RECYCLE: Can Jewelry Carry a Message?
Strategic Thinking When Applying to a Juried Opportunity

A Vision Beyond the Moment?

In July 2011, I was interviewed for an online e-commerce site called e-junkies. The website is no longer up but they had lots of practical and interesting information about e-commerce, trendy products, small business, and self-publishing. 


When I posted a link to the interview on Facebook, Alison Antelman commented, "This is a quote that I really like (from the interview), 'There needs to be a vision beyond the moment.' Well said!"

Password72 Do you have a vision beyond the moment?
Are you thinking beyond the making?

   Password Flower Brooch with glasses
   Post Consumer recycled tin cans
   Harriete Estel Berman  © 2011
   Diameter 3 1/8"
   Retail Price $425.


We makers typically love "making" so much that it is easy to forget the most important tool is our brains.  This is why the current knitting mania is driving me nuts ..... especially when justified with little excuses....the "pleasure" derived from the absence of thought and quips such as, "I can knit without thinking." blah, blah, blah.


ELIZABETHhOWARDThis post was prompted by a recent quote in the ACC series, Why I Make (which explores the human impulse to create).  Elizabeth Howard wrote, "When I switch on my knitting hands, I can take time off from the thoughts in my head.  Knitting - usually done haphazardly, without a clue what BOs and yos are - releases me from having to tune in (at that moment) to that always-chugging creative engine." 

My jaw dropped. This may appeal to a hobby audience, but I couldn't believe that this rationale appeared in an ACC publication. 

THE 'gOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLEY I don't want to paint knitting as the "bad guy," but this overt joy of mental separation from the making that is sweeping the craft world is just one example.  Other parallels are everywhere...IN ALL MEDIA whether working at the potter's wheel, weaving a basket, sanding wood, mixing a glaze, making handmade chains.  


  Page from Manufractured © 2009
  Recycled tin cans, steel dollhouses
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
   Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

It is fine if you just want to make, but many makers also want to see their work in exhibitions, shows, and books.  And that is the key, this higher level of recognition requires constant, active, thoughtful inspiration, not just aspiration.  

41+veDJYNuL._SL160_ If you enjoy sitting there happy as a clam because you are making, that is OK.   But without thought, the finished work will indeed have no vision....and I assure you....any editor, publisher, or exhibition jury will look at the work and see that it had no vision.

Here are a couple of suggestions for a "thinking while making:"


  • Plan the display of the work early. Anticipate success.
  • Construct the work so that it can be repaired if damaged.
  • Write down thoughts for your artist statement.
  • Keep the main objective for the work forefront in your mind
  • Experiment and take risks. Challenge yourself beyond "safe" work.
  • Think about the photo early while you make the work.*

My sincerest unapologetic opinion,


* The recent Professional Development Seminar at the 2011 SNAG Conference, photographer Roger Schreiber recommended that artists and makers think about the photographic documentation of their work sooner. This is especially important for fabulous photos. You can see a "preview" of the PowerPoint and audio of the Professional Development Seminar. (I am still fine-tuning the slide image transitions.) Your feedback is most welcome.

M2L_YellowFlowerScroll72. askH M2L_YellowFlowerScroll_bkah

Yellow Flower Scroll Doorpost Mezuzah
Dimensions: 7.25” length

This post was updated on February 8, 2022.