pen 5 or more times befor deciding on which one to vote on. Each time a look at the pen or read the discription I find something I did not notice at first glance. It may be the fit of the parts, unique designs, wood grain match-up, color combos, how diffacult it was to make, were there unique materals used to put the pen together, and is it something that I haven't seen done before. I think to many pens are bunched into the same contests. Maybe if we had more seperate contests and only 1st and 2ed place in each one it would even out somewhat. I realize that the legistics of these contests is mind blowing, and I applaud those involved in it's planning and the way it is carried out!!!! Just my 2 cents. Jim S
 

rossvh

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Thanks Ed.

First, let me be clear. I completely agree that the members should vote and the submittals should be anonymous. My thought is that those of you who "manage" a category could vote on the most skillful, creative pen. It could be one that has won a category or not. I would assume that those of you involved with the Bash are long-time experienced pen turners that have much more skill and expertise than most of us, and to me that qualifies you to judge a pen by the true skill involved. Ultimately I think all IAP members want to improve and develop our skills so that pen making becomes much more than just "turning". Also, it goes a step beyond just finding a really pretty blank that looks awesome but that most IAP members would have been able to turn.

Again, I loved the Bash and all it stands for. My thought was to promote our art by recognizing how really difficult but creative pen turning can be.

RossVH
 

plantman

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I agree with Ross. I think there should be a catagory that only Guild members would vote on usng the rules they use for Guild membership. This would have the best of the best judging all aspects of a pen that the average pen turner would not even notice. Your rules for becoming a "master" are quite strigent for most of us to even come close to, but some on this site surpass even those standards, and should be applauded for their skills, craftsmanship, and inventive out of the box thinking. Jim S
 

toddlajoie

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My thought is that those of you who "manage" a category could vote on the most skillful, creative pen. It could be one that has won a category or not. I would assume that those of you involved with the Bash are long-time experienced pen turners that have much more skill and expertise than most of us, and to me that qualifies you to judge a pen by the true skill involved.

I'm living proof that that assumption is incorrect!!!!:biggrin:

I like Jim's idea of Guild guidelines and members selecting a Best of the Best
 

plano_harry

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Don't we already sort of have the BoB in the Featured Pen Contest?

My voting criteria is a careful, time-tested algorithm, which weighs all known or observable factors to determine which pen I would buy for myself if I got to pick one. There may be a pen that was difficult to make, though perfectly executed - but it is ugly! :eek:. I wouldn't make that pen if I could!

Doesn't everyone do that? :biggrin:

Harry

I would like to see a kitless category. Keep Freestyle weird :wink:
 

Krudwig

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This is what I posted to a thread I started today in Casual Conversation.

" I really think the voting system is somewhat flawed by the way we vote for a favorite pen. I'm not trying to be critical it's just that every vote is equal and no criteria is given for voting. I think a better system may be to judge each pen individually with criteria such as , fit and finish, kit use, materials selection and execution, and so forth whatever the different criteria may be and give a 1-10 ranking in each category and then total the score and let the 3 high scores be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Most. Likely this would not change the 1st place finishes but it probably would for 2nd and 3rd. There were so many pens that were so close and so many that were better pens but just not a popular pick. For instance I like a all wood or a wood acrylic mix but not so fond of an all acrylic so an all acrylic didn't make my favorites just because I prefer wood and combinations. Anyway it was fun and I enjoy the photos and like interactions of the people and feel those in charge did a great job! WPS !!!! "
 

rossvh

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Harry, good point but since I'm relatively new to IAP and the Bash, when I entered the "beginners" category it was up to me to determine my level. Obviously I'm not "advanced" ( in many things ) but if what you say is true then are there clear requirements to submit a pen worthy of the Best-of-the-Best? If so, then you're probably right and the winner of the "Advanced" category should be considered the # 1 pen.
Ross
 

plantman

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My thought is that those of you who "manage" a category could vote on the most skillful, creative pen. It could be one that has won a category or not. I would assume that those of you involved with the Bash are long-time experienced pen turners that have much more skill and expertise than most of us, and to me that qualifies you to judge a pen by the true skill involved.

I'm living proof that that assumption is incorrect!!!!:biggrin:

I like Jim's idea of Guild guidelines and members selecting a Best of the
Best

Todd: I think you may have taken my "best of the best" the wrong way. I ment that the Guild members, "Masters", are the best of the best and would be the most critical people to judge a contest for the best pens overall. Another problem that arrises would be this mythical case in point. Should I, by some majic, make the most super pen made by man. What contest should I enter it in??? Can I enter it in more than one contest?? NO!! And that is good, because you wouldn't want one super pen winning all the contests !! Since I have been making pens for 200 years, must I enter the Advanced class??? I didn't say I was good at it, only that I have been making them for a long time!! Should a wooden pen have to compete in the same class as a metal one turned on a metal lathe, one turned on a Pen Wizard, a PC blank, or a blank that I purchased from one of our best makers, at "price is no object", and turned it round, than called it "my" master piece?? I'm going to stop here because the worms are starting to crawl out over the top of the can. People that have found fault with some that have given their time and efforts freely in order to run these contests, probably have never run a contest and tried to please everyone. It's not going to happen!!! Thank you and all involved for your fine efforts and great contests !!!! Jim S
 
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ed4copies

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Don't think you offend the bash planners!!!

The debates we have can get VERY heated---we are, sometimes passionate in our beliefs. Then, when a decision is made, we back it, until there is a good reason to debate it again. It is a marvelous group who have deep respect for each other. We disagree intensely sometimes, but we all know this is a volunteer position---push em too hard and they will leave!!

So, no you won't hurt our feelings----if that were possible we would have already done it!!

Throw out ideas---Mike Broberg is VERY open to suggestions!!

Ed
 

Dan Masshardt

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Skill and creativity are overlapping often but different

Creativity will move some and turn others off There is lots and lots of great art that I don't care for at all

I only know what I like and vote that way I have a certain ascetic and sometimes people push the bounds and I like it Often times other people love things and I don't care for them at all

Subjective is well, subjective.


Skill can still be weighted differently but up must be acknowledged To hand cut perfect dovetails is a skill whether you like dovetails or not
 

plano_harry

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I think I see the problem - these were beginner, intermediate and advanced BEAUTIFUL pen contests. Not the best pen, hardest or technically perfect pen. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I have to pick the one that is most beautiful by my standards - which is the one I would most like to have, within the skill level appropriate to the creator.

We then get into the debate of skill level of which beginner is suitably defined, but the others are somewhat subjective. If you win intermediate, I think you should have to go to the deep end of the pool. This year the Beginner level was particularly challenging! :eek:

I don't know how pens end up on the front page, but certainly many of the advanced pens do.

That Jim's pen of a lifetime accomplishment should be appropriately submitted for Guild induction.

Harry
 

mbroberg

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I am considering, bringing up for discussion among the planners the possibility (do ya'll notice I am not making this a commitment?) of doing away with Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. They would be replaced with contests such as "Single Barrel Pen Kit", "Double Barrel Pen Kit", "Modified Kit", "Kitless" etc. The focus of the rules would be on the type of entry, not the skill level of the turner. In that way the turners will decide what contest they should be competing in.

Again, this is just an idea at this point. Comments welcome.
 

its_virgil

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I assume by Guild you mean the Pen Makers Guild. Other than the vague guidelines given on the guild's yahoo group page only the 5 members who make the decisions know what the real guidelines are, if there are, in fact, hard and fast guidelines. Those 5 members do not rotate and the same 5 have been the decision makers since the guild's inception. And, none of them are active here. The general guild members are not privy to the acceptance criteria. The guild is the guild and the IAP is the IAP and, for reasons I will not go into here, I think we should not bring the Guild into our decision making. Using IAP members who are also guild members as judges might be OK but I think the membership really wants membership voting to be the decision makers for our BASH contests. These are my thoughts and I mean no disrespect to anyone or either group.
Do a good turn daily!
Don

I agree with Ross. I think there should be a catagory that only Guild members would vote on usng the rules they use for Guild membership. Jim S
 

plano_harry

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Mike, that's virtually a double-maybe, but a long way from fixin-to.:biggrin:

I think it is a good idea - it is the only hope I have of getting out of intermediocrity.

But in kits, the blanks determine the winner, so how would you regulate that? :confused:
 

mbroberg

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Mike, that's virtually a double-maybe, but a long way from fixin-to.:biggrin:

I think it is a good idea - it is the only hope I have of getting out of intermediocrity.

But in kits, the blanks determine the winner, so how would you regulate that? :confused:

Not necessarily. The determination SHOULD be on form, fit and finish. But we could define a contest and level the playing field however we would like. "Single Barrel, Chrome Components, Maple Blank" or Fountain Pen, single color acrylic blank.
 

alphageek

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I'm glad that ideas are being talked through, but some of them sadden me a bit.

I like the idea of beginner, etc still. It let's those who aren't confident in their skills have the guts to enter. The advanced gives those that want a push the place to try and be "best of the best".

IMO, the competitions are less about the prize and more about the satisfaction of a good job.

The last thing that I want to see is "leveling the playing field". The diversity of entries is what makes the competition great. Sure the voting is hard but seeing all the pens gives us all ideas on what other peoples creativity can bring. To me leveling the playing field is like not keeping score in sports.
 

Krudwig

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Again, if you are simply going to vote on your favorite pen then the voting is flawed in my opinion. I like wood over acrylics so I'll vote for a wood over an acrylic regardless of fit, finish, presentation or other criteria simply because of personal choice. The acrylic may be a better pen and deserve to be chosen but is not simply because I'm bias. Now I may be overstating for effect but it's the same problem with our elections they simply become popularity contest and the best candidates get left behind if they don't fit somebody's ideal. How do you think we wound up with our present leader? He most defiantly was not the best qualified, or most experienced , but was the most popular choice. In my previous post to this thread I mentioned a system by which each pen could be judged on its own criteria such as fit, finish, choice of material, creativity, overall appearance, presentation, you choose the criteria say you have five catagories with 1-10 best score being 50 . Let people vote this way talley up the total scores for each pen and highest scores would be 1st, next 2nd, & 3rd. Still this would not be perfect because people will still give higher scores to what they personally like, but it would make the voting more equal. There is no way that some pens got zero votes, these pens were worthy of being scored not ignored! I am new so if this has already been hassed out excuse my ignorance, but simply adding or changing the catagories of pens won't change the problem of worthy pens being passed over and recieving zero votes simply because other pens were more popular. If a person goes to the trouble to enter he/she deserves to be judged fairly. I entered 4 contest and didn't receive any zero votes but could have easily. How can anybody know what areas need improvement without some useable feedback. For instance my pen entered in a certain contest might have scored better if my photography was better, or I had chosen a different material, or If I had chosen a different kit, but I'll not know any of this with a simple placing. Again I'm not a critical person but do think my thoughts here on this subject are worth exploring.
 

its_virgil

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While personal choices and personal tastes are certainly not debatable when making pens..i.e. I will make pens from the materials I like best. But, when voting for pens in the contests I lay my personal likes aside and vote on pens that I feel have the best qualities...form, fit, finish, matching components with material, following the contest theme (when appropriate)... and often vote for a pen made from materials not to my liking or vote for a pen made from a kit I would never make. We owe it to the contestants to vote based on quality issues and not personal likes.
Do a good turn daily!
Don
 

plantman

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I kind of thought that that was what "The Guild" stood for. Other people call you "Master" you don't lable yourself as one unless no one else can match your quality of skill!! Sorry I brought the idea into the thread. Maybe we should have catagorys like we have at our car shows. People's choise and best of show. No rules governing how, of what, or who made to pen, only did it appeel to the most number of people. And I agree with Dean, We should not have new turners compeating in the same contest as advanced turners, unless they choose to do so. Jim S
 

mredburn

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Without a "beginners" category many would not enter the contests because they would not want to compete against more experienced pen makers. Its a safe haven for those that are unsure of their skills. We have tried self determination and we have tried dictating the qualifications for a "beginner" No matter what we do it will not work 100 % there will always be those that are on the wrong side. We need to pick a standard and go with it and accept that it is the best we can come up with.

There is a reason why many competitions, not just ours here at IAP, have different levels of Participation. How many of you will enter an open contest that will allow anyone up to Advanced to compete in? How many of you will decide not to enter because you cant begin to compete at that level and so there is no reason to submit a pen. I do think that there should be a "beginners" and "intermediate " classes I also would like to see the Advanced split and renamed to Kit and Kitless.

We also need to remember the purpose of the Bash and its contests. Its to encourage enjoyment and participation in IAP. At all levels.

I was a hold out for judges picking the finalists. I could choose 3 members that would use the judging criteria to pick those finalists to reduce the "Prettiest to me" selecting the finalists. But the members voted to pick them themselves.

By the way we do have one of the Guild judges that participates on IAP pretty much he visits daily. He has posted pens although not many and he makes comments and posts "likes" frequently. Last year he had a pen in the Featured Pen contest.
 

toddlajoie

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You see what I did there mike???

{now if I could just fake one of my pictures into last year's featured pen contest, I'd have everyone fooled!!!}
 

rossvh

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I guess with success comes opportunity for growth. That's really what I'm interested in as a new pen turner and why IAP is so important. I agree with the Purpose of the Bash, but could there be some tweaking that enhances the Purpose even more? I'm not interested in changes that reduce participation - just the opposite. But I am very interested in learning as much as I can from Advanced turners and I think the Bash could do a better job of that.

As my father often said: "It is better to aim at the stars and miss, then shoot at a skunk and hit it!"
RossVH
 

BSea

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I like the idea of beginner, etc still. It let's those who aren't confident in their skills have the guts to enter. The advanced gives those that want a push the place to try and be "best of the best".

IMO, the competitions are less about the prize and more about the satisfaction of a good job.

The last thing that I want to see is "leveling the playing field". The diversity of entries is what makes the competition great. Sure the voting is hard but seeing all the pens gives us all ideas on what other peoples creativity can bring. To me leveling the playing field is like not keeping score in sports.
I agree with all the above.

Let's face the fact that showing photos of pens is never going to be the best way to judge our pens. A panel of experts would be best, but where's the fun in that? This is supposed to be a party where EVERYONE has fun. Besides, if someone thinks their pens are Guild worthy, they have that available to them. So Let's leave the voting to the total membership. At least that's my vote.:wink: We just have to understand that it's never going to be perfect.

On the voting, I liked the advanced pen vote (I think that was the one) where we voted for more than 1 entry. I think if there are more than 20 entries in a contest, then we should vote for the top 3 or 4. That may or may not have changed the outcome of the contest. I also wish that results would be published. I really thought the Russ Fairfield "Did I finish last?" thread was fun. At least for those of us who didn't win a prize. In fact, maybe that would be the best way to handle this for all contest. Although, that does put extra work on whoever is running a contest.

I also would like to see the Advanced split and renamed to Kit and Kitless.
I agree with this too. I fact, I tend to favor the kitless pens because I know there's more work involved in a kitless pen. So I give more weight to a kitless over a kit pen.

We also need to remember the purpose of the Bash and its contests. Its to encourage enjoyment and participation in IAP. At all levels.
What he said. :good:
 

plano_harry

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At the end of the day, it seems like it all comes down to subjective opinion. Fit and finish might be a factor in the beginner level and I apply that criteria as part of my subjective evaluation of complexity, creativity and overall appeal.

But at the intermediate and advanced level it is mandatory and within the limitations of 800x600 I don't think you can rank the "successful" participants on that criteria. They are all perfect fit and dang near perfect finish -- you did intend that to be semi-gloss, right? :rolleyes:

Maybe a Judge's Choice and a Peep's Choice would be an enhancement. Could one person win two 1st prizes? I am fine with an expert panel of judges and structured criteria, but it is more fun if I get vote. It is a party, right? :cake:

One of my favorite benefits of the Bash contests are that I get to see a ton of different ideas. I would hate to give that up. My intermediate entry didn't deserve to win this year, but I am glad I had a contest to play in and I am going to keep slugging it out until I win (or get lucky).
 

mredburn

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I did the "choose 3" in the Advanced pen this year. When you have more than one choice this way I think the better pens come out on top. You might like pen A B C F in that order and some else likes F D C B in that order. F, B, and C end up in the finals. I believe it gave a fairer shake to all entries. Part of the discourse this year is from the growth of the contests and our personal definitions of what a contest is and isnt supposed to be.. We interpret the rules by the spirit of the Bash not the technical lay of the law so to speak. Think of them as local league rules. Subject to interpretation on the side of leniency.
 

its_virgil

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Yep, forgot about him. My apologies and I stand corrected.
Do a good turn daily!
Don

By the way we do have one of the Guild judges that participates on IAP pretty much he visits daily. He has posted pens although not many and he makes comments and posts "likes" frequently. Last year he had a pen in the Featured Pen contest.
 

twinsen

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New turner opinion and ideas.

Voting by members: This is crucial for member involvement and was a lot of fun. It encourages a critical eye for others work.

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced: Don't get rid of these. Maybe clarify. Could add guidelines, like, how much your pen would sell for. $1-25, $26-100, $100 - $1,000,000.

One more winner: I also think that there should be one more winner in each category chosen by the "Masters" of pen turning. So that would mean 1st, 2nd, 3rd members choice and Masters choice.

Feedback: I think all pen entrants should post their entries for feed back or have automatic threads setup. That way members can direct them to how-to videos/documents or give them suggestions.

Split Acrylic and Wood competitions: There seems to be a big bias for one or the other. Splitting the categories would be good. And more opportunities to enter and try different materials.

How-To-take-a-photo: Add the links on home made light boxes and photo how-to links to the contest rules. Probably more important for beginner and intermediate. Also, how to size a photo to get the most from 800x600.
 

plantman

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Voting by members: This is crucial for member involvement and was a lot of fun. It encourages a critical eye for others work

:) I agree!!

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced: Don't get rid of these. Maybe clarify. Could add guidelines, like, how much your pen would sell for. $1-25, $26-100, $100 - $1,000,000.

:rolleyes: I 1/2 agree!! Keep the three groups. The problem with priceing a pen, is the fact that a pen sold in DePere, WI is not going to sell for the same price as a pen sold at a L A pen show.

One more winner: I also think that there should be one more winner in each category chosen by the "Masters" of pen turning. So that would mean 1st, 2nd, 3rd members choice and Masters choice.

:mad: Problem here is who are the "masters" ? Some, who have called themselfs masters in the past, are far outshadowed by the technology and skills of some of todays pen makers.

Feedback: I think all pen entrants should post their entries for feed back or have automatic threads setup. That way members can direct them to how-to videos/documents or give them suggestions.

:beauty: Most of us do.

Split Acrylic and Wood competitions: There seems to be a big bias for one or the other. Splitting the categories would be good. And more opportunities to enter and try different materials.

:) Agree

How-To-take-a-photo: Add the links on home made light boxes and photo how-to links to the contest rules. Probably more important for beginner and intermediate. Also, how to size a photo to get the most from 800x600.

:confused: Agree. It would make it quicker for the newer people to look up links that are already in the library, but that's the point of having people look things up, to learn how to use the library. Wayne has done an execellent job with our library, and deserves many thanks. Jim S
 
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twinsen

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Voting by members: This is crucial for member involvement and was a lot of fun. It encourages a critical eye for others work

:) I agree!!

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced: Don't get rid of these. Maybe clarify. Could add guidelines, like, how much your pen would sell for. $1-25, $26-100, $100 - $1,000,000.

:rolleyes: I 1/2 agree!! Keep the three groups. The problem with priceing a pen, is the fact that a pen sold in DePere, WI is not going to sell for the same price as a pen sold at a L A pen show.

One more winner: I also think that there should be one more winner in each category chosen by the "Masters" of pen turning. So that would mean 1st, 2nd, 3rd members choice and Masters choice.

:mad: Problem here is who are the "masters" ? Some, who have called themselfs masters in the past, are far outshadowed by the technology and skills of some of todays pen makers.

Feedback: I think all pen entrants should post their entries for feed back or have automatic threads setup. That way members can direct them to how-to videos/documents or give them suggestions.

:beauty: Most of us do.

Split Acrylic and Wood competitions: There seems to be a big bias for one or the other. Splitting the categories would be good. And more opportunities to enter and try different materials.

:) Agree

How-To-take-a-photo: Add the links on home made light boxes and photo how-to links to the contest rules. Probably more important for beginner and intermediate. Also, how to size a photo to get the most from 800x600.

:confused: Agree. It would make it quicker for the newer people to look up links that are already in the library, but that's the point of having people look things up, to learn how to use the library. Wayne has done an execellent job with our library, and deserves many thanks. Jim S


HA!.... I am still learning to use the library. Found the photography forumn today. Good stuff.
 

plano_harry

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HA!.... I am still learning to use the library. Found the photography forumn today. Good stuff.

Great stuff. The photography lament has been raised frequently by new turners. Especially during the Bash contests! Been there and had to raise my own game. We aren't showing a pen - we are showing a picture of a pen. Big difference. Lots of good information here. Sounds like the Daily Trivia questions should come from the photography forum next year :wink:

Congrats on the win! That was my choice, good photo as well.
 
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