Thursday was set up day. I was going to present my work down in the Ceramics studio, so there was a lot of work to do in order to get it presentable. I was able to borrow two pedestals from the gallery in the Fine Arts building, but I still needed more display space. I had the idea to wrap two of the little wooden shelves we have next to the wheels in fabric. Then I wrapped a paper box in fabric as well. I was trying my best to get them to resemble pedestals. It was not the most ideal situation, but I think it turned out pretty good in the end. It was really hard to edit myself to decide what pieces to show to the faculty.
The critique started early Friday morning at 9 am. We had the largest number of MFA students to be critiqued in a while at 11. Each of us got 30 minutes in front of the faculty. We would give a brief presentation of our work and then the faculty could ask any questions they had. This was the time for us to defend our work and our ideas. I knew there was going to be a lot of professors there, but when I walked into the first classroom, I was a little shocked to really see how many. My nerves kicked into high gear. Unfortunately, I had to wait until 2:30 for my turn. I was a little worried about that because I knew I would be going at the end of a very long day. I was hoping the professors wouldn't be too cranky by then. Although, there was also the possibility that a few of them might not show up, so maybe that would be a little less stress.
As each of my peers presented their work, I got a little more nervous. Some of these professors were being really tough, but all of the grads did a really good job of defending their ideas. The lunch break finally rolled around, and I was ready to get my turn over with. I knew that afterwards I would feel so much better. I could almost relax, the hardest part of the semester would be over.
I had the absolute worst headache leading up to my turn. The stress was getting to me. I stood up to start my critique, and all those eyes on me caused me a little moment of panic. I took a deep breath and started my presentation. I am not really able to completely remember what I said, but I hope it was somewhat intelligent. Most of the faculty were receptive to my work, but there were a couple that grilled me almost the entire 30 minutes. I was not going to let myself get trapped or confused by their questions. I am told by my peers that I handled myself really well. One faculty member did say how good it was to see that I had tried so many different things this semester and had experimented. That is what they want to see especially in the first semester. I was glad that she recognized that. As one particular professor's questioning was getting especially tough time ran out, and I escaped.
I was so happy to be done with this critique. I had worked really hard this semester, and had to adjust to a very different environment. I cannot even begin to say how much I look forward to the holiday break. Now all that remains is to get my evaluation forms back and to see how I did in the critique.