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September 2015

A new exhibition -- "Evil: A Matter of Intent"

The exhibition "Evil: A Matter of Intent" has opened at Hebrew Union College in New York City.  I couldn't be more proud to have my work in this thought provoking exhibition. The curator, Laura Kruger, selected two pieces from my new series, "10 MODERN PLAGUES." Berman-Water-Pollution-Blood-Plague-1920Blood - Water Pollution from the 10 MODERN PLAGUES

Berman-Water-Pollution-Blood-Plague-cu1920

Evil: A Matter of Intent explores several questions.  Why does evil exist?  How is it manifested?  From whom or from what is it derived? According to the Hebrew bible and rabbinic teachings, all humans have some capability or predisposition to commit acts of evil, or what is known in Hebrew as yetzer hara. Philosophers argue that such inclinations are not inherently malicious, yet can easily become evil if not confronted.

In this exhibition, topics include the Ten Plagues, the Golem, the Shoah and the proliferation of acts of violence including genocides worldwide.*

 


Packing images and repair 064On the practical side of delivering artwork to an exhibition, shipping is always a challenge.  In this series, 10 MODERN PLAGUES, each piece presents unique challenges for safe shipping.  The left photo is a preview of my packing solution.   A more thorough examination of the packing will be the subject of an upcoming post on ASK Harriete.  It may be worth the close inspection because the Hebrew Union College staff said this about my packing . . .  "We are all in awe of your ingenuity in packaging. I had my registrar photograph them in situ."

Packing solution for artwork of Blood Water PollutionTo all the readers of ASK Harriete, I hope that if you are planning to be in New York some time during the next seven months you will make a point of going to this powerful exhibition. 

Exhibition dates: September 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016

I am going to the opening.
Will you meet me at the opening?

Opening  is October 21, from 5 - 7 pm.  

Berman-Blight-World-Hunger-Master72Blight - World Hunger  

Berman-Blight-World-Hunger-10 Modern Plagues

(Above and Left) These photos show Blight-World Hunger which is also in the exhibition "Evil- A Matter of Intent." 

More information:
Location: Hebrew Union College Museum
One West Fourth Street (between Broadway and Mercer Street)
New York City

Subway: N/R/W to 8th Street (NYU); 6 to Astor Place; A/C/E/B/D.M to West 4th Street

Packing details for shipping artwork to an exhibition.Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 am – 5 pm; Friday, 9 am – 3 pm

Admission: FREE. Government-issued photo ID required.


Group Tours and Information:
212-824-2298 or hucjirmuseum@huc.edu
www.huc.edu/museum/ny

Evil-A-Matter-of-Intent-invitationArtists in the show: 

Andi Arnovitz
Debra Band
Harriete Estel Berman
Leon Bibel
Andres Borocz
Beverly Brodsky
Lynda Caspe 
Larry Frankel
Tommy Gelb
Linda Gissen
Carol Hamoy
Nathan Hilu
Ruben Malayan
Richard McBee

*Description of the exhibition from the press release provided by Hebrew Union College. When I go to the show, I will be sure to write more extensively about the exhibition.

RELATED INFORMATION: 
Article about the curator Laura Kruger. "...she has stood alone among curators and Jewish museums, providing an often singular forum for emerging contemporary Jewish visual culture." Read more at the link below: Laura Kruger At The Hebrew Union College Museum


WANTED Better Display - Offender #8 CLUTTER

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY8-clutterThe 8th Display Offender is Clutter. What is Clutter? For a booth display it is anything that could distract a potential customer from purchasing your work.  It may be anything visible that fosters a less than optimal customer impression....not that you don't need the items, not that everyone doesn't have clutter ....but clutter should be eliminated from customer view in your booth display.

 

 



Clutter in your booth displayStorage boxes, suitcases, and credit card machines are clutter. Sure they are important, sure you need them, but they really distract from the quality of your work and your display -- and as a result diminishes the customer's impression.

When planning your booth, a crucial tactic is how to hide the necessary clutter. Putting your suitcase anywhere that is visible in your booth is not hiding the clutter.  A charge machine and invoice tablet on a table at the back of your booth are not hiding clutter. I know you've seen it all and you don't need me to show you boxes of clutter.


Below are some practical examples
of how some people hid their clutter:


Emiko Oye hid extra inventory and clutteremiko oye stored extra inventory by changing the tile color on the floor to black and covering her boxes with a black drape. It wasn't the best solution, but it still looked better than visible packing boxes on the floor.

 

Jonathan SpoonsDid you notice that Jonathan's Spoons had a tiered display on their counter top?  Jonathan very proudly told me how the elevated display conceals their credit card machine, tissue paper, along with everything they need to complete a purchase.


Beverly Tadeau booth Lots of people use the space under their cases for storage, but that doesn't work if you aren't using a drape for the open look, or if the drape is shear as in Beverly Tadeau's booth display.

 

Beverly-Tadeau-Concealed-Storage2Tadeau's solution was a diagonal drape across the back corner. Everything from a charge machine, to boxes and suitcase fit into that corner behind the drape.

Beverly Tadeau
  


Amy Nguyen beautiful clothing at ACC San Francisco Amy Nguyen had a beautiful display of her clothing. A table of extra inventory, postcards, and the charge machine was concealed by a drape on the main aisle, but not concealed from the side aisle of the corner booth (right photo.) Amy Nguyen did not hide her clutter  completely.

Customers see everything.  Clutter suggests unfinished, unrefined, and careless. Hoping that clutter doesn't matter may give a subtle message to prospective customers that you don't care about every detail -- and they walk out, almost, but not quite convinced to purchase. 

Clutter is a "kissing cousin" to Offender #5 Inconsistent Display Materials" and Offender #3 TOO MUCH STUFF On Display.  Don't let these display offenders enter into your booth.... and steal your sales. Avoid Clutter.   

Harriete

PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
Wanted-Better-Display-Offender8-clutterYour Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE

WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths

WANTED Better Display - Display Offender #2: Not Enough Lights

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

Personal Appearance and the Pathetic Aesthetic - Where's Tim Gunn When You Need Him?

Pathetic Aesthetic with Poor Signage - How Would I Know Your Name?

WANTED Better Display - Offender #7 "Butt Brush Factor"

 

 


WANTED Better Display - Offender #7 "Butt Brush Factor"

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY-Butt-brush-factorOffender #7 - "Butt Brush Factor" is real and very well documented phenomena first observed by the famous shopping guru Paco Underhill, author of the book  Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. 

It occurs when a merchandise display is placed right up to the boundary of an aisle.  Some may think that such a position would help force passing shoppers to look at the work.  BUT the opposite occurs.  It is far more likely to be pushing your customers away from your booth. Yep, your customers are leaving because they can't put up with the "Butt Brush Factor" when they are shopping.

Apparently, too many people have never heard of the "Butt Brush Factor" because I saw several display cases pushed to the very front edge of the booth.  



Here is a quote from Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping :
  Why-We-Buy-Paco-Underhill
"As part of an early study for Bloomingdale’s in New York City, we trained a camera on one of the main ground-floor entrances, and the lens just happened to also take in a rack of neckties positioned near the entrance, on the main aisle. While reviewing the tape to study how shoppers negotiated the doorway during busy times, we began to notice something weird about the tie rack. Shoppers would approach it, stop and shop until they were bumped once or twice by people heading into or out of the store. After a few such jostles, most of the shoppers would move out of the way, abandoning their search for neck wear. We watched this over and over until it seemed clear that shoppers — women especially, though it was also true of men to a lesser extent — don’t like being brushed or touched from behind. They’ll even move away from merchandise they’re interested in to avoid it." - Paco Underhill, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping

Jewelry-cases-pushed-into-aisleI witnessed the impact of  "Butt Brush Factor" while roaming around ACC San Francisco 2015. For example, a very forlorn looking booth with dark black drapes had cases pushed to the very front edge of the aisle.  (Actually, if you look at the photo closely it seems they pushed the jewelry cases a half inch into the aisle.) This had the appearance of shoving the jewelry cases into the customer. The customer will have to stand in the aisle blocking traffic flow.

In addition, shoppers likely concerned about over commitment took a wider berth or stopped briefly and then walked away.  Why? At least one reason was Butt Brush Factor. 


Sign-Victoria-Morre-long-sideAs previously mentioned, women, in particular, are most vulnerable to the impact of Butt Brush Factor. They will not stop and shop if they run the risk of people pumping into their behinds. When the jewelry cases are pushed to the edge of the booth, there is no place to stand except in aisle with people closely passing by. When a customer is forced to stand in the high traffic zone, they will choose instead to just keep on moving. 

To eliminate Offender #7 - Butt Brush Factor, the remedy is simple.  Leave at least 12"-18" for the customer to tuck themselves into your booth and out of the aisle.   They can then inspect your work without the unconscious concern of being bumped. 

Booth-layout-narrow-gauntlet-over-commitmentButt Brush Factor can also be a display offender involved in the internal booth layout - the narrow alley trapping the would-be customer in a gauntlet of scary over-commitment.  Once one shopper is shopping in this narrow aisle there is no room for a second customer to navigate around.  Butt Brush Factor is another reason why this booth layout is less than ideal. Consider a different booth layout, larger booth, corner booth, or sharing a booth to create a larger common shopping space.

 Harriete

Other great books about modern marketing include:
Buyology Buying-In-Why-We-Buy

I have read all these books along with Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, and think they are both entertaining and informative. I'd consider them required reading if you want to sell your art or craft effectively.

These books are affiliate links provided for your convenience. Clicking on these links could provide this blog with a few cents. Other options for finding these books are your local library.

Online book review from The New York Times about Why We Buy offers insight into the content covered in the book.

 

Wanted-Better-Display-Offender7-butt-brush

PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE

WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths

WANTED Better Display - Display Offender #2: Not Enough Lights

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

Personal Appearance and the Pathetic Aesthetic - Where's Tim Gunn When You Need Him?

Pathetic Aesthetic with Poor Signage - How Would I Know Your Name?

 

 


"Uncommon Couture" - How Do I Decide About Participation in an Exhibition?

Artists and makers frequently have to make decisions about participation in shows, exhibitions or competitions. Depending on your experience, time and finances the criteria will change and evolve.

AskHarrieteOreoIMG_7919_web 1000x

Currently I have work in an exhibition titled, "Uncommon Couture" that just opened at the Florida Craft Art Gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida. I have other work in a separate show opening Saturday, September 12, titled, Body as Agent: Changing Fashion Art at the Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California. 

Recently with the up-tic in the economy, I am much surprised by the number of invitations to participate in exhibitions.   With each opportunity the question arises, "How should I decide about participation?" -- sort of like "to be or not to be" in each one.

Berman-Harriete-Yellow-dot-AOL-Bracelet.72

One of my hard and fast rules about participation (actually my #1 minimum requirement) is insurance at the venue.  After much experience (good and bad), I have chosen this requirement as a measure of whether the sponsor has their act together.   The issues surrounding insurance have been discussed at length in several previous posts.  

“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" (i.e. insurance) in case of damage.”

Red Hots Flower Pin by Harriete Estel Berman in yellow and red recycled materials.

The need for insurance at a show can be a "red hot" topic leading to heated discussions on occasion. This really isn't about whether you have business insurance in your studio. [Yes, I have business insurance.]  This is about a minimum professional standard in an event that characterizes itself as something above the day-to-day mundane -- is this a real "show" or is it just a hangout.


Totally-To-Point-Fuchsia Flower Pin by Harriete Estel BermanIn previous posts, I have gone on record saying "no insurance, no show. "Competitions or exhibitions that do not provide insurance are for the hobbyist/amateur level such as the county fair, a display at the mall or at the local library, as just a few examples."  In these venues the artist/maker assumes all the risk.   Often, these artist/makers are just beginning to accumulate experience in showing or selling their work. 

 

I understand that insurance is an expense that is getting very expensive. But in my opinion, every exhibition or opportunity needs to consider insurance as a demarcation of professionalism and a minimum accommodation to attract the best work. Providing insurance is a reflection upon the exhibition sponsor's expectation for the quality of work to be shown. 

We need to stand together supporting professional standards. No insurance, no show.

If you are invited to participate in any situation where you are sending your work to a location outside of your control, then you have a reasonable expectation that the sponsor will provide insurance.

  • Read the contract.
  • Raise the issues with exhibition sponsors.
  • Learn how to establish appropriate insurance values (in a future post.)

All of the images above in this post are currently at an exhibition "Uncommon Couture" at Florida Art Craft Gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida. Exhibition dates: August 28-October 24, 2015

Location: Florida Art Craft Gallery
501 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
727-821-7391          

Silicon Valley from the California Collection at the Richmond Art Center

Please join me this Saturday at the Richmond Art Center at the opening for Body as Agent: Changing Fashion Art  5 - 7 pm, free and open to the public. 
2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, California 94804
Open until November 15th

Berman-Harriete-Silicon-Valley-full
                                             

GUIDE TO IMAGES IN THIS POST.  
OREO Unlock the Magic Bracelet in Yellow, purple at Uncommon Couture.Oreo “Unlock the Magic”
Retail Price: $530
Photo Credit:  Steven Brian Samuels 
at "Uncommon Couture"

 

 


Berman-Harriete-Yellow-dot-AOL-Bracelet.72
Yellow Bracelet with orange dots, super thin.Reverse side: “America Online” dark blue & white address label.
Retail Price  $415.00
at "Uncommon Couture"

 

Red Hots Flower Pin by Harriete Estel Berman in yellow and red recycled materials.

Red Hot Flower Pin
Recycle post consumer tin cans & plastic.
Retail Price $535
at "Uncommon Couture"

 

Totally-To-Point-Fuchsia Flower Pin by Harriete Estel BermanTotally to the Point Flower Pin
Recycled post consumer tin cans & plastic.
Retail Price $375
at "Uncommon Couture"

 

 

Silicon Valley Jewelry from the California Collection by Harriete Estel Berman

Silicon Valley from the California Collection 
Three bracelets displayed in a custom made wooden fruit crate. Bracelets and fruit crate label constructed from recycled tin containers, 10k gold rivets, aluminum rivets.
Currently at Richmond Art Center "Body as Agent: Changing Fashion Art"

Additional work at  "Body as Agent: Changing Fashion Art" include: 
Santa Rosa Bracelets Bermaid Santa Rosa
Bermaid Santa Rosa Bracelets and fruit crate display

Recycled Fruit Crate and necklace from recycled materials

Recycle from the California Collection
Recycled Fruit Label from recycled tin cans BermanRecycledcollar72  Berman Recycled Bracelets from Recycle the California Collections


Pathetic Aesthetic with Poor Signage - How Would I Know Your Name?

WANTED-BETTER-DISPLAY-generic-signThe last several posts have discussed issues that cause Pathetic Aesthetic in booth display. Improving your display quality is a minimum requirement for success and this includes a sign identifying your name, or company name which will be consistent with your signature booth aesthetic. 

The white paper print out with your name & number identifying your booth (provided by the craft show organizer)  is NOT a sign. Sorry for the big bold scream (I'm containing a scream of frustration)!

Dinky photo banners at the back of your display do not create an inviting impression with that customer walking right "by Bye"  your booth.  How will they know your name?  Without remembering your name they won't even be able to look you up in the show map to come back when they are ready to buy. 

Your name needs to be up high and done in a creative way. I wrote a number of posts with inexpensive  ideas. The links are at the bottom of this post. 

Steve Rossman  (a reader of ASK Harriete) says:"I  owned a custom exhibit design and fabrication company for almost 30 years. When it comes to signage and messaging, I believe strongly that, for a small booth (8\' to 20\') you have something like 3 to 5 seconds to \"capture\" a prospective visitor. So signage should concentrate on 3 basic things...

  • Who you are
  • What you do 
  • Why visitors need to stop

PATHETIC-AESTHETIC-personal-appearance-generic-sign

It is time that artists and makers start being more creative than the standard printed banner.  But something in "good taste" is better than nothing. Here are a few examples from ACC San Francisco that include signs in their signature aesthetic along with a few comments.

Can you take these ideas, improve upon them and make them work for your booth?

Sign-Jonathan-SpoonsThe round white sign for Jonathan Spoons included their descriptive tag line "Wild Cherry Spoons." Though I still don't care for the black drape, the sign popped against the dark background giving it high visibility. The font and styling matched the other price tags in the booth. 

You might be wondering why I keep showing photos of Jonathan Spoons in my posts. Well there is a reason why -- they won Best Booth at ACC San Francisco 2015. They did so many details right, keeping a signature booth aesthetic in every detail.


 

 

Sign-Melissa-FinelliMelissa Finelli had a very eye catching sign that matched her business card exactly.  It turns out that the business card design came first, and then she duplicated it as a sign. Ironically, the vintage typewriter mistake styling with jumping letters that were faint and more precise felt very contemporary.

The one improvement that I would make is to put your name at the top of the sign. This way if there are a lot of people in front of your booth, or in the aisle, your name is still visible. When your name is low, it can easily be hidden by your own cases or even one customer.

 

 

 


Sign-Beverly-tadeu

Beverly Tadeu has her name at the top of the sign. That is good.  She added a short description "metalsmith" though I wonder if that could be improved upon for a more unique and informative description. 

Note that beverly tadeu's sign is done in lower case lettering, a current trend in font styling. I wonder how long this texting influence will last before it looks common and everyday ordinary. On a positive note, the earrings in the sign and the sign itself were large, going full length from the top bar to the floor.

What would I want to see for more signature sign styling? Amazing metal letters done in Beverly Tadau's signature style. The letters can hang from the bar at the top holding the drape. They could fit in one suitcase along with some touch-up paint.

 

Sign-Ealish-Wilson-Emiko-Oye

Ealish Wilson and emiko oye put their names up high and on both sides of their booth. Good move! This way their potential customers will see their names no matter which direction they are walking up the aisle.

The rub off decal on the hard wall looks professional but Ealish Wilson in metallic lettering did not have strong enough contrast. As you can see in the photo (left) the silver lettering is hard to see. Either this should be applied to darker paint, or the lettering needs to be darker.

emiko used her trademark "reware" to reinforce this branding of her jewelry. If you do use a business name rather than your own name, it is important to keep reinforcing this alternative identity for your work.  (The question of whether you should market your work under your own name or a business name is another huge topic in itself.)

The mirror done in Legos helps reinforce the identity for emiko's medium - Legos. It is also intended to be a "selfie hot spot" for selfie photos when people try on her work. This way every photo will include the identity for "emiko reware" jewelry.

Our final example is Victoria Moore jewelry. She had three different signs in her booth as shown below.  I've condensed  the three signs adding arrows to point out the point of discussion.
Sign-Victoria-Morre-long-middle-side-arrow copy

Sign-Victoria-Morre-long-side(left) The left sign went all the way to the floor with a large image. Her name is at the very top. Unfortunately, the jewelry case was pushed so far forward it obscured part of the image.

Sign-Victoria-Moore-backThe center sign has larger text for her name in a brighter, higher contrast color that improves readability. This is a definite improvement. She has also added a "tag line" damascus steel jewelry which describes her work.

Notice that victoria moore is using the lower case text style on her signs. As just the third example of four example booth signs you can see that lower case doesn't feel like signature style any longer.

Sign-Victoria-Morre-shortThe right sign was an earlier version of her sign and is too short. With a much smaller sign her name seems tiny and harder to read especially with the pattern of the jewelry behind the lettering.  The image of the jewelry is smaller and less dramatic just because of the size of the sign. Despite the difference in size, it was good that Moore put a sign on both edges of her booth to capture the eye of the customer no matter which direction they are walking down the aisle.   

I'd like you to notice in the images that the cases obscure the jewelry image on the signs. This is because  the jewelry cases are pushed to the very front edge of the booth. It seems that many jewelers are trying this for booth layout, and it has a huge marketing problem called "butt brush factor." (This will be discussed in the next post in the series WANTED Better Display. )  

SUMMARY of a SIGNATURE SIGN that works:

  1. Your name up high.
  2. Your name in high contrast lettering.
  3. Large lettering big enough or bold enough to impress.
  4. Your name in a signature style matching the aesthetic of your booth.
  5. Optional is an informative tag line or short description about "what you do"or "why visitors need to stop."
  6. Make your sign memorable.

Harriete

YOUR NAME UP HIGH POSTS:

 Window Dressing for Booth Display - YOUR Name on Display

Window Dressing for Booth Display - Hang It UP
Signage in the ACC Show Booth Display
Resources and Highlights for Remarkable Booth Display

PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
Wanted-Better-Display-6-iPATHETIC-aESTHETIC-appearance-sign

Your Display is An Invitation To Walk Into Your Booth or Walk Right By BYE

WANTED Better Displays - Display Offender #1 Black Drape Booths

WANTED Better Display - Display Offender #2: Not Enough Lights

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

Personal Appearance and the Pathetic Aesthetic - Where's Tim Gunn When You Need Him?