We’ve all been there. We see something someone else has made and it’s not to our taste. Our default is often to judge, to make blanket statements about how “good” or “bad” it is. Or maybe a friend or colleague asks for an opinion and all you can see is how much better you could make it.

Here are a few rules of thumb:

1) Look for the good.
The way we think of others often mirrors some of our strongest underlying self-criticisms. You may not even hear your inner critic’s specific thoughts any more, it may just manifest as an anxious vibe before, during, or after you create. If you seek the good in other people’s work, you’ll notice a corresponding appreciation for your own.


I see a necklace that’s a mass-produced electroplated pendant on a chain. I have judgements. Strong ones. They’re not kind. Mostly based around all the areas I’m most insecure.

My own fear is that I’m not creative enough. That my work isn’t authentic. That I’m bad at having a business. My inner critic says that I should be original, true to my aesthetic and technique preferences, and working on high margin projects.

2) If your opinion hasn’t been solicited, don’t critique.
Let each person have their own growth process. Some things you gotta learn by doing them yourself. I like sharing favorite sourcing spots and brands. I feel like someone can take or leave that resource without feeling judged.

Some things you just gotta do yourself.

3) If you feel the need to comment about a problem, propose a solution. That’s the best way to get what you want. If you don’t have a solution, then acknowledge that, too. This is just a good interpersonal practice and transfers into relationships, work, or dealing with a company.

4) If your opinion *has* been solicited, make sure you choose words with care. Be clear about what’s working for you, and what might accentuate that. Assist in construction, not destruction.

Started with this and wasn’t crazy about it.

Asked a friend and he said, “I like where this is going with the color and placement. You might want to consider pulling the green and simplifying.”

5) There’s no shame in asking for help.


Right now, lighting is a work in progress for our Facebook videos - if someone’s an expert, it would be great to get some thoughts on light brands and positioning, or favorite resources to learn about studio lighting!

- Erin, Dakota Stones



Date 10/16/2017

Good article. Thank you for sharing. Julie

Luann Udell

Date 10/16/2017

An excellent article, and good guidelines for all of us! When someone shows me their work, I look for the things they're doing well. IF I'm asked for feedback, or IF it's a major no-no (working with poor-quality materials, for example, or cheap findings)I frame it with "What could be better is...." and make it constructive--ALWAYS!! AND I offer resources, if they don't know about them: Books, magazines, stores, or websites that offer better materials, beginner instructions, reviews of materials and tools, etc. Short version: Tell them what they're doing right. Don't be mean. Help them get to the next step.

Linda Cabanban

Date 10/16/2017

I really like this article - especially the idea that everyone has their own growth process to respect and not judge. Thank you for sharing that.

Cathy Krause

Date 10/16/2017

Jewelry making, is a form of art. And with many artists, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Everyone has their own opinion. Be kind. Offer suggestions when asked. Keep negative comments to yourself. And enjoy your style!

Michele Greenstein

Date 10/16/2017

I'm working on a necklace that I will be redoing for the 3rd time (the 4th try). I also found a another necklace in my redo box that I made when I first started making jewelry. I didn't like it then. I now love it. Go figure! 😊

martha flaherty

Date 10/17/2017

I really enjoy all of your blogs. Your information, education and wisdom are edifying and enjoyable . The topics always seem to hit on what I'm pondering at the moment. I sincerely look forward to your posts. Thank you much.

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