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April 2010

Multi-colored April Flower Brooch with Coke motif

Harriete Estel Berman April Flower Brooch in multiple layers, many petals, with Coca-Cola motif.
Harriete Estel Berman April Flower Pin with Coke motif really makes your day sparkle.

The last April Flower post in honor of Earth Day, this is one of my favorite flowers. It is a profusion of multi colored petals  and a strawberry red center. The 3 ½” diameter layers include contemporary Coke advertising red with white letter, Multi-colored green, blue, orange.  BACK: is a Vintage Cola-Cola with  red with white lettering, aqua, white with abstract star detail, but this flower will never get confused with the real thing . The last April Flower Brooch post in honor of Earth Day...but I have lots more and love making them. Maybe I will post a few more in the coming months.

Pricing Your Work - Not Just Another Pricing Lecture: A Dialog About Pricing Your Work

Not Just Another Pricing Lecture: A Dialog About Pricing Your Work was the featured program at the 2010 Professional Development Seminar held at the SNAG Conference in Houston.

The PowerPoint Presentations by our speakers and the Question and Answer Discussion with the audience were recorded.PDS Pricing IMAGE The first half hour of the audio recordings was combined with the SlideShare Presentation so you can experience the same PowerPoint presentations that our audience saw in Houston. 

This was the Professional Development Seminar’s inaugural attempt to record the program and share this valuable information with a larger audience. 

In the following posts, I will discuss some of the issues raised during the discussion to offer further information and clarification.

BELOW IS THE LIST OF SPEAKERS for the PowerPoint SlideShare presentation of Not Just Another Pricing Lecture: A Dialog About Pricing Your Work. They are listed in the order of their presentations. Click on their name to go to their website for further information:

QUESTION AND ANSWER DISCUSSION for Not Just Another Pricing Lecture: A Dialog About Pricing Your Work was recorded as a podcast. The program with our speakers and the audience was moderated by Andy Cooperman, Don Friedlich and myself, Harriete Estel Berman.


Nolo Press Book Hiring Your First Employee: A Step-by-step GuideThere are also two blog posts about hiring employees on ASK Harriete listed below:



Wading Through Mud - Life as an artist.

As regular readers may know, I've been checking 39 boxes of work returned from the Loveland Museum. Checking returned work is like wading through thick, sticky mud -- slow and messy.

Damaged work
  Damaged corner of mirror
  Click Here to view the full view of the
  mirror on my website titled: 

  Identity Complex Mirror. 

Damaged boxes reported in a previous post have been the warning sign, but so far only one art work has been damaged...but not all the boxes are opened yet.

Damaged Box While checking and cleaning each piece, it occurs to me that popular media has glamorized the life of the artist/craftsperson inspired by endless opportunities to be creative and sell work without selling your soul.

In questions for an upcoming interview (more about that in future posts), there were several questions about "the turning point" when I knew that I was successful? {Raised eyebrows and an audible "hunh", are you kinding? }

Other questions related to how I stay motivated?  Yes, there are various answers about how to stay motivated, but the REAL answer is to work even when you are not motivated.

California Dream Teapot by Harriete Estel Berman
  California Dream © 2001
  Recycled tin cans, Pentium chip
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Cleaning California Dream (carefully with Q-tips) reminds me about working on this teapot six years ago. I wasn't inspired at that time! It was more like overwhelming concern about finishing it in time for the show at Mobilia Gallery. Will anyone appreciate the messages and content issues?  Will anyone buy this teapot? Is it too big? Is it too small?Berman CAifornai Dream teapot under the base

Then a discovery
while cleaning this teapot tonight. I had forgotten all about it. Where no one ever sees -- the underside of the base.

The bottom is finished and complete even though no one can see it(left image) I even wrote "Bermaid" (adapting the Sun-Maid). Bermaid is a pseudonym for Berman (not a very good name for a feminist). I often sign my work, Bermaid, a reference to the fact that a woman (maid) made this, and a pun on "made by hand."

The secret details are always my favorite part. A personal investment that no one but a curator or collector ever see. Sometimes I take photos of the hidden side (bottom, inside, or back as in the examples shown below), but normally these details are not public during the exhibit.

Hourglass Figure: The Scale of Torture
Inside view of 
Hourglass Figure: The Scale of Torture
  © 1994
Recycled tin cans,
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Everyone always wonders how I keep going.  Exhibitions and purchases of the important pieces are not as frequent as in the past. The tough economy hits every level of the art world, but there is one thing you can always do....make your artwork for yourself.

Seder Plate by Harriete Estel Berman
  Back view of Seder Plate titled:
  Seven Days You Shall Eat Unleavened
  Bread, You Shall Remove Leaven
 From Your Houses © 2004-2005
 Recycled tin cans
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

No one ever said that the art and craft world was a good business model, it's not. Despite the plethora of online programs, podcasts, classes, marketing tips, and business gurus -- everything we offer for sale is a discretionary purchase. No one needs what we offer.  I don't care how much you promote your site, study your keywords or reinvent your metatags, a poor economy and a crowd of competition has everyone at a disadvantage.

OH MY, only 24 more boxes to open and inspect.  And one insurance claim to fill out. (more on how to make a Claim for Damaged Work soon.)

Wall peice by Harriete Estel Berman
back view of
Nice and Easy, Even If your
Marriage Doesn't Last Your Color Will
© 1997-98
Recycled tin cans, vintage steel
doll houses
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Maybe it's time to go to bed.  Didn't someone say, "tomorrow is another day."


Red April Flower with Orange Wheat Flower

Red April Flower with Orange Wheat Flower is a beautiful red zinnia color suitable for a man or woman. This bloom will never fade though it is the hottest in fashion trends to combine colors, patterns and floral motifs. Look for the layer with gold links from Elizabeth Arden tin as just one of the many petals. The back is a "Creme de Grand Marnier" which is really hard to find.  Send a message when you wear this pin of confidence and exclusivity at just 2 7/8" in diameter.

Blue, Yellow and Orange Flower with Celestial Seasoning Center

Harriete Estel Berman April Flower in honor of Earth Day in blue Yellow with Celestial Seasoning never stops blooming.
Blue, Yellow and Orange Flower with Celestial Seasoning Center is a metaphoric combination of blue and yellow “Celestial Nights” delights day or night in blue and yellow. On the back you can see my hallmark so that you know it is a Harriete Estel Berman one of a kind April Flower pin. At  3.1/2" diameter, it is the size of a real flower though it looks larger in the photo.
Harriete Estel Berman April Flower in honor of Earth Day in blue Yellow with Celestial Seasoning never stops blooming.

Worked returning from an exhibition? Did you fill out a Condition Report?

Last Thursday, 39 boxes were returned from an exhibition at the Loveland Museum.

The question and lesson arises, What is your job as the artist when receiving work back from an exhibition?

Several of the exterior boxes were dented, crushed and damaged as mentioned in the previous post.

Step 1. Remove the exterior shipping boxes. What a mess! Peanuts everywhere! That took four hours for two people. (Eight total work hours.)

Step 2. All the damaged exterior shipping boxes were saved in case a claims agent needs to see them. The boxes in good condition were collapsed and put away. Peanuts stored.

Harriete Estel Berman Consuming Conversation several stacks of teacups
Consuming Conversation © 2001-04
Recycled tin cans, brass, sterling silver
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Waiting in a box to be checked.

Step 3. Now to open the interior shipping boxes. When work is returned from an exhibition, I check every piece as soon as possible. With more that 39 pieces, this is a mini-marathon. There were over 72 tea cups alone, plus 36 grass panels. That's a lot of work!

Harriete Estel Berman Consuming Conversation 13 is three teacups.
Consuming Conversation © 2001-04
Recycled tin cans, brass, sterling silver
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Waiting in a box to be checked.

Step 4. All of the work needs to be cleaned and checked against the Condition Reports.

Before sending work to the Loveland Museum, the condition of all work was exaimined. Registrars at museums are really "picky" about this. Scratches, dents and imperfections were noted on the Condition Report. I made photocopies of my Condition Reports and mailed the originals to the museum along with the work.

The museum should have sent a copy of the Condition Reports noting the condition of the work upon arrival -- and again before it was returned. Each step in this process is an effort to document the condition of the work.

Harriete Estel Berman Obverse Obsession Chocolate Pot
Obverse Obsession © 2005
23” height   x   17” width
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Current location...waiting in a box to be

The museum did not return my Condition Reports, but I have a copy of my originals!

What is a Condition Report you ask?
The Professional Guidelines has a sample Condition Report  Download CONDITION REPORT.

The purpose of the Condition Report is to document the condition of your work:

  • when it leaves your studio;
  • at each exhibition location (if it is in a traveling exhibition);
  • when it is packed to be returned
  • and when it arrives back at your studio.

This Condition Report establishes a clear expectation about how you want your work to be handled.

Harriete Estel Berman Consuming Identity a chair constructed from recycled tin cans.
Consuming Identity © 2001
Recycled tin cans, fabric,
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Waiting in its crate to be checked.

I made a photocopy of my Condition Reports filled out before the work was shipped to the Loveland Museum. Now begins the tedious task of cleaning and checking each piece. 

At least with a thorough Condition Report, you can make a Claim for Damaged Work if it is ever necessary.  


Bright Yellow Flower with center in Hot Pink with Neon Green dots

Harriete Estel Berman Bright Yellow Flower with Hot Pink Center and Neon Green dots is one of the brightest and gay April Flowers from recycled materials. A hot fashion statement that sizzles with sunshine.
Bright Yellow Flower with  Hot Pink Center with Neon Green dots is one of the brightest and gay April Flowers I made from upcycled, post consumer refuse transformed into the spring and summer fashion statement. I love the fact that it uses a combination of the most mundane materials transformed into amazing, irresistible  flower  pins the size of a real flower at 3 1/8" in diameter. The includes a hot pink heart tied up with a black bow.

Pink April Flowers with Center Couple Dancing

Harriete EStel Berman April Flower with Couple Dancing in Honor of Earth Day.
Pink Flower with Couple Center of Victorian Soldier and Lady dancing is romantic and one of the few April Flowers in pink petite size at 2 ¾” diameter. Constructed entirely from post consumer recycled tin cans in honor of Earth Day 2010. This year our Earth Day was a huge success with a vast improvement to the appearance of our neighborhood island.

DAMN! Damaged boxes! Claims for Damaged Work.

The life of the artist is soooo.... romantic, right? Today's post is an extra big reality bite. It's not always a pretty picture!

Livingroom a mess with 39 boxes 39 boxes were returned today from a wonderful exhibition at the Loveland Museum.  BUT . . . Damaged Boxes!  Aaarrgghhh! Before I go further...... let's review and make this a learning experience.  

The exhibition at the Loveland Museum was a tremendous opportunity. It was also a huge amount of work just to prepare all the materials prior to the exhibition. This includes photos, correspondence, Condition Reports, and putting all the work in shipping boxes.  It was two solid days of backbreaking work (for two people) just to DOUBLE BOX ALL THE WORK for shipping. Thank goodness all my work is double boxed... more later.


Alyson Stanfield and Harriete Estel Berman at the Loveland Museum
At the opening of my exhibition at the
Loveland Museum with Alyson Stanfield
Photo Credit: 
Alyson Stanfield

Going to the exhibition 
was the easy part.  The exhibition was beautifully installed! My lecture was well received. The museum graciously paid for me to fly out, lecture, and attend the opening and "walk through," etc. All that is great!

Driveway crushed box.

FLASH FORWARD.  THURSDAY, April 22, the 39 boxes return home. Shipping boxes are obviously crushed in! This is not a good sign.

Lesson #1 Use the Claims for Damaged Work in the Professional Guidelines for a tutorial on what needs to be done.

Inside TRUCK with damaged boxes Lesson #2.  As soon as the truck arrives start shooting photos. If the work turns out to be completely safe, you can delete the photos. In this case, however, I noticed damage to the boxes before they were even removed from the truck.

Driveway 17 crush bottom of another box. I photographed every box THAT  WAS DAMAGED as it came off the truck.

I informed the truck driver, to make sure he notices the damaged boxes also.  Be nice to the driver.  It's not his fault.

Photograph the boxes.

Did I say, Be polite and business like.

Driveway 16 crushed box Report damages to the shipping agent, shipping company, and the museum staff.  Six damaged boxes out of 39 is bad news!

Wait........stay tuned....I'll let you know what they say. Sometimes they want to look at the boxes before you open them. Sometimes they will say, go ahead and open the boxes to see if the work is damaged. Always be cautious and follow their instructions. If the work is damaged in transit, you want to be able to make a successful claim for damaged work.

Stay tuned!


P.S. I know some may wonder why my work is not in crates...but crates are heavy, real heavy, for shipping. Crates are also expensive and time-consuming to make and to store. Crates make it impossible for one person to carry a box.

These days with shipping costs so high, higher than ever, I try to keep the total shipping weight as low as possible. Shipping expenses are a concern for museums, exhibition spaces, galleries, and artists, too! Many times I can't be in a show if the museum can't cover the shipping. 

Custom made interior shipping boxes and double boxing for shipping is my answer.

What is your answer for shipping?

Names, Names, What's in a name?


(back view) of Harriete Estel Berman April Flower with Pear Center
  April Flower in Reds and Browns © 2010
  Post Consumer recycled tin cans
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: emiko oye

Recently, a reader asked me if she should change her was rather long with first, middle and then two last names....first husband, second husband.  Maybe it was serendipity, but a couple of other readers contacted me with similar questions at about the same time.  The concerns run the gamut from worries about whether their names were too long or too short, easy to remember or confusing, easy to spell, too common or absolutely unique. What's in a Name?

Can I make a recommendation? Pick one name and stick with it!


Harriete Estel Berman April Flower with Pear Center
April Flower in Reds and Browns © 2010
  (back view)
  Post Consumer recycled tin cans.
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Photo Credit: emiko oye

The primary importance is that your professional identity gets established.  This takes time and consistency.  Every single account for all your social networks, correspondence and email, websites, and your signature should be the same (or at least as similar as possible). It doesn't matter if your name is complicated or uncomplicated, stick with one name.

If by chance you have a common name....such as Adam Evans, or Don Low, then try using your middle name permanently for all correspondence.  I decided thirty years ago that Harriete Berman wasn't unique enough, so I started using "Harriete Estel Berman". The fact that my name "Harriete" is spelled a little differently also created some spelling error problems -  and a unique identity - the yin and yang of every name.

As another example, I met Mary Anne Enriquez through her flickr group as the "urbanwoodswalker", but there was another email "Waterswirl56", plus her name.  Through months of correspondence, I was confused ...until I realized that this one person had several online identities, five email names and at least three different names on social networking sites. No wonder I was so confused. If you want to use a more poetic moniker such as Mary Anne, why not go with "Mary Anne Enriquez - the Urban Woods Walker." This develops a much clearer identity, sounds almost like a book already.

Most social networking sites will now allow you to even use your name instead of a number. Try your best to use one name or a variation of that one name for everything.  Stop switching it around for different sites and social groups. I know sometimes they have a limit on the number of letters, require different formats or that your name may be taken.  Just do the best you can to create one professional identity.

Harriete Estel Berman custom made name tag with green detail and colored lettering. If I were starting over, I would work for even more consistency in the way I formatted my name. This is why I am writing this post. I am giving you my words of wisdom gained from experience. Learn from my mistakes.

For people just starting out and looking to establish their professional identity as an artist or maker, pick one name (possibly including your middle name) and then repeatedly use the same name for your website, email, social networking and Etsy site. Professionally, I do not recommend selecting cute or fancy names for your "shop" or website.

Think about how effective one name is for Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher, and Vera Wang. Each one of these designers started somewhere small and unknown to develop their identity. You can too.   

Harriete Estel Berman custom made name tag in brown and gold metallic. If the fashion world doesn't relate to your work, think Picasso, Modigliani, or Voulkos. One name can carry you through the various phases and development of your work.

Pick one name and try one format as close as you can for all sites, tags, keywords, photo descriptions, exhibitions, and shows. Skip the cutesy shop names and online identities.

Harriete Estel Berman 
custom made name tag in brillant yellow, red and white . Creating an identity for your work and your name is part of your "recipe for success".

Harriete (with an "e" at the end) Estel Berman.
Examples of my professional contacts are below:

  • My blog
  • Twitter
  • crafthaus
  • flickr
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn

Find me on your favorite social network.


April Flower Brooches by Harriete Estel Berman
 April Flowers created by Harriete Estel Berman in honor of Earth Day
 © 2010. These April Flowers are available for purchase on Etsy and
 Object Fetish /Jewelry.
 Photo Credit: emiko oye

Old Time Quality April Flower in Reds to Yellows

OLD Time Quality April Flower Pin by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed from recycled tin cans.
Old Time Quality April Flower is a petite April Flower pin at  2 7/8” Diameter constructed from post consumer recycled tin cans in honor of Earth Day 2010. Let your wardrobe flourish with fashion and thinking green. Every time I wear a flower pin it is flowered with compliments. If you want to purchase a Flower pin, just contact me anytime.

Opinions from Joanna Golberg, Don Friedlich and Alan Revere about using their Step-by-Step Instructions.

Three authors of step-by-step instructions, Joanna Golberg, Don Friedlich, and Alan Revere offer their opinions about how makers should utilize their step-by-step instructions. This is the third post on the legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of step-by-step instructions. The previous two posts offered my opinion for Protecting my Step-by-Step Jewelry Designs? and Can I duplicate published patterns as my own work?

The crux of the issue is what happens after step-by-step patterns are published, then used as tutorials for education or creative inspiration. The replies from Don Friedlich, Alan Revere, and Joanna Golberg are below edited only for clarity and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASKHarriete or Harriete Estel Berman. No endorsement or refutation is intended or implied.

One more point, while my examples here have a jewelry focus, there are tutorials available in all media and the issues are the same.

Joannagollberg An interview with JOANNA GOLBERG:

Harriete asks:
How would you feel if someone made a copy of a project from any of your books and then sold the work as their own?

I have actually seen this occur, I saw someone on Etsy selling a pair of earrings from a  project in Making Metal Jewelry: Projects, Techniques, Inspiration I do not care if someone does this, as those projects are put out there (not as my work), but as free designs for others to use.  (Sort of like in the Dover design books, I like to think.)  However, my HOPE in putting projects out there is that people will use the projects as a design guide and will change them suitably to come up with their own designs.  I know this does not always happen, but that is what I hope people will do. If they don't, it does not bother me personally. I keep my designs for my business out of the books.

Or alternatively, if they wanted to sell the work with an attribution such as “from the design/project of" [insert name of the book or name of the maker here] or something to that affect would be fine too. 

Harriete asks:
I didn’t notice any proviso in the books in my library.  Is there a statement in any of the books that say, "the step-by-step projects may be constructed only for personal use and not sold as a commercial item?"


  The Art & Craft of Making Jewelry
  © 2006 by Joanna Gollberg
   Page 47 showing step by step
   instructions by Joanna Gollberg.

No.  They cannot copy any of the text and reprint it, and they could not copy the project and say it is their own in print as a step-by-step anywhere, but they could certainly make the projects and sell them.  I think it is a little shameful for people to call those projects their own designs, but if they make them, it is their own WORK...just not their design. I hope they would recognize the difference, but also realize some wouldn't.  It takes all kinds, you know. I am happy to help people make things.

I want people to start with my books' projects, then branch out on their own and make their own designs once they have practiced the skills and techniques from my designs.  If this does not happen, that's OK, too.  I think it is so important for people to make things with their hands.  I love to be able to help other people do this. 

Harriete asks: 
Have you ever discussed this issue before with Lark Books (or another book publisher)?

Yes.  My editor and I have discussed this.  When I put a design out there in a how-to book, I cannot call it my own, for my personal use only.  I have given permission for everyone else to make it by printing the designs in a how-to book. That is why I am careful about what designs I put in my books.

Interview with DON FRIEDLICH: 

Don Friedlich produced one series of step-by-step instructions as a chapter in the book,  Professional Goldsmithing. In this example, Don Friedlich's instructions were not generic tutorials of a technique, but a clear step-by-step tutorial by the jeweler of his own work.


Harriete asks: How would you feel if someone made a copy of your step-by-step project in Alan Revere’s book Professional Goldsmithing: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Jewelry Techniques and then sold the work as their own? 

Don Friedlich: My first reaction is not to be happy about it. But, when Alan Revere did the book, I knew it was possible. He stated it upfront when he contacted me.

Harriete asks: How would you feel if someone make a copy of your step-by-step project  and then wanted to sell the work with the attribution “from the design/project of Don Friedlich”, (or something to that affect)?

Erosion Series Brooch        ©        1985
Slate, 22k gold, 14k gold, sterling,
Artist: Don Friedlich
Photo Credit:  James Beards

Don Friedlich: For me, doing that piece would be really hard for someone else. That's always my best defense to being knocked off. The "you have to be crazy to try this" defense. In general, I have a real problem with people copying others' ideas. There will always be some cross-pollinating going on, but it is a matter of degree.

A woman at the shows once knocked off my slate work. She had come by my booth for years, sometimes with her family, to see my work. Then it appeared in her booth. I was quite upset. Plus the work was made poorly and much cheaper than mine.

You feel a little violated.

Harriete asks: Is there a statement in the book that says that the step-by-step projects may be reproduced only for personal use and not sold as a commercial project?

Don Friedlich: I don't recall if there is anything in the book about it.

Interview with ALAN REVERE Alan Revere published a book titled, Professional Goldsmithing with step-by-step instructions by several different jewelers.

AlanRevere Harriete asks:
How would you feel if someone made a copy of a project from your Professional Goldsmithing: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Jewelry Techniques book and then sold the work as their own?

Alan Revere:
I think they are acting dishonestly if they claim the design is theirs. However, if they acknowledge that it is classic or traditional and they made one for sale, that's more honest. Unless noted otherwise (as in The The Art Of Jewelry Making: Classic & Original Designs, which explicitly states the pieces may be copied for non-commercial purposes) when I publish an instructional book, I am giving away the information and will not protect the rights.

Harriete asks:
Is there a statement in the book that says that the step-by-step projects may be constructed only for personal use and not sold as a commercial item?

Alan Revere:
Only in The Art Of Jewelry Making: Classic & Original Designs because it is about other people's work.

Purple Bead Identity Necklace  © 2001
Recycled tin cans, brass, electrical wire
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Similar necklace featured in The Art &
Craft of Making Jewelry
by Joanna

I hope that this discussion about step-by-step instructions has been enlightening. While there are many books offering step-by-step instructions, it is clearly the intent of the authors to offer this information for education, fostering creativity, skill development, and personal enjoyment.

Thereafter, it becomes the maker's responsibility to understand that if they faithfully reproduce the step-by-step instructions, they are not the designer, they are the maker. Using designs or construction methods from other authors/designers in your work will always be a copy or imitation of the original. Whether it is copied from a step-by-step book or an image published in a book, magazine or online, it places an ethical limitation on how you can show or sell this work.

The really challenging part of making anything is coming up with your own ideas. It also offers the greatest reward. At some point, I think it is important to close the book, put it back onto your library shelves or turn off the computer and start doing your own problem solving and creative designs. This is when your work will truly start to blossom and become ( your name here)'s work with a unique identity.


P.S. Books mentioned on ASK Harriete are in the sidebar to the right. These are affiliate links. IF you purchase a book, this blog may receive a few pennies.


Yellow Flower Black with Gold Scrollwork Center in Honor of Earth Day

Yellow April Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman is available for purchase. Constructed from post consumer recycled tin cans in honor of Earth Day and thinking green.
Yellow Flower Black with Gold Scrollwork Center
in Honor of Earth Day is a Marigold Yellow color and the size of a 3" flower. The multiple petals are cut very carefully with no sharp edges, the steel makes this pin strong and rigid. It is NOT made from aluminum cans which are flimsy and fade quickly.  View all my April Flowers on Flickr, I am still uploading them to other sites. 

April Flower in Reds and Browns wtih Yellow Pear Center

HBerman_pearBrownRed_flowerW HBerman_pearBrownRedBACK_flowerW
April Flower in Reds and Browns with Yellow Pear Center (both front and back view) is constructed from post consumer recycled tin cans. Each petal is carefully cut in multiple layers. This April Flower is 3 3/4" in diameter. Thinking green and being green can be one with this fashion forward pin. What are you doing for Earth Day?.

April Flower in Baby Blue Flower with Pink and Green Diamond Center

April Flower Baby Blue Flower with Pink and Green Diamond Center constructed by Harriete Estel Berman from post consumer recycled tin cans in honor of Earth Day. This fashion statement for spring is 3 1/8" in diameter, about the size of a real flower. I was in high school for the first Earth Day. We walked to school and walked home following the flower child goals for a green earth in 1970.
Photo Credit: emiko oye

Can I duplicate published patterns as my own work?

Luci Wilder sent an email with numerous questions prompted by the recent article in Lapidary Journal, Jewelry Artist, April 2010 written by  Sharon Elaine Thompson. I have divided her email into two separate posts. Click here to read part one. This is part two.

ci Wilder's Blue Dream necklace.
Blue Dreams ©   Luci Wilder
Sterling Silver, Lapis Lazuli cabochon

Hi Harriete,
If I purchase a pattern book, am I able to make and sell pieces made from the published pattern?
I ask because while I've got a piece of embroidery in the Smithsonian, it wasn't my pattern, only my adaptation of another designer's pattern (and I didn't sell it, I was "invited" by a former First Lady's secretary to stitch a piece for a White House Christmas Tree and I never made any claim that it was my design).  Now I find I've fallen in love with making jewelry... some with original designs by me that I would like to have published.. and others that are made from published patterns... it's the latter that concerns me... what I would like to do is give credit to the original designer, the magazine or book where the pattern is published as well as to the crafts person whom I contracted to make handmade glass beads, which I may want to use in a published patterned piece...

Basically, I'm asking is it "OK" for me to do all of the above? I do not want in any way to do anything illegal, but do feel that if I publish a pattern I'm giving everyone the right to make a piece of jewelry from that pattern, right?
Luci Wilder

Witness the Weight of Words is a close-up image showing the quilt pattren constructed with recycled tin cans.
Witnessing the Weight of Words © 1996
(close-up view)
Recycled tin cans, aluminum rivets,
electric motor.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip
Traditional quilt pattern used as a format
for contemporary commentary.
Permanent Collection Racine Art Museum

The examples in this post and in the previous post illustrate many historical precedents for use of patterns and step by step instructions.

Witness the Weight of Words by Harriete Estel Berman is based on a traditional Quilt pattern.
Witnessing the Weight of Words © 1996
Recycled tin cans, aluminum rivets,
electric motor,
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Traditional quilt pattern used as a format
for contemporary commentary.
Permanent Collection Racine Art Museum

I'd like to first comment on things like an embroidery stitch which may have 100's of years of historical precedent and are elemental components which may be included in an infinite variety of patterns. The personal creativity is in the layout of the stitches. However, If you copied the larger pattern for the layout of the stitches, this is definitely a gray area.

The legality of copying depends on whether the design is in the public domain or not.  Most copyrights expire 75 years after the designer's death. 

Quilt patterns are another example with over 100 years of folk tradition. Copying a traditional quilt pattern does not infringe on the copyright.The contemporary use of quilt patterns may be drawing on this long history of "woman's' work" as a commentary or a traditional quilt pattern may serve as inspiration for another interpretation. There is no copyright right infringement on quilt patterns with a long history. 

Also, there is nothing wrong with using published patterns (assuming that you obtained the pattern in a lawful manner) to make or even copy an object for your own use or for educational purposes.  Step by step instructions and patterns supplied in contemporary books, magazines or television shows are provided exactly for this purpose.

Stencil 101 Book image I draw the line at using step by step instructions or purchased patterns and then claiming the work as your own.   

Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of CraftsIn my opinion, even with proper attribution to the instructions or pattern, the items should not be sold or published as original work. No work based on step by step instructions should be produced as a commercial product either as one of a kind or as multiples for sale.  This type of commercial application goes beyond the intent of the step by step instructions for the purpose of education, fostering creativity, developing skills, or personal enjoyment.

Recipe Card Design by Harriete Estel Berman Professionally, I see your questions representing a complex set of issues with many every day parallels.   For example, we use recipes frequently (essentially a set of step by step instructions), and you are encouraged to enjoy sharing your cooking with your family.  But it would be unethical to enter a baking contest and claim the recipe as your own.   

IN SUMMARY, it is fine to follow a pattern or step by step instructions for your education, skill development and personal enjoyment, but the resulting work should not be sold or published under your name as your original work even with attribution to the source.

Stay tuned to the next post with comments by individuals or authors of step by step books based on their experience producing step by step instructions. Let's see what they have to say.


Protecting my Step-by-Step Jewelry Designs?

Luci Wilder sent an email with numerous questions prompted by the recent post and article in Lapidary Journal, Jewelry Artist, April 2010 written by  Sharon Elaine Thompson titled, Intellectual Property. Her questions were divided into two separate posts. This is part one.

WilderDenmark in Silver
Denmark in Silver by Luci Wilder
Sterling Silver,
unakite, found object
rt Nouveaux broach possibly Goerge Jensen.

Hi Harriete,
If I design a piece of jewelry and release the design for public use through publication in something like Step by Step Wire Jewelry, is it protected from commercial reproduction?
Luci Wilder

If you write step by step instructions for making artwork, it is a reasonable assumption that people will sit down and follow your instructions. That is why you wrote the instructions,  right? 

Now you want to control what people do with the finished product. Perhaps only beginners or hobbyists need step by step instructions and they will not claim that this is their design for commercial purposes.  But a published design probably increases the risk of being copied.

Have you considered a proviso at the bottom of the instructions? Something like this:

These step by step instructions are provided by (your name) and (name of magazine) for educational purposes only. Duplication of this design for commercial purposes including, but not limited to, selling, reproduction as a published image in a book, magazine or internet or reproduced as a production item in multiples, is prohibited.

New Yankee Workshop BACKGROUND: There is a long history of selling patterns to the public. This dates back to 19th century women's magazines such as Ladies Home Companion that included patterns for clothing, embroidery, and quilting in the magazines. As another example, going back to the 18th century there were many books published with decorative motifs, pattern books and templates for furniture and household decorative arts.  Current television programs such as the New Yankee Workshop and The Woodright's Shop all offer patterns for wood workers. Some of these shows offer patterns for purchase, others offer step by step instructions for free online with the presumption that the television show makes its revenue from another source.

As another example, Alabama Chanin produces one of a kind line of clothing, but also wrote a series of "how-to" books such as Alabama Stitch Book: Projects and Stories Celebrating Hand-Sewing, Quilting and Embroidery for Contemporary Sustainable Style with her methods spelled out in detailed instruction for the D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) makers. (Look in the right-hand column of this blog to see her books.) She also teaches workshops when she visits a city for her more exclusive trunk shows at the stores that sell her clothing line. She generates a following and revenue stream from each venue. These are just a few examples of patterns and step by step instructions. I could keep going for pages and pages.

In all the above examples, including Luci's, it is unethical to claim such patterns as your own for commercial reproduction.

While step by step instructions have value as a tutorial for education or creative inspiration, the final product should be for personal enjoyment and never be exhibited outside your home or claimed as your own creation.  It is unacceptable to take any one else's pattern, kit or product and sell or publish it as your own design.

Project-runway To avoid entirely the "pattern/step-by-step" issue, the garment design contestants on the television show Project Runway are not allowed to use any patterns from outside sources. All the work needs to be an original design from start to finish. Clearly, the television producers realize how important it is for the contestants to produce entirely original work from start to finish.

My recommendation for anyone in Luci Wilder's shoes would be to select from the following options:

  • include a disclaimer  as suggested above;
  • create special projects that are very different from your own art or craft so that you do not think people are copying your personal style or identity;
  • discontinue creating Step by step instructions (if this issue bothers you);
  • let go of this issue and make sure you feel that you were properly compensated for creating the step by step by patterns in the first place.

Stay tuned for Part Two of Luci Wilder's questions and additional posts....this issue is quite complex.

If you have any ideas or suggestions regarding this issue please leave them as a comment. I would like to hear what the readers of ASK Harriete have to say. Do you use step by step instructions? Fine. Do you sell or promote work created following a step-by-step project as your work? What do you think are the consequences of this action?

April Flower Nutrition Brooch as a special commission from recycled tin cans by Harriete Estel Berman in honor of Earth Day.Harriete Estel Berman's April Flower Nutrition Brooch back view shows the nutrition label.
April Flower Nutrition Brooch constructed entirely from nutrition labels from post consumer recycled tin cans in honor of Earth Day 2010 by Harriete Estel Berman.  This image shows the front and back.
Photo Credit: emiko oye. This April Flower pin is sold.
Stay tuned for more April Flower pins on ASK Harriete.

Fair Use and Copyright Infringement Highlighted in Jewelry Artists Magazine



White Cambells Carnation Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman.
 Campbell's Carnation Brooch © 2010
 Post consumer recycled tin cans by
 Harriete Estel Berman.  This April
 Flower Brooch is sold. 
 Jewelry.  Photo Credit: emiko oye

We've had a lively discussion about copyright, Fair Use, and intellectual property on numerous occasions. You can find all the posts on Copyright Issues here.

Our discussions have been noticed by others, as indicated by an interesting article titled, Intellectual Property in Jewelry Artists Magazine April 2010 issue.

2 Nicolas Feuillatte Bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Bracelets
©  Harriete Estel Berman
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

This article covers many issues including, copyright and trademark including a fabulous layout of my work.
(Check out the thumbnail images of the article below.) Find this magazine issue at your local bookstore or library.

The article even references my practical list of Fair Use Guidelines that itemizes key factors in a brief and easy to understand format.

Stay tuned for two important questions from Luci Wilder prompted by this article (in the next two posts). Lucy raises critical concerns regarding the use of step-by-step instructions published in books and magazines.


TItlePAGE.72 Page32.72 Orange and Yellow Identity Necklace constructed by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled tin cans.
Page34.72 Page35.72

Learning Digital Skills - What's the best way?

 Fossil Purple April Flower Brooch  with peach, purple, and ocher   © 2010
 Post consumer recycled tin cans.  Posted in honor of Earth Day.
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman                   Photo Credit: Emiko Oye 

Lots of people ask me how I learned to work on my own web site.  My answer: I (like most everyone) have to learn by doing.  And, yes, it was frustrating at first (for several weeks). But each frustration was overcome and the bits of knowledge began to coalesce into skills and gratification. 

Bnr_120x60-lynda-border To get started, a friend or mentor may be best for some people to learn the basics.  I prefer to just jump into the frying pan and started by learning how to use Dreamweaver using as my virtual tutor. All of the lessons are video tutorials divided into manageable bits most two to five minutes in length. let me learn at my own pace at any time of day or night which was very practical in my chaotic schedule. The online instructions could be repeated over and over with no frustration on the instructor's part or I could jump ahead to a new topic or search for solutions to a particular issue.   

It has worked so well for me that I have also learned PhotoShop, Illustrator, even Flickr and Twitter with 

lynda.comI like it and continue to use it personally.  For full disclosure, I signed up to be an affiliate with  But I would recommend this regardless because it is the best method I know of to show you how to increase your software skills. If you are like me, reading instructions from a book to learn how to use software is really difficult (for me almost impossible). is now offering a free 24-hour trial membership. I recommend you take advantage of this offer. Each one of the images below will take you to Give it a try for free and test it for yourself.Illustrator tutorials

InDesign tutorials

ThreepinBERMAID72GRAdded Benefits   Learning these software skills adds benefits beyond just your web site. My newly learned Illustrator skills enabled me to learn how to format documents for a laser cutter when I was experimenting at the TECH Shop. I also jumped over to the Corel Draw tutorials because this software was used to run the laser cutter. On the right, you can see several pins made on the laser cutter from recycled game boards for the Pin Swap at the SNAG Conference. 

Photoshop or Photoshop Elements is essential for editing your photos. The online photo editing applications may be good enough for your family photos, but they don't offer enough tools for professional quality images of your art or craft. You need the flexibility and tools that Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) offer to fix your photos.

Get the skills you need as a professional artist with on your home computer. No commute. No driving, no parking, no appointment necessary.


 (Back View) Fossil Purple April Flower Brooch  with peach, purple,
 © 2010      Post consumer recycled tin cans in honor of Earth Day.
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman                   Photo Credit: Emiko Oye 

Kiss Center Green April Flower Brooch in Honor of Earth Day

April Flower Green Kiss Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman is jewelry using recycled materials.
  Kiss Center Green April Flower Brooch © 2010 is constructed from post
  consumer recycled tin cans by Harriete Estel Berman in honor of Earth Day.
  Photo Credit: emiko oye. 

Thinking green and being green can be all in one with this upcycle fashion statement. Look really closely, I even figured out how to use the lid of a peanut butter jar!
Guess which layer!

Photographing Your Artwork? Bounce Cards Add Light and Fill in Deep Shadows

I have asked my photographer, Philip Cohen of Philip Cohen Photographic, to write a Guest Post about his #1 favorite pro-photographer trick. It costs pennies, requires no fancy equipment, and can really improve your photographic images. Use this tip with either natural, diffuse daylight (on an overcast day) or with your photo lights.

Note: The opinions expressed by the author, Philip Cohen, in this post are his and his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASKHarriete or Harriete Estel Berman. No endorsement or refutation is intended or implied.

From the pen of photographer Philip Cohen.
Bounce cards are made of white foam core or mat board. You can make a brighter bounce card by gluing silver mylar to foamcore.

Philip Cohen example photography with No Bounce Cards Setup: Start with a white background and some soft light from above. The smooth background focuses attention on the subject and bounces some light onto the underside of the subject.

Problem: The background alone provides pleasant but dull lighting with deep shadows at the bottom.

Philip Cohen photography tip #1 with bounce Cards Solution: Add bounce cards! In this second photo, I used both white and silver reflectors on the side (outside of the camera's view) to illuminate and define the artwork. The bounce cards ease up the shadows and create reflections that show off the lines of the piece. 

Final Image: The softened shadows anchor the artwork in the photo and the plain, uncolored background doesn't conflict with the color of the piece.


Philip Cohen Photographic image of Zahava Sherez ceramics
Zahava Sherez © 2010
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Featured artwork by Zahava Sherez.

Harriete Estel Berman

For additional photography tips, Steve Meltzer authored two books that can help your photography efforts. They are both shown in the right column of this blog. His information is always practical and relatively easy to follow. CLICK ON THE BOOKS Capture the Light: A Guide for Beginning Digital Photographers and Photographing Arts, Crafts & Collectibles: Take Great Digital Photos for Portfolios, Documentation, or Selling on the Web (A Lark Photography Book) to see if has a used copy to save you some money.

You can also refer to two documents in the Professional Guidelines with helpful image information.

  Guide TO Professional Quality Images

  Working with Digital Images Effectively

*The books in the right column and listed above are affiliate links. Clicking on the links and buying through could possibly provide this blog a few pennies to keep on going. Thanks for your support.