(ii) When you have covered this ground carefully with plenty of good looking, you might embark on finding out about its manufacture

and ask questions like:

* how has this work been made? how has the artist, craftworker or designer actually put it together?

The follow-up work would involve very close and serious attention to handling the work if possible, to find out what materials, media, techniques, skills and processes had been used in its manufacture.

These responses are all about finding out information about the work. You will need to have some help with the materials, styles and processes - in other words how the work has been made.

Questions that can be asked at this point include not only how it was made, but perhaps why it was made in this way, and then whether or not it was appropriate. What about the artist's intentions? What exactly did they mean to do? And what about the working context? Does the work look like it does because of where it comes from or the time in history that it was made? And what do we know about the experiments the artist tried out first to get to this result or outcome?

Try to hold the judgements back at this stage (about whether or not the work is any good). Try to collect together evidence of what you can see, and then what you know and can find out about the work (and the artist, craftworker or designer who made it). This may come in the form of documentation , either by the artist themselves or by critics, historians or writers. Sometimes this documentation may accompany the work. It might be difficult to track down, or remain entirely elusive.

The next step, from looking to finding out about how it has been made, is to some attempt at:


which means asking questions such as:

* what does the work mean? How do we feel about its sequences, development, methods of dealing with problems, issues or interests? How well does the artist, craftworker or designer convey personal feelings or insights? What do you think the artist was trying to achieve with this work?

The follow-up work here is fundamentally about analysis . You can encourage a full-scale investigation of the work by exploring all the available evidence. This is a bit like a detective game in which you handle information and responses, looking at the work, reading reference material and making visual judgements. This part of the routine might be described as reading the work. This means you should encourage discussion and different points of view, which are pulled from the work itself but informed by research.

This step can be developed further for more advanced groups, by considering the work's significance. This entails further questions such as:

* how well has it been made? how far have the artist's intentions been realised? how does this particular piece of work compare with the rest of this artist's output? where does this work fit in relation to other contextual references? (art, craft, design of the culture or time).

You might want to encourage an investigation into the work's characteristics, what defines it as special or different? Does it have particular value in a particular setting? You might want to check the three steps to this routine, immediate visual impact, manufacture, and interpretation against value judgements.

You might encourage some early attempts at making assessments or evaluations of the work.

  • How good is it to look at?
  • How well has it been made?
  • How interesting is it as a work of art?
  • How does it rate against other examples?

If you cover this routine, you will have observed the work's appearance as immediate visual impact, sought information from its production and manufacture and interpreted various meanings through analysis.

The final step is significance that leads towards critical evaluation. You will have attempted to both identify the content of the work and the method of working. You will then have analysed the quality of the work.

Looking at and assessing art depends upon:

  • careful interrogation of the work itself
  • awareness of how the artist has made it
  • making discoveries about the work including an interpretation of it
  • forming elementary judgements in terms of evaluation.