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February 2012

IP/Internet Lawyer Opinion About Pinterest Policy

One of the concerns of Pinterest users (beyond a host of other issues like image attribution, and links to original sources) is the fine print under Terms of Use on the Pinterest site.

Riley Noehren, an IP/Internet lawyer and maker, has allowed me to repeat his insight into the fine print of Pinterest, the baffling mumbo jumbo that is hard to decipher or understand.

Below is the opinion of Rily Noehren:
"I'm a Etsy member and an IP/Internet lawyer.  Part of my job is to draft website terms for my clients, and this is a pretty standard provision.  It is necessary for Pinterest to have this license in order to be able to run its website.  You will find similar provisions in the terms
of any website where the user can upload content.  For example, Facebook's terms include the following:

"For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."

"There are a few key limitations to what Pinterest is doing:
1. It is just a license, not an assignment of rights.  You keep the rights to your photos, etc.  Pinterest just has a right to use them in a limited context.
2. The license only extends to things related to the website.
3. The license only covers the content you upload, such as your photos, not the crafts themselves.
4. The license only extends to Pinterest, not other Pinterest users for use off the website.

If you noticed that Facebook's license ends when you delete your account, but Pinterest's is irrevocable, that is because the whole idea of Pinterest is for others to repost your photos.  Again, this is really necessary in order to make Pinterest work.  However, it doesn't hurt to remember before you upload anything that it will be there forever."

"It is important to remember that even if a website is "free," there is still a cost for using it--namely, your agreement to be bound by the terms and privacy policy.  I think if most Etsians were to weigh the costs and risks associated with Pinterest, the balance would still favor using Pinterest because it is an excellent, low or no-cost marketing tool. However, each person needs to make that decision for themselves based on the type of work they do."

Riley Noehren
IP/Internet lawyer

Harriete says:
I agree that it is very difficult to understand the fine print Terms of Use. On every site the terms are written by lawyers paid by the internet site provider to protect the site, not the artists using the site. Ultimately, each person has to decide what is the balance between risk and benefit.


Pinterest Search Results Do Reveal Problems AND Revelations

The last two posts were about Pinterest.

Pinterest - Quick Tips to Become a "Pinner"

Pinterest The Huge Concern

Pinterest2.2012The concern all round by artist and makers is proper attribution of their work.  By attribution I mean name of the artist and possibly a link to their web site.To investigate this problem, I searched for my work on Pinterest.

PINTERST.SEARCHresults

I found my work on Pinterest under searches for "Harriete Estel Berman" and "harriete-estel-berman". Not all images had my name in the description. Most of the images don't even have any description, let alone a full and accurate description. Very few included links to my web site. Pinterest IMAGE FROM FLICKRA lot of the images were from blogs, photo sharing sites such as Flickr, or on line interviews  but most did not link back to my web site or this blog, ASK Harriete.

The impact: visibility for my work, but not necessarily traffic for my web site or blog.

While this doesn't make me happy, I am not sure how it hurts me or my work. It isn't as good as it could be, but there are many other things that could be worse. And there are some serious issues yet to be addressed.

A BIG CONCERN PUBLICLY discussed is the source of the images.

Pinterest  Mezuzah Password Investigating and experimenting, I have made a discovery. If you keep clicking on a Pinterest image it goes back to its original source, maybe.

 

 

  • The first Click goes to the person who last pinned the image.
  • Next CLICK goes to where ever the person found the image.
  • So the source of the image can be discovered after all!  Pinterest ebsite image for Password mezuzah by Harriete Estel Berman

OOPS...the unfortunate aspect is that this doesn't work all the time. Sometimes clicking on an image Pinterest Google Blank search boxgoes back to an empty Google search box with no original source. So I would like to recommend that if you find an image on Google Image Search, try to find an original source for the image. 

Taking the image directly off Google, makes Clicking back to the original source for the image impossible. Or or at least that is what I think is happening since it goes back to a blank Google page with no information, and no links or resources.

another problem:
If people download your image, then upload the pinned image from their computer, there is no source for the image.

What about screen capture an image? Then create an image on their computer to upload. There is no source for that either!

I think an important issue is how we, the arts community will offer a better description and acknowledgement for the images,  with possible photo credit and additional information. We can't complain about others unless we take responsibility for ourselves.

Are you carefully posting  images as a resource for others with complete information?

Are you carefully posting your own work with a complete description including your own name?  That was a real shocker when I realized that including my name in the description was necessary because  people might repin the work. Thus my images could be traveling far from my own pin boards.

Harriete

Stay tuned. I have more information about Pinterest and options.


Pinterest The Huge Concern

Interest in Pinterest is explosive. I heard it is the first social network to reach 10 million visitors a month. There is a lot of analysis of this dynamic new site, For artists and makers there is a huge opportunity to share your work. Lots of possibilities, but I'll skip to the big issue for artists and makers.

The huge concern is appropriate attribution. The concern is that images of art or craft may travel around, pinned and repinned without proper attribution to the artist/maker. Addressing this concern there are rumors, suggestions, proposals that artists and makers might decide to watermark their images.

I do not like Watermarks in photos. 
As a result, I am not going to watermark my photos and ruin the image because of others' irresponsible behavior.That is my opinion at the moment...but on the other hand, can't we all join together, work together, post together protecting each other with appropriate attribution?

PinterestHeidiCodyalphabetHere is where everyone, yes, EVERYONE needs to take responsibility for posting images with complete descriptions.

Please, please, please, can we all make Pinterest the best it can be. Honor the creativity behind the images with complete information.

  • Add the artist's name to the description (including your own name).
  • Add a link to the original (artist's) web site, if possible. 
  • Add links for your source.
  • Add photo credit, if possible.  
  • Add an accurate (even if short) description.

Harriete

Tomorrow's post... more Pinterest introspection.
Pinterestdescriptions


Pinterest - Quick Tips to Become a "Pinner"

Learning about Pinterest is always a revelation as they continue to modify their policies and Pin Etiquette.

Pinterest Harriete Estel Berman profileAfter some hours of experimentation, I can share several tips to help you become a "Pinner" and take advantage of some of the unique features of Pinterest that are different from other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

HarrietePencilProfile2811The great realization is that Pinterest is a natural website for artists and makers since it is image based.  Artist/makers can post images of anything and everything we love.  It could be like a sketchbook of inspiration or function for self promotion. I do however have several reservations and concerns which will be discussed here.

 

Top priority is to always always, always include a link to the original source for the image.

Pinterest-Pinning-Etiquette
Credit Your Sources
Pins are most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you discover a pin that is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so that the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry.

Include as much information as available about the image in the text box with your original pin. This is your only chance to include the appropriate information including the artist's name, description, and photo credit with the image.

COMMENTS DO NOT TRAVEL WITH THE IMAGE: An unfortunate aspect is that your comment does not travel with the image if it is repinned. Thus efforts to include additional information about the image or a link to the original source (in the comment) will only be on that particular page. No where else. Test this yourself. Comments do not travel with the image.

PIN ETHICALLY AND LEGALLY
SCANNERMy recommendation is to never pin an image that is not already posted on the internet. In other words, I do not scan a photographic image from a book or magazine for the purpose of pinning an image. I figure that if the artist wanted the image online they would have alrealy put it on the web, and I do not have permission ethically or legally to scan the image from a publication. 

I also do not pin from an artist's web site, but only from commercial sites or design blogs where it can be presumed that the artist/maker/designer is prepared to have their image travel on the internet to unpredictable locations on Pinterest. Why else would they have posted images of their work on such high traffic locations?

Do NOT repin an image if there is no original source (link) for the image. This is just continuing to repeat a poor quality pin.

Do NOT repin images if the information is incomplete, or inaccurate
.

NEVER PIN AN IMAGE with the expectation to copy or "Make One for Yourself" 

Pinterst-Be-Respectful

Follow the Pinterest precept BE Nice. It seems to be the only Pin Etiquette that remains consistent despite the whims of fashion.

You can combine your Pinterest with Facebook and Twitter. You can decide to automatically post your Pin on Facebook or Twitter as shown below.

This is a "Settings".
    HOVER on your NAME.
    A drop down menu appears.
       CLICK on settings.
       SCROLL DOWN
       CLICK ON THE BUTTONs to make your selection.

Pinterest-Social-Networks.

  

 

THE PRICE BANNER PROBLEM. 

Pinterest Price banner

A Dollar sign with numbers in the text box automatically puts a banner across the top left corner (shown above).  I think it looks tacky. The banner goes across your image and puts the price as a prominent feature. Does everything have to be about price?

Pinterest no price on images

Including a price in the description text is an option.
Use words such as "Retail Price". This is shown below.
 
Pinterest no price text

Descriptions are limited to 500 words. So keep that in mind. 

You don't need to follow a person, but you can FOLLOW one of their Boards. Just CLICK on the FOLLOW BUTTON (as shown below). You can also UNFOLLOW any time.

Pinterest Hillary Pfeifer

Find me on Pinterest. I look forward to seeing your pins.


Sticker Shock or A Real Bargain - It's All Relative To Framing

An editorial by Ryan Jones in The Crafts Report (November 2011) brought a fascinating TED Talk to my attention. Dan Ariely explains how "framing" different options can influence purchasing decisions.

Quoting Ryan Jones, editor of The Crafts Report, "Some people wonder why they should bring along some higher-priced items to a craft fair, especially if it's unlikely they will sell them. But, framing means that your highest-priced items can be a sales tool ...". Listen to the TED Talk by Dan Ariely to learn more about this concept.

TEDlogoI recommend listening to the TED Talk all the way to the end because it explains the logic behind why we artists should always have a big show stopper piece of artwork in our booths or in an exhibition to sell the smaller items. After the video, take a look at an example about how I am trying to apply this reasoning for my Judaica.

FIG Leaves and figs in an abstraction on my Tu Bishvat Seder plateHere is my practical example.
Right now I have a Seder plate for Tu Bishvat in the exhibition DO NOT DESTROY at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The price places this work outside the average consumer. My aspiration (or wish come true) is that a museum will buy this work for their permanent collection. 

Yellow Flower Scroll Mezuzah by Harriete Estel Berman Yellow Flower with Scroll Mezuah from recycled materials by Harriete Estel BermanTwo weeks before the museum exhibition opened,  I contacted the museum gift shop about selling some of my Mezuzot. Each mezuzah is priced at $175. That may put some people into sticker shock compared to the usual gift shop item, but it is a real bargain for the labor, preparation, skills, and design in each mezuzah. 

At the same time,  the mezuzot are affordable examples of my work with an environmental message that can be used every day. 

Everything is relative, and there are many factors that may influence the purchaser's decision including the perceived value of the artwork in the exhibition, and the validation provided by being included in the museum exhibition Do Not Destroy.

Keep this strategy in mind for your booth or next show. While the masterpiece of the show may or may not sell, it may be a prime factor in selling the other work.

I sold seven mezuzot during the show.

Harriete

 
Inside STAR of Tu Bishvat Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Assiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah ©  2011 by Harriete Estel Berman

(Above photo) Close up view of the center of the Tu Bishvat seder plate. If you shine a light on the center of the seder plate it reflects a Star of David on the ceiling(shown below.)
Star REFLECTION on CEILING  from Tu Bishvat Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman

Tu Bishvat Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Assiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah
                                                          ©     2011

Artist:Harriete Estel Berman
DIMENSIONS: 6” ht x 24” w x 20" d

Follow Me on PinterestIf you are interested in viewing the design, and fabrication of this Judaica TuBishvat seder plate, CLICK HERE to view an entire album on Flickr with step by step photos for this work in progress.


Sharing Costs or Getting Taken? Possible Benefits versus Risks Sharing Fees for Space and Financial Cooperation Among Artists

Matrlid_backcu72

This post contains a real email - n
ot fake or pretend.  The exact email is copied from my inbox.  I only deleted the name of the gallery.

The email is asking an artist to cover costs to participate in a show.
What do you think? Would you participate?

Read the whole thing. My comments follow below.

Subject: SOFA NY
Email: ***gallery.com
Your comments: Dear Harriete:

I am the owner of an Art Gallery located in [*****(a country in South America)].
Since year 2000, my gallery participates as an exhibitor at SOFA (The International Exhibition of Sculptur, Objects and Functional Art - www.sofaexpo.com ) in New York, Chicago and since year 2009 in the new SOFA West at Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This year SOFA decided to change the focus of the show, toward the furniture and design.
I am submitting a proposal of showing 10 chairs and 10 mirrors by artists and believe your pieces have affinity with the rest of my inventory, and absolutely fit for SOFA.
 
Would you be interested in exhibit at SOFA represented by my gallery in case the project will be approved?
 
This call to represent you at SOFA , implies in my gallery the idea of sharing costs, since expenses are so high that I am not able to solve them completely by myself, and involves important financial cooperation from the artists, which are considered as partners since they pay some fees for space and I take lower commissions than other galleries in case of selling. 
 
If you are interested in this kind of proposal, let me know and I´ll send Terms and Conditions to participate .

Sincerely, ****
(****name of gallery owner)

(****name of gallery.com)

STOP AND THINK HERE.  How would you respond?

If you want to exhibit at SOFA, it presents a way to reduce expenses and possibly make some extra sales.  And it sounds so sincere. 

 Would you agree to this offer (assuming that your work is a perfect fit with the theme of the gallery exhibition)?

WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?

Consuming Identity Chair Material  constructed by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin canitid
 Consuming Identity © 2001
  Post Consumer Recycled tin cans,
  fabric, ribbon, aluminum, steel screws,
  Chair sculpture is not functional.
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Material Identity Chair constructed by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin cans.n r
Material Identity © 2001
Post Consumer Recycled tin cans,
aluminum, steel screws,
Chair sculpture is not functional.

Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Here are my concerns.

The offer may indeed be sincere, . . . maybe, . . . but the chance of benefit is far outweighed by the numerous risks and red flags. 

The gallery is out of the country, so, for all practical purposes, there is no legal recourse if something goes wrong.

Giving money to any unknown person or entity with no prior working relationship or familiarity is a definite "red flag."

I would have no control over display, marketing, or selection of other artists  even though I contributed money.

This is an investment of my time and money into a relationship that would be very difficult to continue, thus a one time opportunity, and not likely worth the hassle.

Overall, too many risks.  Or, this could be a scam.  Or if real, too many loose ends. 

Instead, if you want to pursue such offers, I would suggest that you meet the gallery at SOFA in advance by a year and get to know the gallery owner and related people. Look at the selection of artists, style of work and presentation. If you are still favorably inclined, you can then arrange for sharing in future years.  At least you would know who you're working with.

What do you think?

Did I miss something?  Should I reconsider? 

Harriete

Material Identity Front CORNER all made from recycled tin cans Material Identity starts with a chair inspired by the styling principle of Charles Lock Eastlake. His book Hints on Household Taste was a best selling book in England and American in the years after its first publishing in 1868.

Material  Identity Chair images focuses on the seat from recycled tin cans

Ironically, Eastlake's treatise expounds on commentary equally relevant today. He said that publick taste is corrupt - fashion rules, and few are shocked by sham and pretension. Cheap and easy method of workmanship in an endeavor to produce a show of finish with the least possible labor, as well as an unhealthy spirit of competition in regard to price, has continue to cause the value of our ordinary mechanic's work to deteriorate.
The parallels today 100 years later are resounding.

Material Identity chair from reycled tin cans by Harriete Estel Berman
Bermaid is a play on words. First, my name - Berman - is not a very good name for an avowed feminist. Using "maid" instead of "man"indicates the artist is a woman and suggests a pun on "made" as in made by hand.
Dimensions of Chair: 38.25" height x 17.25" width x 14" depth

Photo Credit for all images: Philip Cohen

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Prepare for Success - Workshop for Your Quest

CompassLooking for your path to success?

What direction do you want your work to go? What insights would you like to gain from someone with 30+ years of experience? Is your work consistent with your marketing?

 

April 28-29In April, I will be teaching a professional development workshop at Revere Academy as part of their Masters
Symposium
in San Francisco, CA.


Prepare for Success

April 28 - 29, 2012

 

Map of San FranciscoInternet Option
If you can't travel to San Francisco, Revere Academy is offering on line participation at a reduced cost! It would be nice to see you in person, but if you need to stay at home while juggling the rest of your life, this is a way to listen in on your computer.

Webinar participants will be able to view the instructor and Powerpoint presentations in real time via their computer, as will as submit their own questions and images for review by the instructor, much like the students who attend the class in San Francisco. Because this is the first time Revere has offered a webinar class,there is a special, one-time introductory price for the class of just $79!Download Prep for SuccessPR

Webinar participants are required to have a computer with a high-speed internet connection. To register for the webinar, call 415-391-4179.

MOO Business cards with images of artwork, jewelry and Judaica by Harriete Estel Bermand  ocardsHORIZONTAL72Appropriate for all media, this two day intensive workshop with Harriete Estel Berman will provide tons of information to super charge your professional development and gain from my 30 years of experience.

Learn how to use the power of social networking, blogs, and web sites to develop visibility and get your work noticed. Other topics will include maintaining proper records for the IRS, managing inventory, how to update your resume, and evaluate and upgrade your photos.

We can cover anything you want.  Your questions can guide the topics to be covered. 

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Here are some suggestions for topics:


Professional Development resources

Your 20 second commercial

Guidelines for a critique group

Identify your business model.

Establish Your Professional Goals
   Define Objective
   Define Success
   Are your objectives and definition of success            consistent?
   How do you expect to achieve your objectives?
   Define your market.

Pricing and fabrication methods.
   Pricing Structure
   Falcher Fusager’s Pricing Formula
   Guestimation
   Comparative Pricing
   Include your Overhead
   Cost of goods sold
   Pricing Concepts.

Inventory Record Form
   Inventory Records:  Documentation and Provenance
   Hallmark or sign your work

Digital Image Package
   Label examples
   Image description sheet
   All prints and digital files information.
   CONTACT SHEET SAMPLE

Resume vs. CV
   Resume categories
   CV
   BIO

Artist Statement Recommendations
   Artist Statement Tips
   Artist Statement with description
   Envelope for your package

PUBLICITY EXAMPLE
   PUBLICITY  IMAGE
   SELF PORTRAIT
   WORKING IN THE STUDIO
   PHOTOGRAPH EVENTS

Emails and social networking

Strategies for juried opportunities

Publicity and Marketing 100+ ideas
   Book recommendation
   Pitch letter
   Mailing List strategy
   Thank you
   STATIONARY

Wholesale/Retail
   Minimum order for wholesale
   Return Policy

Delivery of work in person
   Shipping – One of a kind work
   Unpacking & Display instructions
     To Display
     Packing and Shipping
     Maintenance Instructions
     Shipping
     CONDITION REPORT
     SIMPLE PACKING LIST 

Profit or Loss?
     What are your options?
     Do you act like a business?
     Expense record examples.
     3 rules to test deductibility
     Expertise?
     Time & Effort?
     Track record
     Record of sales
     Do you act like a business?  I.R.S.

COPYRIGHT & Fair use

www.you
        Website resources
        Web what you need to do and why
        Blogs - blogosphere
        Basic SEO to implement

Any Questions: Contact me directly
bermaid [at] harriete-estel-berman.info
(area code 650) - then 571-7726
http://www.harriete-estel-berman.info


Lunch Discussion with Garth Clark - Keynote Speaker at SNAG Conference 2012

The annual SNAG Conference offers many astounding opportunities unavailable for most of us anywhere else. Register for the 2012 Conference before February 29, 2012 and you will automatically be entered in a drawing to win a FREE ¼ page color advertisement in Metalsmith magazine!

GarthClarkAs part of the SNAG Conference, look on the schedule for "A Smaller Conference Experience", an informal lunch discussion with keynote speaker Garth Clark. This is open to everyone on Friday, May 25th.


This year's theme, THE HEAT IS RISING, plays right into many hot topics and thought provoking debates! And Garth Clark is known for provocative positions.

Brownbag"Grab and Go" lunches will be available for pre-order purchase during registration or on site with 24 hours notice.

This lunch discussion is part of "A Smaller Conference Experience", a two part program to facilitate more intimate and meaningful discussion at the SNAG Conferences. This is an opportunity to get to know the Keynote Speaker, Garth Clark, and engage in an in depth conversation. 

Garth Clark Put this on your schedule and arrive promptly. Space is limited to a smaller room to facilitate a dialog. Once filled the doors will be closed. 

If you have questions for Garth Clark, please let me know either now or the day of the event. 

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We can use your questions to start the conversation.

Harriete 

AJF_logoA Smaller Conference Experience lunch discussion is sponsored by the Art Jewelry Forum.

 


3 Books, 3 Opportunities to Submit Your Work

Three upcoming books provide superb opportunities for recognition.  Submit your work right away.  Details and entry forms below.

  • 500 Teapots
  • 500 Lights
  • 500 Traditional Quilts

Having images of your work published in a book generates free publicity, broad visibility and long term credibility.  These benefits are certainly worth investing some time and strategic thinking. Do not wait....you may forget, and early entries often have an advantage.

To improve your submission consider reading these resources:

Top Ten Tips for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book or Magazine

Juried Submissions: What information do jurors really take into consideration?

Photo Comparisons and Descriptions - Now Optimize Your Submission

Strategic Thinking When Applying to a Juried Opportunity

Photography in Flux- Guidelines for Photos of Your Craft

 

Details and entry forms for each of the 3 book opportunities follow:

California Dream Teapot by Harriete Estel Berman
California Dream
Recycled tin cans
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
22" height x 20" width x 7.5" depth
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

500 Teapots
Lark seeks images to publish in a juried collection of ceramic teapots.  Publishing to be in August 2013. The juror for 500 Teapots will be Jim Lawton of Oyster Street Pottery.

Pieces may be functional or purely decorative.
You may submit up to four entries.
There is no entry fee.
Artists retain copyright of their work.

 


Download 500-Teapots-call-for-entries
Entries must be postmarked by April 20, 2012.

Mail materials to:
Dawn Dillingham/Lark
67 Broadway
Asheville, NC  28801

 


Floating World by Harriete Estel Berman
Floating World © 2001
Recycled tin cans, paper lanterns
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

500 Lights
Lark seeks images to publish in a juried collection of handcrafted lights. The juror will be Christopher Poehlmann, owner of CP Lighting.

 

Entries must be postmarked by March 1, 2012.  Download 500-Lights-Call-for-Entries


You may submit up to four entries.
There is no entry fee.

Submissions may include chandeliers, lamps, sconces, pendants, and installations. Lights must be designed and built by individual designers and/or small shops as unique objects, limited editions, or customized originals. Work may be created from any material or fabrication method, but absolutely no candles by themselves.

Mail materials to:
Dawn Dillingham/Lark
500 Lights
67 Broadway
Asheville, NC  28801


BEAUTY Mirror by Harriete Estel Berman
Even a Tarnished Mirror Betrays Our
Self Esteem When the Ideal of Beauty Is
An Age Defying Conplex

Recycled Tin Cans
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

500 Traditional Quilts
Lark Crafts seeks images of masterful traditional quilts to publish in a collection juried by Karey Bresenhan, President of Quilts, Inc. and juror of 500 Art Quilts (Lark 2010). 500 Traditional Quilts will feature a wide variety of quilt techniques, traditions, and styles.

For this book, they are accepting digital imagery, slides, and transparencies with up to five submissions per artist.

There is no entry fee.
Entries must be postmarked by May 15, 2012. 
Download 500-Traditional-Quilts-Entry-Form

Mail materials to:
Dawn Dillingham/Lark
500 Traditional Quilts
67 Broadway
Asheville, NC  28801

 

The value of being in a juried exhibition or book is the free publicity, broad visibility and long term credibility.  These benefits are certainly worth investing some time and perhaps a little money.

Plant a Seed, Nurture Ideas, Time to Prepare for Blooms and Fruit

Pomegranate_TreeBefore starting the actual construction a piece for an exhibition, I usually read, study, and research the background of the topic or theme.  This prepares me for the intensive hours, days, weeks to months  creating exhibition work -- in this case, a special Seder plate about planting, growth, nurturing, and realizing the fruits of our labor.

PomegranateThe theme for a recent exhibition was Tu BishVat (a lesser known Jewish holiday) celebrating the birthday of trees. This had me thinking about fruit trees as a metaphor for artists and makers.

There is a Biblical recommendation that newly planted fruit trees should not be harvested before the 5th year.  Thus Tu Bishvat is sometimes called the birthday for trees since this holiday is used as a demarcation for the passing of each year, a very practical recommendation for the future health and productivity of the tree.

If the tree is nurtured for five years before harvesting the  fruit, all of the energy and dedication of the caretaker will be realized in the long term health of the tree.  When the mature tree produces fruit for harvest, it will be more "fruitful" for many years. 

HB Seder Detail1pomegranatetreeThis is a perfect metaphor for a budding artist and how they should nurture their creative output.

Artists and makers should take this to heart.... I am really serious about this point.

I am concerned especially for emerging artists (of all ages) who expect their early creative pursuits to bear immediate fruit in both money and critical acclaim. A premature expectation for visibility and sales too often influences what is made and how it is made.  I hope they learn to overcome these common mistakes:

1.) Shallow roots. Demands from the marketplace can distract artists and makers from developing substantive skills and meaningful ideas. Sustained personal development produces the best fruit. 

2.) Grafting onto others. It is easy to take other people's ideas, styles and techniques.  But copying what's been done before never develops the individual voice within each of us.

3.) Premature Harvest - Spending too much time promoting initial work instead of developing and producing more thoughtful, more meaningful work.  I am all for selling, but spending time trying to promote and sell premature work damages the long term reputation of emerging artists and drains potential energy from more meaningful development and creativity.

I know my words are pointed.  I don't usually say "should", but in this case it is warranted.

Trying to harvest fruit too early damages the core of creativity and dilutes the energy of individuals who could benefit from experiencing growth over a period of time.  Learning from experience and consciously seeking to improve quality should take precedence over immediate gratification.  Higher quality work may take a few years, but once established, it can be productively sustained for a longer period to time.

Trees SILOUETTE


Preservation, Conservation - Design for Repair

In this ongoing series about Preservation, Conservation, Experimentation, I'd like to make a recommendation for all artists and makers  design for repair.

Windows of Memory by Harriete Estel  BermanI am sure everyone would like to think that damage doesn't happen with good care, but 30 years of experience has taught me that accidents do happen, even to the most valuable of items.

Damaged artwork constructed from recycled tin cans Windows of Memory
  Damaged corner of one window. I had to
  completely disassemble the window,
  remake a few parts, repair the pieces
  I couldn't remake,a then, put it back
  together.
  

Through the "school of hard knocks," I've also found it far better to anticipate the possibility of damage and not just ignore the possibility.

From the beginning and during your construction, consider how your art work or craft can be repaired. 
I design my work to be disassembled, and keep the instructions and assembly methods in my sketch books. Not that I want to repair my work, but when damages do happen, it won't be a total loss. I would rather repair my work myself, instead of letting someone else to try to figure it out. I am the expert on my own work. No one can repair it as well as I can.

Damaged artwork documented in the process of making an insurance claim.Keep your records for the materials used or possibly spare parts. Your Inventory Records might include the brand of paint, or significant colors, patina or glazes. Anything that you might need to know about a particular piece or group of work.

I charge for repair.
Since I do silver repair and restoration, I charge my going rate of $85 an hour.  Insurance companies are glad that someone will repair the work, as compared to compensating the owner for the entire artwork.

The document Claims for Damaged Work in the Professional Guidelines will help you with a successful claim if your work is ever damaged.

To help assure the long term future of your work, design your art or craft for repair and restoration.

Harriete