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September 2013

De-Installation Without the Artist on Site

If you want your art or craft to travel the world, then unpacking, installation, de-installation, and repacking are crucial issues to anticipate before the artwork or craft leaves your studio.

De-Installation of Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin

Most of us don't have staff who can travel with the artwork for repacking.

My artwork has to travel without me. Therefore I always include detailed Unpacking, Installation, De-Installation and repacking instructions with my artwork when it is shipped out. That is an important concept for every artist and maker who want their artwork to travel to new exhibition opportunities.

But for my very large work, Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin, I realized that a more effective outreach demo for prospective exhibition locations was needed. That is why I created this presentation on YouTube:

With links to the installation and de-installation I am ready to demonstrate in a couple of minutes. Now the challenge is to find exhibition locations.

Packing up the pencils from the installation about education Pick Up Your Pencils, Begini
In this photo, my son and I are laying the pencils
in the custom made paper envelope designed for storage and shipping.

P.S. As anyone who has organized a show with tell you, repacking the work for return shipping is a nightmare. You can hear what French Thompson had to say in this interview with me, Harriete Estel Berman on Jay Whaley Metalsmith Bench Talk on Blog Talk Radio. (Listen while you work with this archived version.)

A previous ASK Harriete post - "Finding Exhibition Opportunities - Instructions for Unpacking, Assembly, Display, and Re-Packing" offered detailed examples for shipping Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin.

Whispering When I Have Lost My Voice

Once a year, it seems, I completely lose my voice due to laryngitis after a cold.  It has taught me a valuable lesson. When I whisper, people whisper back.  Even if I'm angry, my whispered words are repaid with a whispered response.  In other words, whispering eliminates the possibility of escalating a difficult situation beyond a whisper.

HarrietelipsI think that this idea could be applied to many situations, especially with online discussions that can easily be misunderstood.  Whispering causes me to stop and think how to say what needs to be said as simply and clearly as possible. This "stop and think" mode also causes me to remove the emotional or extreme reactions.  I realize that listening to the other person enables me to shape my comments to address their concerns, not just mine.

It works for me.  I'd love to hear your comments or suggestions.


Rude, Insulting, Closed Minded, Uncivil, Angry, Aggressive

Rude, Insulting, Closed Minded, Uncivil, Angry, Aggressive

Rude Online Behavior
For some months, I have been appalled by the name calling, swearing, belligerent, and deliberately inflammatory comments that often arise in online discussions.
The bitterness, rancor, devaluation, and harsh judgements appear in multiple locations, and in different networks.

Be-Good-Randy-CohenRandy Cohen in his book BE GOOD observed that a "savage response" solidifies disagreement, makes enduring enemies, changes nobody’s thinking, garners no dinner invitations."

Cohen continues: "And so eventually I forsook the pleasure of the punch-up for another strategy: a  soft answer turneth away wrath.”
He says: “I began ignoring the tone of even the angriest e-mails and responding courteously to the sense of it. Just as an experiment. Often, even the author of a barbarous e-mail would then reply politely. Sometimes he’d apologize for his initial intemperance. My first, unworthy, thought, I’d hit upon a cunning way to make my tormentor feel guilty while I seized the moral high ground. Brilliant!”

“My second thought was to recall that Lincoln had invoked something similar in March of 1861, in his First Inaugural Address, in regard to a vastly graver conflict, urging “Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection,” and appealing to “the better angels of our nature.” Even for something as modest as an e-mail [or online] argument, that’s excellent advice.

Endorsement is not necessary, but  if you agree with this post about online discussion etiquette consider sharing it on your social network, adding your own ideas in the comments, or adopting it as your policy.

ChamberpotwithheadofnapoleonPotUPDATE: Brigitte Martin recently wrote a post on Crafthaus about a parallel topic titled: Feeling Superior Does Not Help With Anything.

Martin says: "I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of the unmerciful, self-anointed experts on either end of the spectrum who think nothing of dragging someone else down publicly and having their buddies cheer them on to boot. This is called bullying in my book and it really has to stop!" 

Read her entire post by clicking on the title above.

Twitter and Facebook are now taking proactive approaches to bullying. A 2012 article on the Huffington Post says, "Are you surprised to learn that 15,000 bullying-related tweets are posted daily?"   Twitter now has a Twitter Help Center to report Online Abuse.

A previous post was a review of the book: BE GOOD- Ethical decisions & advice


RECYCLE Art Without Waste Opportunity

Do you work in recycled, re-purposed materials?
Here is an opportunity that I just found out about!


The link below is the best way for you to upload your images, information and consent. 

Please visit the following and upload images as per specific requirements:
If you know anyone who would be a good artist/designer for this publication, please direct them to the Facebook page.  Deadline is today....but if you see this Monday give it a try anyway.

But also learn a lesson. Always have your information and photos READY AT ALL TIMES because while I believe in the "early bird catches the worm", life often offers last minute opportunities if you are prepared. 

So sorry this is last minute...but the deadline is extended until the end of September. Being prepared also mean subscribing to ASK Harriete so you can learn about last minute posts like this one (written on Sunday morning before I flew out the door.)

RECYCLE fruit crate by Harriete Estel Berman

Recycle: the California Collection
Three dimensional fruit crate labels and necklace constructed from post-consumer recycled materials as a commentary on California as the leader in the recycling movement and green design.*

Craft Commission Contract Information

Until several years ago I thought the Commission Contracts commonly available through published books were adequate. That was until I went to use them myself for a commission of this Seder plate (below).


Right from the start, I realized there were issues not included in the contract that needed to be discussed such as the payment schedule, photography, and taxes (which amounted to a considerable sum.)

PursuitCornerCurl72With this is mind I want to share a resource for readers of ASK Harriete.

Commission information from the SNAG Professional Development Seminar from 2007 (scroll down)

Millennium of Pursuit Seder Plate from recycled tin cans.

SNAG PDS about  Commissions.
In 2007 the SNAG Professional Development Seminar sponsored a program about Commissions. The Speakers included John Medeweff, public sculpture; Cynthia Eid, silver commissions; and Todd Reed, jewelry.  The program was organized by Don Friedlich, Andy Cooperman, and myself, Harriete Estel Berman.

There is a very informative Commission handout which everyone may download for free.  I highly recommend reading this document with hard earned words of advice.

John Medeweff handout is titled "The Do’s & Don’ts of Public Art & Private Commissions". Here is a brief list of his 11 points

  1. Respond only to Call to Artists/RFQ (Request for Qualifications.)
  2. Follow the directions!
  3. Do not take rejections personally.
  4. Most selection committees will choose 3 finalists.
  5. Winning the commission is great but it also means that you will assume a huge responsibility.
  6. Not all public art agencies are created equal.
  7. Never start work on the project until ...
  8. Stand behind your work.
  9. Who is the Patron?
  10. Charge for design work!
  11. Installation.

Cynthia Eid offered practical information about commissions including topics:

  • Getting Commissions
  • Designing Commissions
  • Working with the Client
  • Working with a Committee
  • Pricing
  • Tactics for Making Large Sculpture in a Jewelry Studio
  • Preparing for Installation
  • Documentation and Photography

All of this information is available...but most people aren't aware of this untapped resource. Check it out!  You are welcome to share this information with a link to proper  attribution to the original source.

Millennium of Pursuit        2010 was commissioned by Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco, CA. This seder plate was inspired by the elaborate designs and patterns from the ceiling, walls, and window design of the early 20th century synogogue. View more contemporary Judaica.


Commission Question and Publishing on Facebook

Commission Contract Resources & Recommendations

Free Mentoring Opportunity

R2Slogo250SNAG is finally ready to embark on its mentoring program titled "The Road 2 Success" and the program is free for all SNAG members.

Enrollment is first-come, first-served

Sign up begins September 16th at NOON.

The list of mentors covers a broad spectrum. To be sure, it will be interesting to see how this mentoring program develops. 

There are no guarantees, no predictable outcome, but everyone who signed up is ready to take an adventure together. This reminds me of one of  my favorite quotes:


"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night.

You can see only as far as your headlights,

but you can make the whole trip that way."

                                        - E.L. Doctorow

Teachers from an academic program are always so articulate it amazes me. They are accustomed to verbalizing the issues for their students.

Writers and workshop teachers spell out the problems and solutions in step by step process.

Production makers have a lot of experience in the turbulent ebb and flow of selling in the marketplace. The kind of experience you only get on the road of hard knocks.

One of a kind makers have a different focus all together.Their design decisions are based on finding and uniquely expressing an artistic voice.

If you aren't a SNAG member already, make sure your membership is updated in the next five days or you may miss out on a great opportunity to work with this list of Mentors:

Kristin Anderson
Alison B. Antelman; metalsmith, teacher
Boris Bally; self-employed Metalsmith, entrepreneur-at-large
Gillian E. Batcher; Owner at Jewel Envy and PASH Jewellery Design
Harriete Estel Berman; artist, author, organizer
Wing-Ki Chan; Professor and Program Coordinator of Jewellery Studies, George Brown College, Toronto, Canada
Shannon Conrad; President of Etsy Metal
Donna D’Aquino
Don Friedlich; studio jeweler, former SNAG President
Geoffrey Giles
Lora Hart
Victoria Lansford; artist, author, educator
Micke Lippe; maker, volunteer, teacher
Tim McCreight; Senior Editor, Brynmorgen Press
Etienne Perret; designer, goldsmith, gemologist
Kevin Potter
Billie Jean Theide; Professor of Art at the University of Illinois


For Extra Long Pages - Use These Arrows

ArrowBlueFor those extra long pages on your blog or website, I have just discovered these great arrows available in all kinds of shapes, sizes and styles.

GreenArrowThe arrow is added to the HTML code and easy to insert. See what it looks like on this page of my website.

ArrowRedArrowThe fabulous thing is that the arrow doesn't even show up until you have started to scroll down "below the fold". "Below the fold" means below the bottom part of your screen as you scroll down.

Round-ButtonIt seems a little nicer to use a symbolic arrow rather than "Back to top". Here is another arrow on my sculpture page. (Scroll down for it to show up.)

Arrow-Square-boxThis yellow box arrow is on the page for Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin. (Scroll down for it to show up.)
Arrows5transparentFind a large selection of arrow options at:

Thank you to Jeffrey Herman for sharing this resource. If you haven't looked at his silversmithing website, check it out. He has lots of great information for silversmiths or silver fans.

Behind the Scenes, Design, Rolling Up, Packing UP Your Art and Craft for Shipping

Previous posts and SlideShare Presentations
have focused on designing your art or craft for shipping. I firmly believe that if we want our artwork to travel safely, securely and without breaking, or costing an arm and a leg, then artists and makers need to design their work for shipping.
Harriete Estel Berman rolling up pencils for safe shipping of artwork Pick Up Your Pencils Begin

Planning in advance during the design phase can improve the likelihood that your work will arrive safely and securely. This is not saying that the artist changes the art or craft in design, concept or aesthetic. What I am recommending is that thinking ahead will save you heartache, tears, storage space and shipping expenses.

My vision for the artwork Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin took five years to bring to fruition, yet, all along, I knew that if I wanted it to leave my studio, it had to pack up as compactly, store easily, and ship without problems.

Considerations included pedestrian problems like:

  • making sure the artwork arrives safely without damage (In this case, I couldn't even have a pencil point break - talk about challenges);
  • making sure the weight of the boxes are manageable for one person (usually me) to pick up and carry;
  • storage allowance will be as compact as possible;
  • installation and repacking are relatively easy for others to execute without me. (More about this soon.)

Here is a presentation about rolling up the artwork for safe shipping and compact storage. What do you think about the recommendations? Any suggestions, corrections or confusion?

Below are links to presentations about designing your work and packing for shipping. Principles in these lectures can be applied to shipping anything.
This is a large PDF with lots of pictures...give it time to download.

Custom Shipping Box /Design Your Work for Shipping
The 2012 PDS "Ins and Outs of Shipping (includes 9 presentations about shipping)

Please consider sharing by copying the link to the presentation or handouts and writing your own original content to avoid "duplicate content". A comment or review is all you need for improved SEO. Do not copy and distribute this information without permission from the author.

SlideShare for Exhibition Opportunities

During the past two weeks I dedicated special efforts to creating SlideShare presentations about my artwork Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin.
Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin discusses the impact of standardized testing on HThese efforts were way over due...the artwork has been finished for a while, but admittedly, I was confused about my objective for the Installation, and De-Installation presentations. How could I possibly squeeze in all the images and information in one presentation?

So instead of creating one presentation, I created several presentations each with a different objective.

My first goal was to make this 28 foot wide by 15 foot tall installation seem less intimidating to prospective exhibition locations.

Harriete Estel Berman Looking UP during installation of Pick Up Your Pencils, BeginiAll those exhibition venues, from big musuems to smaller non-profit spaces, are dealing with the impact of a weak economy, lower membership, and increasing expenses. They compensate by reducing expenses such as shipping and installation costs of exhibitions. The perception is that the bigger an installation, the more labor it takes and the more it costs.

An exhibition that fills the room (e.g. one that it is 28 feet wide and 15 feet tall) may look like it needs a moving van to ship. It occurred to me that perhaps this monument to #2 pencils, could cause curatorial staff to have serious budgetary concerns.

So this SlideShare presentation is an effort to dispel these concerns by talking about the pedestrian aspects of installing and exhibiting the artwork.

But then I realized that other audiences would really enjoy this short presentation.  Potentially a much bigger audience. Doesn't everyone these days love seeing the action behind the scenes?

Creating this SlideShare also means that I can share my artwork with a wider more diverse audience. What you think?

INSTALLATION Details for Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin is one of 30+ presentations that can be found on my SlideShare Harriete Estel Berman
Tomorrow's post is about designing your work for shipping.

P.S. My visit to SlideShare last week  to test their user interface was featured on the SlideShare Blog! TALK ABOUT sharing work with a new audience. 

Visiting SlideShare Offices in San Francisco

  Visting SlideShare 026

SlideShare is a fabulous way to present information about your art or craft to your online audience. Many of my SlideShare presentations have over 10,000 views!

SlideShare presentations are akin to online PowerPoints that can be easily shared on your LinkedIn profile, Facebook, website or blog. You can also choose to narrate your slides with a voice recording. What an entertaining way to explain your work to a new or familiar audience.

GoodBadUglySome of my most widely viewed SlideShares are The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY in the AGE of the Internet  with 11,782 views, DocumentationShippingDocumentation for Shipping Art and Craft with 11, 662 views, and  Digital Images with 10, 539 views.  I hope this post gets your mind rolling on how you can use SlideShare to share your DigitalImages200work or ideas.

I have been using SlideShare since 2008, so when I had the opportunity to test their unpublished mobile platform at the SlideShare offices in San Francisco, I said "YES" with enthusiasm.  TALK ABOUT EXCITING!

Visting SlideShare in San Francisco, CA

Visting SlideShare 029 We all know that mobile is the future from the recent presentation during the 2013 PDS Customizing the Cow: New Trends in Cross Platform Web Optimization from All You Can Eat Website Guys.

I am a big fan of SlideShare! 
This was an opportunity to see the future, but it was a little nerve racking. Would I be savvy enough to navigate a new platform?

Visting SlideShare 021Andri Kristinsson was their User Researcher charged with understanding how SlideShare users would interact with their new mobile site. I was given specific assignments while trying out SlideShare on a new Android phone....Andri offered no help! His goal was to see how I figured out the mobile user interface on my own, and then help guide the design process to be an intuitive process for everyone. They recorded my confusion and successes and made note of my expectations in each step of the presentation creation process. They are set on creating a well designed experience, so that we (SlideShare's users) can share with ease.

Visting SlideShare 030
The programmer fraternity in SlideShare San Francisco, Ca.

Visting SlideShare 023
   SlideShare  "Jerk Trophy"
   Told this directy by Sylvain Kalache

For 45 minutes he listened to my feedback about SlideShare's new mobile interface and recorded my insights gained from creating 30 + SlideShare presentations. My technical feedback went directly to SlideShare's self-proclaimed nerd team (shown above) in their high tech bubble.

Are you wondering how you can get started on SlideShare for your own work? Below are several tutorials about how to start using SlideShare to promote your artwork.

Promoting YOUR art or craft with SlideShare - Take Your First Step

Promoting YOUR Art or Craft with SlideShare - Adding Audio!

Here is another fabulous idea... create a SlideShare of your resume if you looking for a job.

Stay tuned.
Over the next 3 days, more ideas for using SlideShare to support you artwork will come your way.