Previous month:
October 2011
Next month:
December 2011

November 2011

"The essence of success" by Sienna Patti.

Sienna Patti of Sienna Gallery offered her "essence of success" during the Forging Communities Symposium. She challenged everyone in the audience to reach further with a vision larger than the day before. Her lecture was emotionally charged and visibly heartfelt.

Sienna Patti said, "You are not asking enough of yourself and we, the others, are not asking enough of you."

Her words were inspirational. 

Below is an excerpt of her lecture from the "What Does Success Look Like?" panel. Thank you to Sienna Patti for allowing me to use her words on ASK Harriete.
                   ______________________________


Growing up, one of my family’s closest friends was Eric Carle.

Eric Carle as himself

I spent hours every week making colorful collages from the papers on his desk. It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood his impact beyond my life. 

He had created one of the world’s most famous children’s books and was a beloved author, hugged tightly by blushing librarians everywhere. Millions of children recite his words in school, mimic his artwork, fall asleep at night listening to his words, even grown women use his books as inspirational examples. Eric Carle himself is an actual certified national treasure.

Mr Rogers and Eric Carle

He has a picture  in his home office of himself and Mr. Rogers working on late night crafty projects. Life is great. All is right in the world.

One day I stopped in to visit Eric in his studio only to have him tell me to wait downstairs, that he wanted to go for a ride. I have NEVER cleaned my car faster.  After all, he is a famous master of his craft, or at least, some people think so  and here he is, reduced to riding around in my Ford Topaz.

He got in the car and we were off. His eponymous museum, the first museum of picture book art in the country, was just being built a few miles away. We would go there, he had to get out of his studio. He said he was depressed. He couldn’t get any work done. He had been feeling this way for months. He didn't like his last book. Maybe he would make a different kind next. Maybe one in black and white.

I was sort of horrified, it felt too personal and he was, after all, a grown up (I was still young enough then to think that this sort of stuff went away when you “got it all figured out.” ) He sighed. It would pass, it just sucked. At 80 years old, he trusted his ability to get to the next good place. And he would. But this very difficult part still happened, even after 60 years of work.

This, to me, seems to be the success part - the getting up and moving onwards and upwards.

and the essence of success seems to be in the process, the living and continuing, the space in between.

Caterpillar larvae hatch and then generally stick together for most of their development. There are significant benefits to synchronizing such activities in terms of growth rate and overall survival.

But how does such a large group ‘decide’ when to forage or become active?  Synchronization is imperative in order to maintain the integrity of the entire group; however, initiation of such events often depends on the actions of individuals.

In some group-living organisms it has been demonstrated that ‘key’ individuals are more likely to assume a leadership role.  Research on schooling fish, zebra finches and baboons has demonstrated that certain ‘bold’ or ‘dominant’ individuals, the largest, the loudest, are most often the ones to initiate a group level activity. 

In other kinds of group living, organisms exhibit ‘spontaneous’ or ‘temporary’ leaders depending on the energetic status of individuals. Hungry individuals above all others have been demonstrated to initiate bouts of movement and foraging in a diverse array of organisms from meerkats to fish. Members of the group follow along because there are significant costs to being left behind. 

Group activities become synchronized through social facilitation – the individuals following simply match their behaviors to those of others in the group. This is true for caterpillars, their movement is initiated by the individuals with the greatest energetic need –  the VERY HUNGRIEST CATERPILLARS. 

Are you hungry? Along the lines of "show me the money" this is not a new idea and has been part of our vocabulary for a long time. A friend of mine was once fired for specifically not being "hungry enough". We often describe desire as a "thirst".

What you want or are hungry for will change. At different periods of your life, elements of success will be defined differently. Success is the constant pursuit of your vision even and especially when you fail or others around you slow down.

Be ambitious. There is hope in this! As Emily Dickinson writes, “Finite to fail, but infinite to venture.” 

And certainly the answer you find today may not work tomorrow.  Success is a journey and has multiple peaks, not one ultimate pinnacle. The joy in the Boston Red Sox win was about the journey - this is what makes it so great. It is a constant pursuit, the constant exploration, the desire to take risks and the willingness to crap it all up and begin again. And again. And again.

The hope, of course, is that sometimes this will happen.  But it might not… hmmm… but it could!

What are we afraid of? I want to see more of you reaching further, being ATHLETIC with your work. Failing bigger. Waking up each day, hungrier to pursue your vision and that your vision be larger than the day before. 

There is a malaise in this field. You are not asking enough of yourself and we, the others, are not asking enough of you.  I am specifically speaking to the artists here: be hungrier, find your ambition.

Challenge yourself to make stronger, smarter work. 

Raise your standards or at least redefine them. Don't compare yourself and your achievements to the artist sitting next to you or standing up here but instead to Michelangelo or Kahlo or Duchamp. To the work you made the day before.

There are many excuses- I hear them all them all the time, and while I understand, I don't care. I don't mean this in a callous way - I need understanding too. But none of that has anything to do with your work, after all isn't success always sweeter when coupled with insurmountable odds?

In the end the only real limits are the ones we make ourselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson “To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation.  This is to have succeeded.”

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will. – Vince Lombardi”

Sienna Patti  lecture used a quote from Vince Lombardia9


Sienna Name Pin by Harriete Estel Berman


The difference between a goal and a wish?

"I just want to clearly state what a goal for success actually is, because I think there’s a big problem people have with understanding: I think there’s a difference between a goal and a wish."*

Powerful words from Brigitte Martin, a speaker with the "success panel" during Forging Communities Symposium.

Brigitte Martin's frank lecture about success was inspiring.  I'd like to share a nugget here on ASK Harriete. Brigitte Martin is an organizer, mentor and leader of Crafthaus. During her 10-minute PowerPoint presentation Brigitte asked us: "What’s the meaning of success?"

She continued....
A common problem people have is understanding that there is a difference between a “goal” and a “wish.”

BrigitteMartin1 goals vs wishes

Let’s look at some of the answers artists give when asked what “success“ means to them, or in other words what they want from their lives. Most of them will tell you that they want:

  • to be happier,
  • to have a better job,
  • to have more money,
  • to have less worries,
  • to loose a few pounds,
  • to be as successful as so and so - generally speaking.

Please note that all these are general wishes that many people have. But if you look at them closely, you will see that these are NOT goals which would help you to be successful.

BrigitteMartin2 wishes

So what then is a goal?

Quite simply put:
A goal means “to have specific strategies and MEASURABLE objectives.”

BrigitteMartin3 goal

Now I know, this sounds so uninspired, so boring, so accountant-like, so not artistic. But bear with me for a minute and let me make clear what measurable goals are and you will see how they can apply to your work and lead to a certain measure of success.
In the business world the saying goes: “If you can’t measure it, you don’t know what you have.”

BrigitteMartin4 business

There are four things everyone can measure:

  • quantity
  • quality
  • cost (on or off budget)
  • timeliness/ deadline

To give you a very simple example, setting a clear and measurable goal for success would be:
“By December 31st, I will have photographed all of my artwork that I created this year.”

Not only is this a very practical and useful goal (after all we know from the most recent Professional Development Seminar**  that having good photography is absolutely essential) but by putting yourself under a deadline you create a measurable goal (in this case “timeliness/deadline”).

Measuring Cup of Success by Harriete Estel Berman

Obviously, all kinds of goals can be created regarding quantity, quality, cost and deadline.
When Dec. 31 rolls around and you look at your photos you will realize that you have indeed photographed everything. You then know that you have achieved this particular goal of yours, and the beauty of this one is that it will continue to help you being successful because you now have these images at the ready and can send them out to promote yourself at any time.

Here are some other examples of practical goals that everyone can set.  Look at your work as if you were actually running it as a “business.”

Create deadlines for yourself to do the following:

  • get serious about bookkeeping, record keeping,
  • get serious about your time management (don’t hang out on the internet all day),
  • get serious about your photography,
  • get serious about your marketing efforts (print and online),
  • get serious about your gallery relationships,
  • get very serious about the quality of your artwork.


Goal setting works wonderfully as a measure of success because it helps you stay focused in your daily life.

Setting a goal will lead you and direct you toward the place you want to end up.

Write your goals down and keep them handy at your desk or workplace where you can see them every day as a constant reminder.

 ____________________________________________

Thank you to Brigitte Martin for sharing sage words of advice.
*Phrase taken from the impressive Tumblr notes by Tara Brannigan about the "What is Success?" panel here.

Brigitte knows what she is talking about. Prior to starting Crafthaus she ran two galleries. If you haven't visited Crafthaus, this is a social network for artists and makers in all media. There are online exhibitions, public discussions, blogs and portfolios of artwork on each profile. All images are approved or disallowed by Brigitte's discerning eye to keep quality high.  Join Crafthaus to participate with this community.

BrigitteMartin
Photographer: Nerds behind the Lens, Pittsburgh, PA

**The Professional Development Seminar is organized each year by Harriete Estel Berman, Andy Cooperman, and Brigitte Martin for the annual SNAG Conference. This is open to the public for a $40 fee payable at the door. This year the PDS will be held in Phoenix, AZ on May 26, 2012.

Notes: The first four images were taken directly from Brigitte Martin's PowerPoint courtesy of Brigitte Martin.

The Measure of Success measuring cup was my image.

 

What’s the meaning of success?

A common problem people have is understanding that there is a difference between a “goal” and a “wish.” Let’s look at some of the answers artists give when asked what “success“ means to them, or in other words what they want from their lives. Most of them will tell you that they want:

to be happier,

to have a better job,

to have more money,

to have less worries,

to loose a few pounds,

to be as successful as so and so - generally speaking.

Please note that all these are general wishes that many people have. But if you look at them closely, you will see that these are NOT goals which help you to be successful. So what then is a goal? Quite simply put:

A goal means “to have specific strategies and MEASURABLE objectives.”

 

Now I know, this sounds so uninspired, so boring, so accountant-like, so not artistic. But   bear with me for a minute and let me make clear what measurable goals are and you will see how they can apply to your work and lead to a certain measure of success.

In the business world the saying goes: “If you can’t measure it, you don’t know what you have.” There are 4 things everyone can measure:

-   quantity

-   quality

-   cost (on or off budget)

-   timeliness/ deadline

To give you a very simple example, setting yourself a clear and measurable goal for success would be:

“By December 31st, I will have photographed all of my artwork that I created this year.”

Not only is this a very practical and useful goal (after all we know from the most recent PDS that having good photography is absolutely essential) but by putting yourself under a deadline you create a measurable goal (in this case “timeliness/deadline”). --Obviously, all kind of goals can be created regarding quantity, quality, cost and deadline.

When Dec. 31 rolls around and you look at your photos you will realize that you have indeed photographed everything. You then know that you have achieved this particular goal of yours, and the beauty of this one is that it will continue to help you being successful because you now have these images at the ready and can send them out to promote yourself at any time.

Here are some other examples of practical goals that everyone can set:

Look at your work as if you were actually running it as a “business.” Create deadlines for yourself to do the following:

get serious about book keeping, record keeping,

get serious about your time management (don’t hang out on the internet all day),

get serious about your photography,

get serious about your marketing efforts (print and online),

get serious about your gallery relationships,

get very serious about the quality of your artwork.

 

Goal setting works wonderfully as a measure of success because it helps you stay focused in your daily life. Setting a goal will lead you and direct you toward the place you want to end up. Write your goals down and keep them handy at your desk or workplace where you can see them every day as a constant reminder.


No Insurance at an Exhibition....What Shall I Do?

A true story. 
I saw an announcement for an upcoming show with a great title at a very nice museum.

It sounds like a great opportunity -- until I read..."Please note that while the exhibition space is secure, the museum will not be providing insurance.  Return shipping costs must be covered by the artist..."

Draw a line in the sand

Huh? No insurance?
Makers and artists are asked to give so much, but to give up even on insurance?  Well, that is my professional line in the sand.

Then....a repeat situation.
Days later, another invitation for a show says, "Please be sure to take a close look at the bottom section of the document as it contains very important information regarding insurance and shipping. Please note that insurance and delivery (both ways) is the responsibility of the artist!"

What?  Again, no insurance, no shipping?

Draw a line in the sand for your principles

I am appalled, dumbfounded, and frankly very concerned. Is this a growing trend? Has insurance, the most basic protection for a participating maker, become optional?

Amateur exhibitions might not have insurance.  Professional exhibitions do. A local club or small group might not have insurance, but a major institutional exhibition should.

Three years ago I responded to a question on ASK Harriete, "What do you recommend if a show has no insurance?"  I said "no," an absolute and unconditional "no".

Draw a line in the sand

A REALITY CHECK:
"Even if there are pedestals with vitrines, the work still has the highest risk of damage during installation of the show and when the show is being taken down."  Thirty plus years of exhibiting my work has demonstrated this fact to me on too many occasions. Theft during the exhibition is another relevant issue.

We all hope that the insurance coverage isn't needed, but it is just this guarantee to the artist that raises professional exhibitions above the lower level venues and events.  Participating artists are assured that their work will be protected with superior handling AND will have a "back up plan" in case of damage.

Sure, artists and makers can buy their own insurance, but insurance from the exhibition sponsor indicates that work will be displayed professionally and demonstrates a motivation for the best handling possible.

The people organizing the show may have the best intentions, but this issue of no insurance is more than an erosion of standards. They are transferring onto the makers all of the risks and responsibilities of unpacking work, set up and exhibiting work, take down and repacking work, and shipping.  Although they will "do their best" -- without insurance, they are abdicating any and all liability and responsibility.  Something will happen.  Then the maker bears all the risk, yet has no control -- except to decline to participate.

Draw a line in the sand again and again


How can any organization that purports to support and advance the professional practices of artists, or makers
endorse an exhibition without insurance?  Where is the education and leadership that demonstrates the hard choices necessary as a community that represents artists and makers at the highest level?

These hard choices start with artist or makers. It starts with you. An individual can demonstrate leadership by refusing to participate in a show that does not measure up to their professional standards. 

Line in the sand with many hands

Draw your own line in the sand.
A polite letter or email stating the reasons why you can not participate in an exhibition or opportunity that does not meet professional standards is taking a stand for advocacy in  your community.

This issue is not about one organization or one show. It is about every show. It is about every opportunity.

There are many resources to help guide every artist, maker, craftperson, crafter, organization or exhibition sponsor.

ASK Harriete regularly offers advice and opinions
about the best professional practices for artists and makers.

The Professional Guidelines offers several documents with information about exhibitions.

Exhibitions: Artist Checklist   This PDF document includes information and questions artists may want to ask the sponsor of any exhibition. Also includes Artist Responsibilities for an exhibition.


Exhibition Contract This document addresses noncommercial exhibitions where the main intent is not the sale of work but rather the showcasing of artwork for the purposes of education, information or public consideration. Included is an overview detailing and explaining each clause of the contract and the multiple options offered.

Consignment Contract This document includes an Introduction, and Overview offering a complete explanation for each clause in the Consignment Contract with possible options for the artist and gallery. This is followed by a complete Consignment Contract that can be used in whole or part by artists and galleries to cover many issues involved in developing a good working relationship.

Juried Exhibitions  This document presents an ideal scenario for organizing a juried exhibition drawn from the collective experience of the Professional Guidelines Committee members. A well-organized exhibition benefits the sponsor, the artists and the craft field at large. These guidelines are primarily intended for the sponsors of a juried exhibition: galleries, museums, schools or other organizations. They are designed to enhance the organization's ability to conduct a successful juried exhibition, and to clearly describe the sponsor’s and the juror’s responsibilities.

Draw a line in the sand for yourself and every artist "No insurance, no show" may seem easy to say, I understand.  Some will argue that a show without insurance is better than no show at all.  And I would agree that a local show where the artist is actively involved changes the scenario.  But a major institution or organization should adhere to and support the best professional practices.

We all lose if we continue to accept declining standards.  It is an issue that every artist, maker and organization needs to address. Participation in shows without insurance endorse sub standard professional practices.

What do you think?  Where would you draw your line in the sand?

Harriete

P.S. This post was inspired by both personal and professional experience. An update is posted on ASK Harriete titled Insurance at an Exhibition - An Update. 


“Lighting Shiny Surfaces for Quality Photographic Images” by Philip Cohen

Contemporary Seder plate by Harriete EStel Berman for TuBishvat.SedWhen taking photos of objects or jewelry with shiny reflective surfaces, catching the right light may seem like a difficult challenge or just a matter of luck.

Shiny surfaces reflect light like a mirror, possibly creating excessive or unwanted highlights.  What is reflected could be anything in the room that surrounds the work.  What can be done to gain control of the lighting?

Good news:  There is a very simple solution for photographing most shiny surfaces: use bounce cards to light the object with soft white light. 

In today's post on ASK Harriete, Philip Cohen takes us through a 16 step example of lighting an object with a shiny reflective surface. For this tutorial, Philip Cohen used a portion of my recent Seder plate for TuBishvat. By following his step by step process using foam core or cardboard covered in foil you can bounce soft radiant light onto your work.

The light source can either be photographic lights or outside on a bright but overcast day. Practice will help you repeat his success. This step by step tutorial was originally presented at Forging Communities.

TuBishvat Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman photographed with harsh sunlight creating blue shadows and dark areas.  On the left is a photograph I took to illustrate the worst possible circumstances for photographing art or craft. Taken outside, the  bright sun produces harsh shadows with a blue cast. Even though I used the camera flash for fill light, the top is still dark, muddy and off color. Overall, the photo has a blue cast which you can see in the background (which was actually white foam core).

Even worse, the gold background of the Seder plate does not have a golden metallic color. The variation in color, pattern and texture from the tin cans is lost with too much contrast from the strong light.

In the next 16 photos, professional photographer Philip Cohen will demonstrate easy steps anyone can duplicate for lighting shiny surfaces. 

The background is white paper available from photographic supply stores. 

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 1. In this photo, my Seder plate is sitting on the seamless white photographic paper background. The darkness of the unlit studio is reflected in the sides of the Seder plate. The piece looks dull.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 2. Looking closely it is easy to see that the golden metallic tin cans look dark.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 3. White foam core in the upper right corner "bounces" reflected light onto the top of the Seder plate.The mirror-like surface on the top of the Seder plate reflects the soft white light from the foam core.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step4. In this photo, the top of the Seder plate is properly lit, but the front of the Seder plate is still dark.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 5. In this photo, another foam core bounce card is added to the left corner. This reflects soft white light onto the front of the Seder plate.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 6. As the bounce card in the front adds light, experimentation and patience may be needed to get just the right result. The next few photos vary slightly as the front bounce card is moved around.

 

TuBishvat Seder plate photographed in tutorial by Philip CohendemoStep 7. In this photo, note how the lighting makes it look like there is a dent in the center front bottom. (There is no dent there, but awkward lighting is making the tin surface look dented and puckered.)

 

 Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.

Step 8. Fine adjustments are needed until the unintended shadows are eliminated and the lighting shows all the patterns in the gold metallic tin. The lighting is soft to avoid brilliant washed out highlights.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 9. Now the lighting on the front is perfect.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 10. Here (in the left lower corner) you can see the front bounce card clamped to a pole which bounces light onto the front of the Seder plate. The bounce card in the upper right bounces light onto the top of the Seder plate. Now we need to bounce some light onto the dark right side of the Seder plate.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 11. Each of the sides is lit one at a time. The reflecting foam core is moved around, in or out, left or right, and with a slight tilt one way or the other. Twisting and turning the bounce card also controls the amount of light until it is just right.
   

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 12. Slight nuances and changes until the lighting is perfect.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 13. Next step is working on the left side. It still looks a little too dark.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 14. Adding light on the left side.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 15. And with a little refinement, just right.

Photographing shiny reflective surfaces by Philip Cohen photography.
Step 16. There are four bounce cards lighting this Seder plate. Top right, far right, bottom left, and a small metallic foil-covered cardboard in the lower left corner.

HB1-Overhead-light-only-overall-view HB15-Left-side-choice-2-Fina- ShotSide by side comparison of Seder plate in Step 1 and Step 16.

The flat sides of this piece are good for this lighting illustration, but the same ideas work for any shape of object or size to be photographed. Just keep trying new angles.

Keep in mind that you need to be looking at your subject from the exact position of the tripod-mounted camera.

 The "money shot" or final shot:

TuBishvat Seder Plate by Harriete EStel Berman photograhed by Philip Coheneite p
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Assiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah
©       2011        Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Contact: Philip Cohen to ask about quality photographic images of your art or craft.
View all the photos that Philip Cohen took of my TuBishvat Seder plate.

ARTIST STATEMENT:

Since 1988, the use of post-consumer recycled materials has been a core premise of my work. This interpretation of the recycling symbol covered in metallic gold tin cans creates a platform for the three types of fruit used during the Tu Bishvat Seder service.

For Assiyah, a pomegranate branch symbolizes the fruit where only the inside is eaten. 

For Yetzirah, an olive branch represents fruits where only the outside is eaten

For Beriyah, a silhouette of figs and fig leaves includes images of apples, pears and grapes, fruits where all parts are eaten.

The center star is a profound symbol of Judaism subtly presented as a radiating light.  Within the concept of tikkun olam and our observance of TuBishvat, we repair the world through our actions. 

MATERIALS:
Post consumer recycled tin cans, 10k gold rivets, sterling silver rivets, aluminum rivets, brass screws, Plexiglas.
HB Seder Plate 2011 with PlexThe Plexiglas tops are designed for functional use of this Seder plate so that fruit or nuts will not be in contact with the tins.

Approximate dimensions: 6” H x 24” W

Harriete


Forging Communities - Information, blogging and notes from An Intimate One Day Symposium for Networking and Information

ForgingCommunitiesTaraBranniganKindofStrangetumblrForging Communities - An Intimate One-Day Symposium was an amazing success. Sponsored by the Metal Arts Guild of San Francisco in honor of it's 60th Anniversary, a whole day of lectures, panels and discussions presented revealing, cohesive and interesting information.

Symposium flyer_1000WEBFor those interested in catching up on the information presented during the symposium, Tara Brannigan typed as fast as 10 fingers can move for the entire day. Her herculean typing efforts offer everyone a stream of information on Tumblr.

 

With this in mind, here is a quick summary of the information and links mentioned during the day.

Metal Rising: The Forming of the Metal Arts Guild, San Francisco, California, 1929-1964 presented by Jennifer Shaifer was followed by a conversation with Imogene Tex Gieling, merry renk, Florence Resnikov (each founding members of MAG). I wish we could have heard more of their entertaining stories. I loved looking at the vintage photos.

Margaret DePatta pendantFYI: There is an upcoming exhibition of jewelry by Margaret DePatta at the Oakland Museum titled, Space-Light-Structure: The Jewelry of Margaret de Patta which will travel extensively around the U.S.

 

 

MerryRenk_PermCollection
Blue Moon sculpture
Artist: merry renk
MAG Permanent Collection

MAG founding member merry renk and Margaret de Patta also have work in an exhibition at the L.A. County Museum of Art titled, "California Design, 1930–1965: "Living in a Modern Way".  I really want to see this show (collecting objects from the 1950's and 1960's are my passion).

 

What does Success Look Like in the Jewelry World? with Sarah Turner, Brigitte Martin, Lola Brooks, Sienna PattiEach presentation covered the topic with a different style and original content. (More about this in another post.) I recommend that you take time to read Tara Brannigan's Tumblr post. Here are four quotes about success borrowed from Tumblr.

For me success also includes audience. I mean thinking partners, collaborators, people with skills that I do not have”

“When I say audience I also mean field. A field with permeable boundaries” “That’s partly why I work in education” “Higher education is not the only platform, there are guilds and fablabs and craftshows and makerfaires, and shops and museums.”
Sarah Turner

 

“I’ve always thought of success as some distant destination that someone might eventually arrive at” ....“I have always been far more interested in the splendor of the journey itself”
Lola Brooks


Aladdin-s-magic-lamp-thumb11169476 “I just want to clearly state what a goal for success actually is, because I think there’s a big problem people have with understanding: I think there’s a difference between a goal and a wish.
Brigitte Martin


“One day I went over to visit [Eric Carle] and he told me to wait downstairs, that we should go out. He got in my car and we were off.  He just had to get out of the studio.  He said he was depressed and needed to get out.  His new book wasn’t going well and he was stressed out.“

Eric Carle the-very-hungry-caterpillar-01“I was totally horrified.  It felt so personal to me.  He was a grown up and I was still young enough to believe that this sort of thing just went away when you got older.”

“And this to me is the essence of success: Getting up and getting on, moving onwards and upwards.”
Sienna Patti

 

 Professional Practices: Conversation, Questions, & Commentary with me, Harriete Estel Berman and Andy Cooperman via Skype. Co-president emiko oye said, “It’s kind of an Oprah moment, we’re Skyped in with Andy Cooperman”.

Unlike a mere mortal on stage, Andy's voice filled the room as if he were an immortal god. The audience asked their questions and participated in the conversation.

My presentation "Lighting Shiny Surfaces for Quality Photographic Images" in 16 steps will be the next post on ASK Harriete.

Here are the RESOURCES mentioned during my presentation:

Maker-faire-2008The Maker Faire Phenomenon – Engaging Community and the Next Generation of Makers with Dale Dougherty (Founder of Make: Magazine and Maker Faire) enthusiastically showed videos of invention, inspiration and creativity. There was also a more serious message about the profound importance of brainstorming and hands on problem solving in education.

GarthJohnsonpaintguncermaic paint The Extreme Craft Roadshow presented by Garth Johnson was full of surprises. Craft that you might have never expected. Garth really went out of his way to show examples of what he considered Extreme Craft at the Oakland Museum. I think that this inclusiveness is part of his key to success. So many curators go around with judgement and a critical eye, whereas Garth goes to the opposite extreme, literally, finding the wacky and extra-ordinary. He left our audience with open eyes to the possibility of the future in craft.

Blogaskharrietegreen


 

 


EcoArts Awards - A Competition Opportunity for Everyone

EcoArtsIf you have ever wanted to promote ecology while expressing your artistic expression, here is an opportunity to weave both together. 

 


All ecology-minded artists, artisans, and makers should submit their works to this upcoming competition.

Eco Arts Awards is calling for entries in 6 creative categories:

  • Fine Art,
  • Photography,
  • Literature,
  • Short Videos, 
  • Songwriting, &
  • Functional Art/Repurposed Materials in Art & Design.


Awards: $1,000 cash for the first place winner in each category.

Final Entry Deadline - midnight, November 30th, 2011

The entry fee per work is $30. Winners will be notified no later than April, 2012.

For more information, visit their website.

RecycledFruitLabel800.72
Recycle (above) is a series of necklaces and bracelets fabricated from post consumer plastic waste.  By taking materials from the waste stream of our consumer society, these pieces transform the mundane into the extra-ordinary.
Recycled Fruit Crate by Harriete Estel Berman about recycled plastic waste.


Recycled Necklace from Recycled Fruit Crate by Harriete Estel Berman about recycled plastic waste

Recycled bracelets from Recycled Fruit Crate by Harriete Estel Berman about recycled plastic waste

 

More information below about the environmental messages behind my work.

These extra-ordinary bracelets also represent a very serious message about the over abundance and waste in our society. Just think about the quantity of trash that we throw away every day.

Most plastics are not bio-degradable or recycled. In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal *points out that only a small percent of PET beverage containers are recycled.  The recycling rate hasn't kept up with the growth of plastic-bottle use over the past 15 years."
 
"Coca Cola is wrestling with low recycling rates, rising prices for used plastic as demand from China has grown, and headaches tied to curbside recycling programs. So low is the supply of recycled, bottle-grade PET that its price is about 10% above that of virgin PET in the U.S., according to Coke and recycling industry executives."
 
"Due in part to the woes at the Spartanburg plant, Coke has about 5% recycled content in its plastic PET bottles today, down from 10% roughly five years ago. PepsiCo Inc. says it has 10% recycled PET content. Both rates pale with recycled content in aluminum beverage cans, which stands at 68%, according to the Aluminum Association."
 
"Not many bottles are recycled in the first place. The U.S. recycling rate for plastic bottles made from PET, typically derived from petroleum, was 28% in 2009, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources. That compares with a recycling rate for PET plastic bottles of nearly 50% in Europe.  In California, which recently strengthened bottle-deposit rules, 68% of PET bottles were recycled last year."
 
Think about all the plastic that is not recycled! The recycling rate for HDPE used for milk bottles, shampoo bottles and similar containers is even lower!    

We contribute to the problem unconsciously in so many ways due to lack of awareness. Tons of plastic are thrown away every day filling our landfills with materials that do not fully decompose but turn into micro particles of plastic. Plastic is contaminating  our oceans, sealife, and water ways. The solutions are not easy. But the issue is acute and most people don’t even know about this problem.

Harriete Estel Berman

 
*Esterl, Mike. "Plastic Bottle Recycling Is In the Dumps", The Wall Street Journal, Friday, August 19, 2011., Marketplace section pages B1-B2.


How To Define Success?

Symposiumflyer_1000WEB The upcoming symposium sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Area Metal Arts Guild has me thinking...

A portion of the programming is titled, "What does Success Look Like in the Jewelry World?" The panel discussion will be lead by Sarah Turner, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Panelists include Lola Brooks (artist, faculty at Rhode Island School of Design), Brigitte Martin (Founder, Chief Editor of Crafthaus), and Sienna Patti (owner of Sienna Gallery).

The conversation continues right after lunch (1:30 p.m California time) with Professional Practices: Conversation, Questions, and Commentary. I am upfront and center stage to  answer questions from the audience. Hopefully, the previous speakers can be included in the "conversation."

TaraBranniganWe will have live Twitter feed by Tara Brannigan, and you can follow along, and even ask a question. No matter where you are.

 

 

The big question remains...How do you define success?

GryoscopeIs the definition of success external or internal? By external, I mean by measures such as the number of books or galleries that represent your work. External might be how much work you sell. Internal is how you feel inside. Do you meet your personal goals?

What do you mean by “Success”?

Is reputation a marker of success?

Is making money a definition of success? Do you have to make money to be successful?

If you sell work at high prices, is that a definition of success?

Is it possible to be a successful artist and never make any money?

Is money the sole definition of success in our society? 

What is the relationship between critical attention and financial success?

Measuring_cupsuccessThese are some really good questions.  If you're like me, perhaps you wrestle with these questions all the time.  All of the advice offered through the Professional Guidelines, ASK Harriete, or the Professional Development Seminar is based on experience and a measure of success.  But each measure of success is only one ingredient. Every recipe for success is going to be different.

I lay awake at night torturing myself. By daylight it  is much easier not to think such stuff and go make something in the studio.

This Saturday, the topics are live and shared for all to consider. I'd love to hear what you have to say. What is your question that if answered would bring you success?

How do you measure success?

Harriete800.72.7567
Harriete Estel Berman working in the studio on new Judaica Seder plate for Tu Bishvat. You can see the entire process of fabrication in a special album on Flickr.

RELATED POST:
What do you mean by “Success”? by Andy Cooperman


Information for Etsy Sellers

 

'ETsypaperbackbookstanding (1)Megan Visser has written her own book for impr ReVAMPing Your Etsy Shop E-Book 73oving your Etsy shop. The information is available at no charge.

She had a number of "Etsy experts" offer their words of advice. I contributed a couple of pages of information about the topic of "overhead." 

You can't go wrong for the time it takes to download this free e-book. 

Download ReVAMPing Your Etsy Shop E-Book

Next week, I am planning to put her words of advice into action in my Etsy shop.

With two children and one on the way, I don't see how Megan Visser does it all.  Check out her Etsy shop.  Meagan Visser also has several videos on YouTube all focused on "newbie" advice for Etsy or social networking.

Harriete


Plan The "Money Shot" Photograph of Your Art or Craft.

As mentioned in the previous post, Use Your Camera As An Impartial Opinion - A Third Eye, that post reviewed ways to get a fresh perspective on your work while the making is in progress. Your digital camera is a quick, easy, and effective tool for impartially looking at your work.

Here is another valuable use of your camera while your work is in progress .... TuBishvat Seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel BermanYiBish

Use your camera to experiment for the final photographic images of your work.

While I am constructing my work, I am also planning the "money shot" or final image after completion.  The "money shot" is what my photographer, Philip Cohen, considers the one superlative image that best captures the essence of the piece; the one image that will be used most often to represent this piece for gallery and exhibition applications and likely be used on postcards, announcements, or in the exhibition catalog.

TuBishvat Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman in progress from a different angle.jV

While you are most intimately engaged with a piece, right from the very beginning, start thinking about and planning this all important image. Think about the angles of your work along with the theme and content. Think about what you want this photo to say. Don't wait until the last minute behind the camera to make this decision.

Pomegranateplexiglastest80072.7592

It is a bit of an eye opener when we think about this: 
More people will see the photographic images of your work
than those who will ever see the work in person

Once you realize this fact, the photographs of your work take on much more significance.  So, think about your money shot in advance.

OLIVEpom72

Artists usually have a mental vision of such an image.  In reality, when a camera lens can only take one image at a time, it can be difficult to predict exactly which angle or shot will come close to capturing that mental expectation.  But a little planning and experimentation will help.       

Figolive72

Take test shots.
As the work nears completion, take test shops to experiment with the best vantage points and angles that capture the most information.

PomFIG72

Where should your camera be to capture the best part of the piece? Where should the viewer's gaze be to emphasize the most interesting aspects? What vantage point captures the theme or concept of the work?

PomOlive72

As an exercise, scroll back to the top of this post and look at the photos of my Seder plate in progress.

The last four photos in this post were all test shots that I took quickly on a Sunday morning. The black background isn't the best for this piece, but a small black art table in the kitchen was the perfect size to set up the Seder plate and walk around taking some quick shots....pick your favorite position and your favorite photo.  Then continue from here to see the final "money shot" below.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? Remember, 90% of the time this image will be the one image that will represent the work. Catalogs, magazines, publicity, postcards,....and more will use this one shot over and over.

Below is the money shot from photographer Philip Cohen.

HB SEDER Plate 2011 San Plex
What do you think? Ideas? Comments?

Harriete

Previous posts related to this topic:

Guidelines and Tips for Working with Photographers - Handout by Doug Yaple from the SNAG Professional Development Seminar

Finding a photographer? Working with your photographer? Getting the shot you want.


COMING UNGLUED: Learn How to Rivet and Screw (without screwing up!) - A Workshop with Harriete Estel Berman

To Be Both A Speaker of Words and a Doer of Deeds by Harriete Estel Berman00
COMING UNGLUED:
Learn How to Rivet and Screw (without screwing up!) 

is full!!!


DATE:
Nove
mber 19th, 2-5pm   fee: $40
Registration is filling up!
Contact SCRAP to sign up for the wait list...
so that you will be notified for the next workshop or subscribe to this blog's feed for ASK Harriete
(in the left column.) Another option, I understand that sometimes people don't show up even though they registered....so maybe if you are at SCRAP at 2:00p.m. you can fill an empty slot.


DevilInsideFRONT72grbkRecently, I've made two pilgrimages to SCRAP, A Source for the Resourceful in San Francisco to set aside interesting materials for our three hour lesson.

Learn how to attach layers of diverse materials together using simple riveting methods and small screws.  Paper, fabric, buttons, cardboard, plastic, metal, charms, and trinkets can all be made into presents or pins.
   
 Words Like Winter Snowflakes2Arrive early to hunt and gather at Scrap. Bring your own mementos to incorporate.  No previous experience needed.

If you are ready for a more advanced lesson, you can learn how to hide the pin stem or brainstorm lots of ideas with examples from up-cycled materials.

So much fun to learn, so little time.

Enroll early! Space is limited and the cost is modest.

SCRAP is a resource for the "artist" in all of us. Check it out!

Harriete

Authentic Iconic Copyright, Trademark and Patent

Authentic Iconic Copyright, Trademark and Patent

 

Collect Your Money Pin by Harriete Estel Berman
Collect Your Money Pin by Harriete Estel Berman

 

Devil Inside Pin holds a condom  for the devil inside
The Devil Inside Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman

 

Pin Words Like Winter Snowflakes172
Pbox1web
Words Like Winter Snowflakes by Harriete Estel Berman

Winning the Race With Time by Harriete Estel Berman Winning the Race With  Time back of pin by Harriete Estel Berman72
Winning the Race with Time Brooch

Learn how to make the back of your pins look great!

 


Use Your Camera As An Impartial Opinion - A Third Eye

I've been working really hard for the last three months on a major piece. The deadline is looming, I can't take a day off to look at my work with a fresh eye. This is a real concern.

TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel Berman
TuBishvat Seder Plate in progress. View every step from the past 2 1/2 months on Flickr.

emiko oye and Aryn  Shelander work on the TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel BermanLeaves7457.72800Sometimes, I am lucky enough to have my husband, children or studio assistant offer their opinions. Thank goodness!

 

An impartial opinion and a fresh set of eyes are absolutely essential.

emiko oye and Aryn Shelander working on the TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel BermanAryncloseleaves72.800.7462
emiko oye and Aryn Shelander working together to fine tune the images in tin.

But all too often, like last night, I am by myself making really important decisions with no one to offer an impartial opinion, a third eye. After hours and hours of working each day, I am running into decision fatigue and can no longer see my work objectively. Does this ever happen to you?

It's a real problem -- the brain compensates by filling in less than perfect information. How can I find out if my next solution is "working" visually? How can an artist see their work with a fresh eye when there is no time to take a break?

TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel Berman TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel Berman

Here's one solution:

USE YOUR CAMERA FOR AN IMPARTIAL OPINION
A few quick photos in the studio can really help you see your work in a new way.


TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel BermanTuBishvat Seder plate without leaves at the top of the apple.

Take out your digital camera and take a few photos.

Upload to your computer and evaluate the images.

Here is an example.  Compare two possibilities.

TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel BermanTuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel Berman

The left image has three leaves on the top of the apple. The right image has one leaf over the top of the apple.  Which do you like better?

The photos can help you see your work in a whole new way. 

Next time you're "stuck" trying to make a decision, take a few photos.  Or, . . . another person I know scans her work on her scanner.  Either way, capture an impartial opinion - a third eye and a fresh perspective on your work.

It really works!

Harriete

Next Post: Planning the best possible photographic images of your work.