Red April Flower with Orange Wheat Flower
Pricing Your Work - Not Just Another Pricing Lecture: A Dialog About Pricing Your Work

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 the 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 artwork 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 kidding?}

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 sees. 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 have 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?"


This post was updated on January 14, 2022.