Gender Inequity in the Craft Ceiling

Gender-Inequity-in the Craft Ceiling.
In 1972, Congress enacted Title IX.
  It's  ground breaking legislation prohibited "sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial aid."  At the time, I remember the push back. The idea that women's sports programs in grade schools and colleges should be given an equal amount of money was a shock to the prevailing system.  Wide spread resistance arose from entrenched college football fans and athletic program managers. Gender equity in sports funding was mandated and eventually enforced -- from the very bottom dollar on up.   Ultimately women were provided with facilities and opportunities and finally encouraged to excel in  athletics.

Very few fully comprehended how this gender equity legislation would impact the sports world. This past summer I watched the Summer Olympics with fascination.  Female American athletes won 27 of the 46 American gold medals. If the U.S. were divided into two countries, one male and the other female, those 27 golds for the women would tie them with Britain for the most from any country, put them one ahead of China, and (dare I say it) ahead of the American men and every other country.

Titleix-powerTitle IX made this possible. Title IX "revolutionize women's sports at both the high school and college levels." Title IX provided the opportunity for women to excel, but it also meant a very real opportunity for women at all levels to participate in sports.

In the news, we hear about the "glass ceiling" in politics and business. Women still do not earn the same dollars per hour as men. Our first promising woman candidate for president lost to a man full of hot air and braggadocio.  Women are still not evaluated with the same standards as we evaluate male behavior.

As a woman who has witnessed the "feminist revolution" I sat in the audience at the recent ACC Conference "Present Tense", and was shocked that only two women received a College of Fellows Award alongside five men.

Gender Ineguity in the Craft Ceiling
ACC Awards of Distinction 1976-2016

I've thought about this for almost two months...but tonight I added up the numbers. Since 1975 (using published statistics on the American Craft Council website) there have been a total of 301 College of Fellow Awards of which only 117 were awarded to females.  Last I checked, that is significantly off the ratio of women to men in crafts.

This is a depressing statistic. Every conference in crafts that I have attended always seems to have significantly more of a female audience. It also appears that art education programs, and workshop programs have a higher percentage of female students. So, I wonder how the honoring of more men than women happens at the elite level of crafts?

Additional statistics:
SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award 
20 total awards  14 men, 6 women

GAS  (Glass Art) LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENTS
30 Awards 2016- 1993 24 men 6 women
last 10 years 2016 - 2007 9 men 1 women

Anyone familiar with wood, or ceramics? 

Any answers?

Any responses?

Any justifications?

Harriete 

 

 

 


Artistic Expression and Being an Artist

IMG_20161123_161539952
From my earliest memories I have always wanted to be an artist. The lifelong aspiration was not simply to make art or sell art, I wanted to be an artist.  The depth of this "being an artist" constantly spills over into daily life -- and positively overflows with anticipation of a shared experience with family and friends.  Witness the Thanksgiving table above as this year's display of artistic expression.

Every year I look forward to reinventing my Thanksgiving table as an extension of being an artist. This year the table color scheme was persimmon red, black and gold. 

IMG_20161123_162145913_HDR

Company is invited for a late afternoon gathering so that the natural lighting has the golden glazing hues of fall.   For me, the light coming through the windows is as important as the lighting in a painting.  Experiencing the light, the decorative arrangements, the food, and friends all resolve to the point that so much of life's activities can be artistic experiences. 

Thanksgiving is such a profound holiday in its simplicity of acknowledging what we are thankful for.  The commercial and/or religious aspects are secondary to the idea of spending time with friends and family together.

As we slide into the merchandising marathon for the remainder of the year, I relish the golden tones of artistic expression without selling anything. 

 Harriete

 Below are past Thanksgiving Tables. 

Thanksgiving 2015 008
Part of the fun is working on the preparation together. Thanksgiving 2015 
Thanksgiving 2015 056
Reinventing my table each year is my favorite part. Thanksgiving 2015 
Thanksgiving 2014 flower arrangements 003
Flower arrangements are different every year. Thanksgiving 2014 is still my best. 
ThanksgivingPlate closerlower
Chanukah Gelt & gold theme. Thanksgiving 2013
Thanks2Mondrian2012ARyn and Harriete
Sharing the festive planning with my daughter. Thanksgiving 2012 
Leaf shaped carrot cake with textured frosting.
Thanksgiving 2011 the leaf motif included the carrot cake. 
Black, chartreuse green, and gray for a Thanksgiving table motif.
Wrapping paper can work well to establish a color scheme. Thanksgiving 2010
Black and green chartreuse dishes set a Thanksgiving theme.
These vintage inspired Thanksgiving 2010 theme of black and chartreuse

 

Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Brass spherical vase used for 
Brass spherical vase used for Thanksgiving 2009 was my first hollow-ware project from 1971.
black and white and grey motif for Thanksgiving 2008
Wrapping paper is a great way to establish a strong motif for your table. I try to reuse the wrapping paper for other uses after this festive meal. Thanksgiving 2008.

DIY This Necklace And Copy Another Person's Idea

Every so often I am appalled to see online a suggestion to copy another person's idea or work.

It happened again just now...
| D.,I,Y


The caption on this Pinterest photo is offers suggestions for recreating this Sydney Lynch's design into a DIY project. 

Suggesting that Lynch's work is a good piece of jewelry to copy is an outrageous and unacceptable recommendation. Unfortunately, it is not an isolated example.  If you want to create a tutorial for a DIY project, you must use your own design and ideas.  Telling people to copy another artist and how to do it is completely inappropriate.

If you like a piece of jewelry or admire another artist's work in any media, then suggest that other people buy it from the artist. Don't recommend ways to copy the other artist's work. 

What do you do when you see a D.I.Y. post on how to recreate/copy another artist's work?  When I first saw a situation like this, I didn't know what to do.  This time I wrote a post with vocal condemnation.  Is that enough?

Please post your thoughts or alternative suggestions below. 

Harriete


Protecting and Investing in Your Artistic Legacy

Gate-number.I've been traveling for a couple of weeks, including attending  in the American Craft Council Conference "Present Tense" in Omaha, and my momentum in discussing artist legacy issues temporarily came to a halt.   In anticipation of being "out of studio" for awhile, I sent 1,000 slides to a scanning service before I left.  Now catching up with daily routines, I'm reexamining the legacy issues that all artist's and makers may want to consider.


Present Tense Kaneko Head I continue to wonder how much to invest in the past - organizing and protecting an archive of my life's work.
Perhaps this reflects a profound perspective about one's self as a professional artist or maker.  Do you see your work as important to yourself or your field?  It is interesting to note that a portion of the Kaneko Building (where the Present Tense Conference was held) is dedicated to "the core collection of two thousand works by Jun Kaneko, providing examples of works chronicling his important and varied career" and his professional archive.

Professional-guidelines-inventory-recordsInterested in establishing and applying professional standards for artists and makers -- a dedication that led to the Professional Guidelines.  But contemplating the real time and expense of creating an archive causes a swirling of ego, pride, humility, professionalism, goodwill, hassle, ennui, tedium, ....  I do expect and hope that my work will live on somehow beyond me.  In the meantime (and I hope for a very long "meantime"), these efforts should enhance my administrative productivity well into the future.

Nevertheless, who cares?  No one cares really as much as me.  Therefore it is my responsibility to take care of my own images and documentation.  

Craig Nutt (formally at CERF) has shared with me a remarkable resource for dealing with these issues -   Joan Mitchell Foundation Call Resources. "

"Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) is an initiative of the Joan Mitchell Foundation designed to provide support to older artists in the areas of studio organization, archiving, inventory management, and through this work create a comprehensive and usable documentation of their artworks and careers.

This site is a publicly available resource to assist anyone involved whether artist, artist’s assistant, Legacy Specialist, family member, or friend of an artist in the process of career documentation."

Copied from this website "The workbook includes information on many elements key to career documentation including:

  • Importance of Documenting and Archiving Your Work
  • Working with Assistants & Legacy Specialists
  • Setting Manageable Goals
  • Physical Inventory
  • Record-Keeping System
  • Databases
  • Photographing Work
  • Budgeting"

There is a documentation guide and audio  book.

I am going to study this resource. If you have used it and would like to share your observations, please share in the comments.

Harriete

 


Investing in the Past: What is Safe Storage in the Digital Age? What is Preservation of a Legacy?

20161003_164657-ANIMATION
Reviewing all the images that I've kept since about 1971 has been challenging. 
The decision to spend time going through box after box of prints and slides to find the best originals means that I am investing time and money in the past rather than creating new work of the future. At the same time, I am both excited about enabling the sharing of the vast quantity of images not shown in years, and disappointed that this doesn't feel noble, productive or creative. 

There were lots of comments about the previous post regarding advice for keeping a responsible archive of images of past works. The decisions take into account a variety of factors.

Here are some of the highlights:   


Archival_Methods_35mm_Slide_Storage_System_07_02_mMy primary recommendation is to use archival boxes for storage.  I have been using these slide boxes for years. All of the slides stored in these boxes look fine.  Steel slide cabinets were great but they took up too much space, so the archival boxes are my choice. 

I am also storing the single remaining copy of my black & white prints, negatives and color transparencies in similar archival boxes.  This is following the advice of the National Archives which stores important content for the federal government.  Click here for recommendations for the National Archive. 

A number of comments suggested storing slides in plastic sheets.  I am NOT going to recommend this approach. While some plastic sheets claim that they are designed for archival use, I just don't trust plastic.  Many plastics out-gas and at this point I can't distinguish the so-called "safe" archival plastic sheets from those that are not safe. The plastic sheets restrict air circulation. The National Archives says:  "Older plastic or paper enclosures which came from the photo lab may not be safe for long term storage." 

What is Long Term Storage in the Digital Age?

You can never be certain.  I look back at the way information storage and sharing has changed in the past 20 years and the pace at which technology is accelerating. 

Here is a very real example.

Zip-drive-dicsDo any of you remember ZIP Drives?  I have one digital image on Zip Drive that I can not access now. How ironic!? I made a 9'x 9' wall quilt and it was difficult to photograph because of it's size. The image data was also huge, so at the time, a ZIP disc was the answer. A short lived answer.  Within two years, ZIP was out. No ZIP, and now, no original image available. Nos it is another time consuming hurdle and expense for archiving the original. 

Get this for further irony.  At the time, the image data for the large wall quilt was so big, I didn't even dare to put it on the hard drive of my desktop computer. A 32 MB image would have been half the hard drive at the time. [Please stop laughing now.] 

OK. that was one example, but there are more. Do you remember floppy drives? Another technology that none of us uses any more.  But they were handy and convenient at the time. Thank goodness my images are currently on CD's and DVD's -- but, shocking as it sounds, how many of you have a computer without a CD/DVD drive?   How long will it be till, I won't be able to buy an external drive to read the discs?  "Paranoia strikes deep."*  

For the long term I am trying to think about "What is safe?"  "What will be accessible into the future?"

Backyard-open-spacePart of my thinking to purge the slides was that they weren't safe enough. They were the physical copy of the image. They may have even been the original, quality image, but they too were vulnerable to damage from dust, mildew, a fire or earthquake. None of this is planned.  Fire is a reality in everybody's house. I live in California near open space at the end of a canyon. Where I live, fire and earthquakes are a potential reality, but every location, no matter where you live has it's vulnerabilities. Haven't we just heard about hurricanes, and floods in the news?

My goal is to have multiple platforms. 

So, for now, this is my plan. I am keeping:

  • one original slide. (Perhaps I should have kept two? Too late.)
  • scanning the one best original slide for a digital record - (more information later)
  • one black & white original photo
  • all negatives for the film/print images.
  • all my transparencies 2" and 4"x5"
  • one print copy of catalogs, postcards, and documentation of past exhibitions.
  • digital copies of images will be uploaded to my computer, external harddrive and Carbonite for back up.
  • eventually, I hope to add a larger variety of images  and documentation to my website, but even that can't hold everything.   
  • All my sketch books starting from 1970 have been kept and stored.

Is that enough? Is that responsible? Each of us has to make our own decisions.

Is there any answer that I haven't considered?  What are you doing with your images? Your past inventory records. Your old catalogs?  I'd like to know. This  is important information to share.

Future posts will provide more information on protecting and archiving your records.

I just sent my first 1000 slides for scanning and will let you know how this ScanCafe test group turns out. At .27 cents per slide it still adds up to $300 investment. That is not chump change when I 1,000's of slides yet to go! 

Harriete 

*Paranoia Strikes Deep is from the song lyrics of Buffalo Springfield song "For What's It's Worth"
"Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid.."

 


A Painful Purge and the Legacy Costs of Information

legacy costs of information
A legacy of information! 
I'm going through all my color slides….and black & white photos.  Thousands of images and thousands more duplicates.  A legacy of my entire career.

IMG_20160929_181941176

And throwing it all away.  Obsolete media.

 All my original images will be digital from here on.

[gickr_com]_eddb7504-39e9-8fa4-ed30-50014161cea3
I
n looking through 40+ years of accumulated physical images, I am reminded of the history and optimism anticipated in each and every image that is going into the trash.  As an artist I adored the quality of the images and took pride in being prepared when needed.  It was a badge of honor at a professional level. I remember the care and investment of time and money that went into the composition, processing, selection, cataloging, storing, organizing, and maintaining these visual manifestations of my craft skill and artistic vision. Now I am taking these beloved slides and photos out of their neat and tidy boxes, taking careful inventory to keep one, just one copy of the best image,  and dumping the rest into the dumpster.


IMG_20161002_182254288_HDR

I feel remorse in the wasted materials.
 
I feel guilt in generating such waste.
  This is a painful purge.

But the physical media has become a burden.  

IMG_20161002_182304915_HDRFortunately, the "information" of these images will live on when converted to digital media.   My daughter helped me realize that companies large and small deal with this legacy cost" all the time. They have archives of information that could be valuable to current or future users.  Information companies like Weather Underground choose to preserve past weather information and make it accessible on their website. They realize that the history of weather information is valuable, but stored data must also be compatible with newer digital interfaces.  Researchers using newer or different platforms need the archived information to be compatible to gain the benefits of analyzing long term trends over decades of accumulated information in ways that were not previously possible.  

purging a legacy of information in slide imagesArtists also may have a legacy of information or objects.  At what point does old work become out dated inventory?

I look at it differently. Old work has potential in future exhibition opportunities. It could even be my retirement income as I have witnessed in the revival of interest in mid-century modern jewelry. Important painters often kept their best work increased in value.

Museums are the consummate examples of legacy information and the costs of maintaining archives.   They store objects and information indefinitely with the expectation that value will be realized well into the future.


Misbehaving EconomicsWhy did I finally decide to throw away all these slides and photos?
  I was reading a book about behavioral economics … “Misbehaving - The Making of Behavioral Economics"  by Richard Thaler.  The book discusses a relatively new field in economics observing how many financial decisions are not made on a purely rational basis.  

Black-white-photos-legacy-informationOne financial concept struck home for me - "sunk costs."  The book made clear that my slides and photos that are no longer in a useful form (and all the time and money I invested in them) are "sunk costs."  Keeping them any longer would just cost more storage expense. Businesses often describe this storage expense as  "carrying cost" or inventory cost.  However, if the images (or any other inventory items) are not or cannot be used any longer, they have no current or future value.  To use up storage space in my cramped studio is just more wasted money.  

Vertical-quantity-of-images-informationEvery artist and maker has legacy information in their older work that represents their career and their credibility. The construction of my new website caused me to re-examine how I needed to make my images (my "information") more accessible for current and future use.   In the past three weeks, I have invested a great deal of time to find one, just one best copy of each image to digitize for the future.

I see my new website as a new and more accessible form of my work -- a new catalog that enables more people to more easily access my images and for me to connect with more opportunities.  I look forward to adding images to my website that were not digital. Images of inspiration and work in progress could be interesting to a wider audience.

I took great professional pride in my inventory of slides and black & white photos  to be ready for opportunities.  Now the ongoing value of my "information" (the intrinsic substance of my images) through this new digital media greatly expands how I can gain the attention of others and be prepared for many more opportunities.  My new website is adaptive to phones, tablets and computers.  Using a template site (which I resisted for years) means that it will be a stable format for further changes in technology.


Website-2016Despite my acute awareness of my past investments, I see this transition as a revitalization of my legacy information.
  Take a moment to look at my new website.  Critique the content.  Find mistakes.  Bookmark it for later updates. Lots more information is coming in future months. This is a work in progress, a new future, a new  year.

Harriete

 

 


Using a Gun in Whole or In Parts - The Meaning of Materials

In the previous post Boris Bally made a comment that is worth further consideration:  

Biba-Schutz
Biba Shutz response to Imagine Peace Now

"I am surprised how many metalsmiths have chosen to keep the gun as a whole, rather than to manipulate or reconfigure the gun’s materials. Certainly a big part of this was the barrier of working with a frighteningly ‘loaded’ (metaphorically) and often unfamiliar object."

I am thinking about Boris's statement. I see both sides now. 

When my gun arrived in the mail for this exhibition Imagine Peace Now I had never touched a gun before. I was definitely planning on taking it apart or cutting it apart. Both were easy options using my metalsmithing skills....but then taking the gun out of the box, even a small gun seemed threatening. I thought, maybe the gun was scarier, more frightening, more lethal,  if it was whole.

By putting the gun on the handle of my check writing machine, it meant that the viewer had to metaphorically grab the handle of the gun every time they were calculating or "Checking the Cost of Gun Violence."

BermanH-checking-cost-gun-violence-gun
Checking the Cost of Gun Violence by Harriete Estel Berman

BermanH-checking-cost-gun-violence-fullBut does using the entire gun in every artwork look or feel equally scary.

Sharon-MasseyIn the image right these guns by Sharron Massey  are decorated with enamel or paint. They say: "new normal," a powerful message, but do the gun look scary and threatening.  

Do you think you might have to grab these guns? or use them? Is this your "new normal?"


Stacey-Lee-Webber-full-viewIn the artwork shown (left and below) by Stacey Lee Webber the guns are cut lengthwise.  The colors of the different gun metals are very interesting.  The frame echos similar metallic colors. The photograph with grey sludge concrete on the wall seems far more poignant. I see the frame on the wall as a memorial to the victims of gun violence on the street. A memorial of death.

Despite the fact that the guns are cut in half, they still hold a powerful resonance.

So a whole gun really isn't the point. Half a gun can send a powerful message.

Stacey-Lee-Webber

Here are two more examples in this discussion about guns whole or in parts and the meaning of materials.

A necklace by Squash-Blossom-Necklace-LeeAnn-Herreid LeeAnn Herreid is made from one gun trigger  with additional gun parts that were molded and cast to create duplicate parts. The necklace uses gun parts in an attractive decorative way. The photograph is neat and consistent with quality photographic standards but leaves me a little empty. It doesn't grab me with the threatening issues surrounding gun violence. Does the "pretty" perfection get in the way?

Boris BallyBrave-No.@Contrast this to a necklace by Boris Bally made with gun triggers.  (right)   While very similar as a comparison it seems more "steely," harsh threatening.

Boris-Bally2003-Brave

 

Boris often photographed work in this Brave series on "gansta"  guys.  The message was clear. Jewelry from the street made from actual gun triggers.  The parts of the guns, the triggers themselves still carried powerful meaning.

In summary, my first assumption that the whole gun was scarier isn't really true. Parts of a gun, a slice or a trigger can still carry a powerful message.  

Creativity really is an art more than a science. One principle can not apply to all situations, and nuance can make all the difference between good and great interpretations.

Harriete

Imagine-Peace-Now-pinView the Kickstarter campaign for an exhibition catalog by Boris Bally. There are only ONLY 9 days left in the Kickstarter with 37% of the needed funds and 135 backers. Can you give one dollar? or five dollars, or $35. dollars. 

Stay tuned for updates about the upcoming exhibition locations for Imagine Peace Now. If you run a gallery or exhibition space, perhaps you might want to contact Boris Bally about the traveling show schedule. 

 

Berman-checking-cost-gun-violence-towards
Checking the Cost of Gun Violence by Harriete Estel Berman

 


Honesty at Gun Point, Kickstarter a Shot in the Dark

Guns-for-artistsIn March 2016 Boris Bally invited me to participate in an upcoming exhibition titled, "Imagine, Peace Now."  All of the artists were to be given an inoperable handgun and asked to make an artwork addressing gun violence in America. A previous post shared my artwork.

I have known Boris for at least 28 years (maybe more) and am a big fan of his work with recycled traffic signs. The range of Bally's work is backed up by exquisite craftsmanship, sophisticated aesthetic, bravado, integrity, work ethic and sometimes even outspoken opinions. Go Boris!

 

Picasso -Guernica
Guernica by Pablo Picasso. 1937. Oil on canvas.

Obviously I have the utmost respect for Boris, but beyond that, I believe, I BELIEVE,  I BELIEVE that artists and makers can send a message with their work. Indeed, some of the most famous artworks of history resonate with political and social messages.

 


Imagine-Peace-Now-logoIn this post, Boris Bally shares his experience putting together a show with a theme about gun violence.
It is always enlightening to hear from the voice of experience. Boris enlightens all of us about the challenges of an invitational and juried show, the lessons learned from organizing an exhibition, finding exhibition locations, and mistakes made along the way.

Putting together a show is in itself a noble effort and a time intensive commitment powered by passion. Now Boris is trying to raise funds through Kickstarter for a print catalog for the show.  A Kickstarter campaign is kind of like a Sisyphus challenge -- it seems endless and always requiring more effort.  There are many successfully funded projects, but it requires a great deal of support. Boris tells more about this too.

 

Imagine-Peace-Now-pinCan you make a small contribution for the catalog and the influential voice of artists and makers speaking out about a politically hot topic?  A dollar or five dollars may show the power of the arts to speak up about a life threatening issue.  If you can afford it, a larger donation gets a Kickstarter reward (left), but every dollar counts.  

Below my questions are in red bold followed by Boris Bally's responses. Included in this post are a selection of artworks to be exhibited in Imagine, Peace Now.

What have you learned from organizing this show?

Andrew-Hayes
Andrew Hayes

The show organization has lots of detail and complexity. An ongoing challenge has been to insist on following the original rules and guidelines initially set forth -- by treating all artists fairly and equally. Occasionally, this gets put to the test and it is a difficult decision. I am reminded that, by nature, artists don’t pay attention to the basic details: deadlines, artwork constraints and sometimes there is pressure to make exceptions to rules. This show is teaching me to be firm, yet diplomatic.

 

 

 

 

Did the work submitted for the show surprise you?

Hoss-Haley
Hoss Haley

I am surprised by the amazing individuality and talent displayed in these pieces. So many angles -- the various approaches to the theme which is fairly narrow in scope but has so many strong opinions tied to it. However, the broad spectrum of quality astounds me.

Some of the better known artists have submitted what I consider a lazy stab at the topic and devoted little energy (I am withholding names -- it will become apparent when the show is on display). A few of the lesser known artists have given the project 150% and used their full creative arsenal with a lot of thought and energy in their pieces.

I am surprised how many METALsmiths have chosen to keep the gun as a whole, rather than to manipulate or reconfigure the gun’s materials. Certainly a big part of this was the barrier of working with a frighteningly ‘loaded’ (metaphorically) and often unfamiliar object.


Of course you love every entry, but did you hope that people would address one specific issue about gun violence rather than just use the gun parts for adornment or shapes?

April-Wood
Ka-Bloom by April Wood

I definitely do NOT love every entry. However, I was pleased by the range of topical involvement. Even adornment using gun components can make powerful statements with sensitivity, hopefully making people think about guns in a different way.

Surprisingly, no entry glorified guns despite the extreme range in severity of anti-violence statements. I did not want to censure anyone, rather hoping to engage and elicit conversations -- which hopefully lead to involvement and action. The work that spoke to me the most was that which worked off the actual statistics, or the specific gun laws and transformed these into art that helps viewers to comprehend the emotions, the flaws and the sheer magnitude of the issues at stake.

 


How did you find show venues?

Christine-Clark-hanging
Christine Clark

I wrote to many of the venues that hosted my first gun show. Several had changed leadership or were not able to meet a rapid deadline (my initial goal was to get this into a showing before election day). The first venue that signed on, The Society of Arts and Crafts, did so quickly, supportively, and without question. Fabio Fernández and Luiza deCamargo believed in my project given our history of working together in the past. After they signed on, Bob Ebendorf, Barbara McFadden and Gerald Weckesser made a strong case for the show at ECU despite the Director’s initial hesitations. I am so pleased to be able to open the show at the gallery and will be featured during the Materials Symposium where I initially made the big decision to move forward with IMAGINE.

 

What has been the hardest part about starting a Kickstarter Campaign to fund the catalog?
Christine-ClarkIt took at least two months to prepare the incentives (which are required) and to produce the video (very helpful). I interviewed several successful KS campaign candidates for advice. It took lots of planning to lay the groundwork of what I was asking for, how I would ask, becoming familiar with the platform, the incentives, the up-loading process and the rules. The most worrisome component was that KS lists in the rules that weapons are not allowed.

They would not directly answer my questions when I asked them, in advance, if the project to go on. They said, "just apply and you will see if it gets accepted.” That was very nerve racking -- should I put all this into something that they will later not accept?

The amount of mail I receive has been daunting -- SO Much from various PR firms that promise funding help. Also I have been writing non-stop begging folks for support. It is an uncomfortable position to be in, but on the up-side, it does benefit the artists in the show.

What do you think is important about a print catalog as compared to just a digital version? 

Stephen-Yusko
Safe House by Stephen Yusko

Obviously, both have their place. I am old-fashioned in believing that a print catalog circulates in different ways than digital. It ‘sits’ on tables and can be easily browsed without batteries or glare. The essays will provide for some interesting reading that will lay the framework for the show and the publication. A book becomes a collectible, an ‘artifact’ just like the physical works in the show. Books have such a rich history and I believe, still a place in the libraries of our homes / offices. A book becomes a ‘presentation’ of the content -- like an exhibition . . . and a nice way to view an exhibition if you can’t be there in person to get the real time show. But, if we do not get the funding for a print catalog, we will try to get funding to do the downloaded one. (still a big expense)

How did you even estimate the cost of the print catalog?
Stephen-Yusko-side-viewI didn’t want to create a low-end catalog again, after having done this for my first show, ‘Artists of a Different Caliber’ back in ’97. Been there done that. Thought I would see if we can get a major, museum quality book going, to give the show some extra credibility in the high-end art world. I still believe we can do this. Of course, all the artists in the show get a complimentary catalog and also a discount on initial orders of future copies.

 

What is a Kickstarter Campaign financial picture?
The $50,000 estimate for the KS campaign breaks down as follows:

  • $5,000   Kickstarter and Credit card fees lop off about 10% in fees, so now we are down to $45k
  • $13,000 getting high and low actual print costs (based on 2,000 copies @ 100 pages @ 8.5 x 11” with neat binding)
  • Roughly 1,100 catalogs would go to fulfill the donations on KS so we will have leftovers to give artists and to sell at the venues.
  • Our high estimate was $26k - we did have one for $86k but threw that out -- and lowest was $11k.
  • $6,000 our photographer gave us an estimate of $5k- $8k for reshooting the art (depending on the quality of what we receive -- all work -- or any work that needed to be reshot)
  • $3,000 our designer gave us a cost of $3,000 for the whole project, including the logo. This is a steal considering she will also be working with the photographer.
  • $1,000 video honorarium for KS/ advertising
  • $20,000 incentives costs for the campaign range (depending on quantity of pledges) between $15k- $28k. These are for producing the keychains, pins and platters, etc.
  • $2,000 padding-in case I screw up. (minimal payment for my time if I do not)

 
What are your regrets:

Linda-Savineau
Linda Savineau

I wish I had not promised invited entrants would get their work included in the show, despite the jury process/ decisions. There were a few pieces that should not have been included due to major technical issues or minimal effort.

What are your hopes:
After the second venue, we regroup the show into a tighter, more focused grouping culling to perhaps 50 pieces to travel to a variety of venues. At that point, I would welcome new entries to ‘refresh’ the show while distilling the show to its most powerful examples.

To the readers of ASK Harriete, I ask, What is the power of art? Review the Kickstarter Campaign for Imagine Peace Now    It needs 31, 284   $1.00 donations. That is a lot.

But as an alternative, the catalog is fully funding with 6,257  $5.00 donations. That could happen in one day with your help.  

What shocks me is the amount of money the NRA spends on lobbying and political campaigns. According to OpenSecrets, a site that tracks money in politics, the NRA spent $984,152 on campaign contributions during the 2014 election cycle. It also spent more than $3 million on lobbying in both 2013 and 2014. How much do you think the N.R.A.is spending on the upcoming election? 

So can you give the cost of a cup of coffee so the arts can raise it's voice about gun violence?

Harriete 
(P.S. I'd like to add more information about the images but didn't have the title for all the artworks. Please feel welcome to email me with the titles.)

BermanH-checking-cost-gun-violence-full
Checking the Cost of Gun Violence by Harriete Estel Berman

 

 


Should Jewelry Display Include the Artist's Name?

Elephants-room-display3 copy
During a recent visit to Patina Gallery in Sante Fe, I noticed that they did not include labels with the artists' names identifying the makers of the jewelry on display.
 I asked Ivan Barnett (the gallery owner) about this approach. The response was that labels created visual clutter. They wanted the visual impact of the work on display to be about the artistic impression of both the display and the objects themselves.

IMG_20160805_110236343I must admit that their gallery does look very attractive. Each piece of jewelry in a case or on the wall creates a positive impression. The jewelry on display does not feel crowded.  I give them high marks on visual impact unequivocally.

In contrast, another gallery exhibiting jewelry placed labels everywhere with all kinds of information, e.g. names, materials, dimensions,  and prices -- and the overall appearance did look jumbled to horrendous with visual clutter in the displays or on the walls.

Labels or not labels is not a new debate, but I think a few issues come to the fore.

1) Should artist-made jewelry have a label with the artist name in an exhibition or gallery?

2 What is the solution to an attractive label?  

3) As a jewelry artist, would you express your opinion to the gallery or exhibition that displays your work? 

4) What is the value of discussing this issue? 

Let's look at the first question:
Should artist-made jewelry have a label with the artist's name?

I started to think about it like this. ...

Can you imagine going to a museum or gallery for other media and not seeing the artists' names with the artwork on display?   I can not recall ever seeing an exception. 

How about at an airport showing public art? Don't they always include the artist's name? Of course they do. Usually with just a couple of seconds to look around, there is always a placard or label. 

Did you ever go to a ceramics, glass or sculpture show and not see the artist's name near the artwork on display?  Never.

Is there any other art form in which the artist's name is considered optional?   At a minimum, artwork of any medium and the maker are identified with a label.  It establishes credibility for both the exhibition and the artists in the show.  

Further irony is that there are even brand name commercial jewelry brands commanding higher prices and better sales because they are associated with an individual's name. Examples like Paloma Picasso or David Yurman sell their boring jewelry with a name attached.

However. . . 

The visual and aesthetic impact of an exhibition must be part of the equation.    Seeing creative, innovative expression can be a magnificent engaging experience for the buyers and community.   Any opportunity to elevate a gallery visit into a sense of wonder should be a goal for everyone. Intrusive labels or poorly placed placards may interfere with that experience.

Let's compare some examples side by side of jewelry on display, with and without labels, before we consider the professional and practical issues.

  IMG_20160805_111604482 IMG_20160805_134847116

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160805_110548834

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewelry-case-without-labels

 

 

IMG_20160805_134932967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

IMG_20160805_110708995

 IMG_20160805_140146031

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160805_134912391

 

 

Boston society of Arts and Crafts

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is clear that the artwork displays best when no distractions interfere with the visual experience.

But it is also essential that the artwork should not be displayed anonymously.

So, question two...
What is the solution to an attractive label?  
How can the artist's name be clearly associated with the artist-made jewelry on display?

How can this be done effectively without visual pollution of labels and the cluttered effect?

Here are some  ideas:

  1. Have one label discretely near but not in or on the jewelry. Ideally the label will be attractive (more attractive than a white piece of printer paper).
  2. Keep the label below the display so that it can be found if desired but does not obstruct or is not included in the field of vision of the artwork.
  3. Provide a printed handout or gallery guide with small images of the jewelry.
  4. Use a small number in the display that corresponds to either a label to the side or the printed handout.

Can any readers of this post offer other suggestion or ideas? 

 What are your solutions or ideas?

 The third issue is....
As a jewelry artist, should you express your opinion to the gallery or exhibition that displays your work?
Did you ever ask the gallery that shows your work if they display your name? Do you think that the artist maker has a voice in this issue?

Question four is... 
 What is the value of discussing this issue?
 The reason for this discussion is that it is time that artists and makers take responsibility and advocate for their work and how their work is displayed.  Surely, galleries and exhibitions are opportunities, but makers of artist-made jewelry should not simply remain quiet and anonymous.

What is your position? Do you have any power?

Next post: Should labels have any information other than the artist's name? How much information is TMI?

Harriete

P.S. I recognize the irony of not labeling all of these images with the artist's name and will try to create a key for this post identifying all the work in these images. 
IMG_20160805_134847116


Necklace by Helen Shirk
Steel with enamel

 

 


IMG_20160805_134932967
Necklaces by Arlene Fisch
Crochet wire

 

IMG_20160805_140146031(Center) Necklace and jewelry by Mike and Maaike  - "Stolen Jewels" Digital printing on leather
(Front Center) Marjorie Simon  - Enamel rings
(Left edge) Rebecca Laskin  - Bracelets dyed 3-d printing
(Right edge) Rachelle Thiewes - Painted bracelets

IMG_20160805_134912391
Necklace and cuffs by Arlene Fisch Crochet Wire 

 


Boston society of Arts and Crafts
Exhibition at the Society of Arts and Crafts
Bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman


Jewelry Display and the Elephant in the Room

Recently, I viewed jewelry on display at multiple galleries all in one day.  Seeing so much jewelry in a short time allowed me to compare and contrast the quality and effectiveness of different display approaches.  

Jewelry window at Patina Gallery, Sante FeSome jewelry displays were elegant and inspired, while others were horrendous and highly questionable.  Trying to understand the cause of such disparities seemed to be a good subject for several posts and possibly an informative debate.



BAD-booth-displayTo add to the display confusion
 the various individuals responsible for the different display approaches (shown in this post) each considered themselves experts with years of experience.  How would one know they had jewelry display expertise?  They said so.   



Elephant-Room-jewelry-displayThe inconsistencies of the jewelry displays remind me of the ancient Indian tale of the blind men describing an elephant.
 Each man touching a different part of the elephant confidently extrapolated their vision of what the whole elephant must look like.  But their stories varied enormously, as you can imagine.  Ultimately, "When a sighted man walks by and sees the entire elephant all at once, the blind men also learn that while one's own experience is true, it may not be the totality of truth."

The elephant in the room -- or more specifically the "elephant" in this post -- is the lack of standards for quality jewelry display.

Putting all good intentions aside, there are some pretty clear display standards that merit universal implementation for the display of artist made jewelry.

 

SPACE applies to jewelry everywhere! 

IMG_20160805_113332519Space defines value. 
Crowded jewelry displays scream lesser quality, lesser importance.   The more space around an object the more important it becomes. In the first photos, you see a crowded jewelry display photographed on the street. The attempt to squeeze in as much jewelry as possible diminishes the perceived value of the jewelry. The visual clutter reflected in the store window seems like an apt metaphor for the visual clutter of the merchandise. 

IMG_20160805_112501036When a jewelry display has too many items (whether in a case or on the wall) the message of value or uniqueness has been diminished. For example, laying bracelets on top of each other or squeezing as much work into a case is reducing the perception of value. 


Museum-Art-DesingCompare the previous examples to how  jewelry is displayed in a top quality museum
where there may be 12" or more between objects. One piece of jewelry may even be allowed to occupy the entire case or placed on a pedestal by itself.  


Space is a valuable resource.
Space costs money. It doesn't matter whether it is a craft show booth or gallery or a museum.  Space is a luxury. Space needs to be a physical and metaphorical component of effective display.


Space in retail context is a definition of value.
 We see this all the time. The space principle is applied to items in retail stores of all kinds. Discount stores crowd their racks with merchandise. Top quality stores place an object on a shelf away from other distractions. When you are selling, you are selling more than just merchandise. You are selling a perception of value.

 

Apply this principle to your display whether at a craft show or gallery exhibition.   You want the work to look like it is worth buying.

 

Two more essential display attributes: 

IMG_20160805_135218270Consistency in display props. 
Ask Harriete has featured this topic on numerous occasions. Inconsistent display materials create an unattractive and distracting display.  In the photo (left) there are two different commercial neck forms covered in brown textured linen, a clear Plexiglas support, black linen fabric, and a business card holder used as a prop. The wood framed case is awkwardly perched on top of a painted grey pedestal - not a good combination.

 

 

commercial display and inconsistent display materials never work togetherMore awkward combinations (left)  include a wood frame case with brown linen commercial neck form on a grey painted cube. Add Plexiglas props and white paper labels. It doesn't work.

Adding business cards in the middle of a display may provide contact information but they are unnecessary distractions from the work whether this is a million dollar gallery or a craft show booth.  It looks bad.  Keeping focus entirely on the jewelry is essential for quality jewelry display.   




bracelets should never be exhibited on commercial propsAvoid commercial display props. 
Commercial display props should not be used for artist made, hand crafted, handmade, or art jewelry. Purchased display props send the commercial jewelry message. No amputated fingers, collars, necks, or bracelet posts, ever. 


purchased display props look terrible and should never be used for artist made jewelryYour clients easily sense the difference between retail commercial  jewelry and art jewelry. 
Though I've heard some defense of commercial props after my previous post regarding "Purchased Racks and Props", it is my experienced opinion that purchased display props should be avoided.  Ordering commercial displays may be a convenient time saver, but I am not convinced that they are worth the loss of perceived care and uniqueness.  Display props are often necessary for jewelry display, but you have to make them. 

More posts are coming, and the line of "elephants" is way too long. Stay tuned for a circus of jewelry display issues that you won't want to miss. 

Harriete

P.S. Most of these photos are not great. I don't want the jewelry recognized as victims of the display sins. All photos taken inside a gallery were taken with permission. 

 

RELATED POSTS:

WANTED Better Display - Offender #3 TOO MUCH STUFF On Display

 

WANTED Better Display - Offender #4 Purchased Racks & Props

 

WANTED Better Display - Offender # 5 Inconsistent Display Materials

 

WANTED Better Display - Offender # 6 Pathetic Aesthetic

 Key: 
Museum-Art-DesingImage taken by Phil Renato at the Museum of Art & Design, NY
Jewelry by Harriete Estel Berman (Yellow Ruffle Bracelet) and Peter Chang (bracelet shown at the bottom of the photo.)

 


An Exuberance of Color in Studio Jewelry

Three bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman
This week I'm flying to Santa Fe, NM for an opening of an exhibition at Tansey Contemporary  curated by Gail Brown. I am honored to have my work included in the show which is titled: An Exuberance of Color in Studio Jewelry.

The catalog is available online.  It is very well done and filled with exceptional work.

Catalog-Exuberance-color-Berman-Tansey

Participating jewelers include Julia Barello; Harriete Estel Berman, Jessica Calderwood; emiko oye; Arline Fisch; Donald Friedlich; Rebekah Laskin; Karen Massaro; Bruce Metcalf; Mike Simonian; Marjorie Schick; Joyce Scott; Barbara Seidenath; Helen Shirk; Marjorie Simon; Rachelle Thiewes; Linda Threadgill; Cynthia Toops; Dan Adams; Roberta & Dave Williamson; and Amy Lemaire.

Harriete Berman bracelet from recycled tin cans as a commentary about our consumer

Each jeweler is featured in the catalog. If you have the opportunity to see the show in person, I believe it will be worth your time. 

 

Do I go to many openings?

The time and effort to travel for an opening is not an easy option. I typically prefer to save money, keep expenses low, and stay home to work, but this invitation from Gail Brown to participate in this exhibition represents a long relationship of generous patronage. Going to Sante Fe is an adventure. 

After the show, I am taking two days off with my husband for a cultural history trip to Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico. Originally this was supposed to be just for an kind archaeological adventure, but it seems that this area was recently designated as a 'dark-sky preserve' so I have (sucked in my breath and) committed to camping under the stars. 

Will I see you in Santa Fe?  The opening is Friday evening, August 5.  

Harriete


BermanH.Metallic -Gold-linear-UPC Berman- Harriete-bracelet-triangule-color

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Profit and Lost from Seth Godin 

Exhibition Opportunities For Finished Work? How to Find Them.



 


Never say, "Gosh ...I could have gotten into that." Guidance to Improve Juried Opportunities

Page-under-construction-orangeround36As mentioned on the previous post, I am reconstructing an entirely new website. As a result I am reminded of all the useful content in the Professional Guidelines and in the ASK Harriete archives that may improve your success when submitting your work to a juried exhibition, show, book or magazine.

Even the smallest adjustment to your submission may make the difference between success and less than optimal outcomes. I've seem this over and over. Recently I was asked to select the award winning work for a juried exhibition. The $500 first price was a very generous award to stimulate entries. There were great 2nd and 3rd place awards as well, but the reality was that there not as many submissions as expected. What a missed opportunity for many, and a optimal opportunity for others!  

Never say, "Gosh ...I could have gotten into that." Try for every competition that fits your work using this information to improve your chances for success.

Professional-guidelines-juried-exhibitions-800

Juried Opportunities from the Professional Guidelines

 

CuratorMETROPOLITANWhat Is the Difference Between Curated and Juried?

 

 

 

Jenny-Fillius-well-doneCONTINUITY and CONSISTENCY, Photos Should Demonstrate Clear Focus

 

 

 

 

 

Zapp
Zapplication: Behind the scenes by Craig Nutt


 

 

Opportunity-VS-Vanity-Scams
Opportunity vs. Vanity Scams


 

 

 

Lora-Hart-pendant
Photo Comparisons and Descriptions - Now Optimize Your Submission



Put lady luck on your side with a well planned entry.

Harriete

 


3 Tips - New Website, New Domain, Retaining Page Rank

3-tips-website-domain-page-rank
The Internet is making a pivot to mobile viewing.
 Experts declare "We're now past the mobile Tipping Point" changing from desktop to laptop, mobile, and tablets. In the four years since I got my first smart phone the suggestions I considered as "optional" for mobile design have become website essentials. Google anticipated this pivot to mobile over a year ago. In April 2015, Google threatened to reduce the visibility of your website or blog in search results if it is not "mobile-friendly." 

Website-not-mobile-friendlyThe day came and went.  My website wasn't ready.  It didn't matter that my old website showed up on phones or tablets,  it did not fit the Google definition of mobile friendly.

What does mobile friendly mean? How can you tell if your website fits that restricted definition by Google?  Here is one simple test.

Just try to grab the right side edge of your website (on your computer screen) and pull in the width of the page. As you can see in the image (left) the content on the right side of my website doesn't show anymore. The viewing window is smaller and obscures half my content.  

If your website layout doesn't change, move, or realign to the narrower width of a phone or tablet...your website is not mobile friendly.



SquareSpace-responsive-designThe current goal in websites is a responsive web design. This means the same website works for all platforms. With adaptive web design layout, the content should automatically reformat to be tailored for any desktop, tablet or smartphone screen dimensions. SquareSpace templates work for all platforms and came highly recommended.

Now I am taking the huge step in creating two, yes two whole new websites. One website is for my silver repair business and the other for my artwork. For the past two months the intensive effort uses every free moment. New domains, new platform, new design, and completely new website. This has not been easy.


Harriete-Estel-Berman-websiteMy old website was custom made for me.
It was not a template. I the unique aspects, but the problem was that I did not have the skill to update the code. 

With sad heart I finally had to acquiesce to a template -  the only way to go for a small business. At least the code is updated regularly to comply with current and frequently changing internet standards. 

To get this job done within a reasonable amount of time, I hired a graphic design student from the local community college as a paid summer intern. She has been gaining great experience each week working at home and at my house so we can discuss problems and solutions at a moment's notice.

Berman-Fine-SilverworkAs the first goal while learning SquareSpace,
we constructed a new website for my silver repair business "Berman Fine Silverwork."  Purchasing a new domain name allowed the transition from the old website to new pages to be swift and painless.  

TIP #1. Keep URLs as short as possible.
A new domain name for "Berman Fine Silverwork" shortened the URL. 


TIP #2. Create a website that functions on phones, tablets and computers. 
SquareSpace is designed to function on all platforms.  During the construction you can double check how it looks on each device. 

TIP #3.
Create a "301 redirect" for each page of the old website to the new site.  My silver business is a relatively small website so with a few 301 redirects all the pages (and page rankings) were moved over to my new website. In less than 24 hours I was getting inquires for silver repair jobs.

301 redirects are permanent. The closest analogy is like a change of address card that you would use at the post office for snail mail. A 301 redirect tells browsers to go to a different URL when someone clicks a link to a nonexistent page. The purpose is to tell search engines that a page has moved.  It also automatically transfers the old website page rank to the new page. 

Moving page ranks to your new web pages is essential when creating a new site.  If you don't do a 301 redirect from your old site to your new website....the years of history, internet activity, and even the links (from other people and websites) to the old website are lost forever. A 301 is easy to do and moves the established credibility from the old site to the new one.  

Ideally, create a 301 redirect from each page of the old site to the corresponding page on the new site. Do not just create one 301 redirect from the old website to the new home page. That is truly missing the point of a 301. You want to retain the old page rank from each page when creating the respective new website page. Each page of the old website should ideally link to a corresponding page on your new website. 

My future work is creating an Excel spread sheet listing every page of my old website anticipating the corresponding 301 redirects to my new website pages. In the meantime.....I will share my web design experience.

More information in future posts may help guide your new website construction.

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Vision of the Artist, Vision of the Photographer

-LOGO_footerIn February, Boris Bally invited me to participate in an exhibition about "changing society's views about the dangers of handguns."  The show title is "IMAGINE (Innovative Merger of Art & Guns to Inspire New Expressions) Peace Now!" Each artist was given a disabled hand gun (randomly chosen and mailed to the participating artists) to use as part of the artwork. 

When my gun arrived, it was the first time I ever touched a gun.

IMG_20160402_130414722

The gun was from a "gun buy back" program. You can't see the damage to the gun in the above photo. Harriete, ever the perfectionist, actually spent a lot of time improving the appearance of the gun.

The problem was that the artwork had to be finished and photographed by June 30. That is not much time by Harriete standards. I had no idea what I was going to make until.... 

...until I saw this check writing machine at a yard sale.

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I knew immediately what could be done!
The illustration below was drawn by my daughter, Aryn Shelander as we discussed the piece. As I recall the blood was her brainstorm which was a terrific idea as I wanted to give the final artwork more graphic impact.

IMG_20160403_152504117

The title of the artwork is "Checking the Cost of Gun Violence."  I knew the title from the very beginning.

After countless hours of research I found the statistics that would go with the work. The lettering from recycled tin cans had to be red as if written in blood.

The barrel of the gun was attached to the handle. Much to my surprise this was the easiest part of the assembly. It was as if the gun was made for the artwork.

IMG_20160531_181024366

The pool of "blood" and new red face plates for the gun handle were created from recycled tin cans.

To get to this point required intense weeks of work. Above is an early test shot in the studio.  I try to take a few test shots during fabrication to make sure that my artistic vision of the artwork is going to work in the photo. 

Next I added blood red paint to match the blood red metal. 

IMG_20160602_183050851

Drips were hard to create.  Not sure how long they will last.

IMG_20160602_183046413

Another test shot below. Now I need spent bullet casings (technically referred to as shells.)

IMG_20160402_130412445

Getting the shell casings from bullets required a couple of trips to local shooting ranges. I wanted used shell casings as that seemed more symbollic. 

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It was really exciting that the folks at Jackson Arms shooting range gave me a generous amount so I could pick through them.

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Another test shot.  Test shots also help to show the photographer my vision for the finished photograph. Above is the "quickie shot" with my phone. 

Below, my photographer, Philip Cohen, provides photos of the finished sculpture with all his professional skill, superior camera, lights and action.   

Checking-cost-gun-violence-full

Various close-up images are shown below. Philip Cohen always gives me a wide selection of close-ups and I pick from the preview images (shown in this post.)  


Checking-cost-gun-violence-day

I pay for each shot....and can only use three images for this exhibition entry....so I choose carefully.

32, 514 people including children are killed each year.

 Checking-cost-gun-violence-front

Statistics on the front are actual gun statistics from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
"EACH DAY"  there are 31 Murders, 55 Suicides, 2 Accidental Deaths, 1 Death by Police Action, 210 Injured, and costs $627 Million in  America.  Each DAY!  

Checking-cost-gun-violence-america

The 89 shell casings represent the average number of deaths each day in America involving guns.

Checking-cost-gun-violence-close-up

I hope you found this interesting to see the progression from vision of the artist to the professional quality images from Philip Cohen.

Checking-cost-gun-violence-gun

Feel welcome to offer your opinion about your favorite images. I can only submit three images to the exhibition.

Harriete

P.S. More news about the traveling exhibition, future exhibition venues, and the catalog in future posts. I understand that Boris Bally is looking for exhibition venues. There will be a Kickstarter Campaign for the catalog.


Someday I Want to Be Paid As Much As An Electrician

IMG_20160527_172337315
In an eloquent comment on ASK Harriete  John Rose says,

 "Demonizing workshop sponsors is fun and in some cases deserved, but in reality workshops are business partnerships between instructors and venues. They need each other. Instructors need an equipped, safe and maintained facility to teach in. Without qualified instructors the venues are just very expensive empty rooms."

"Both sides of this equation have expenses. You have quite rightly pointed out the hidden costs of the instructor. Building and maintaining a facility that will support metals workshops [any media really] requires no small amount of capital for real estate, equipment, insurance and staff to run it (just to name of few expenses).

The real issue facing us all is how to determine a fair price that students can afford/willing to pay..."


Harriete continues: I also heard a similar comment in some of the Facebook discussions. It isn't that I disagree or don't recognize the expenses of managing a facility.  There is no intention at finding the workshop sponsor solely responsible for the lowly pay for the Craft Master Workshop Instructor. The issues are multi-faceted and numerous.   So let's look at some of those expenses for running a workshop for some insights. 

The workshop sponsor pays the electrician, plumber, custodial fees, insurance, workman's comp, utilities, rent/mortgage, etc., all at the going rate. They don't negotiate and offer to pay a lower rate to the electrician because he/she loves the job or should love craft.   

The workshop sponsor contracts for graphic design, advertising, and promotions. How else can people find out about their remarkable programs?  They get a quote and pay the amount. The sponsor doesn't expect to get a discount or pay an especially lower fee because the graphic designer loves their program or supports the crafts.

Some workshop retreats offer food and housing.  Does the cook cook food for a reduced wage because they love craft? Did the organic farmer charge less for their premium quality vegetables because they love craft?  

So ....what is happening?

Actually I am not blaming the workshop sponsor.   I am blaming "us" -- the art and craft instructors for giving away our talents at discount prices.  The practice has become embedded into the culture.  The workshop sponsors have come to assume that the easiest negotiable expense is the workshop teacher.

The workshop sponsor is indeed running a business and has found a bargain deal in the person that is supposed to love craft more than money...the Craft Master.  Then offers the Craft Master the same wage from 30 years ago because they don't possibly expect more. After all, they really, really love craft and want to support the school, the participants, and the community.  

Hey, someday I just want to be paid as much as an electrician.

Harriete

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