In late April, I first heard that "Craft In America" would like to do a video shoot at my studio during the first week of June. That left a little over a month to prepare -- and I was grateful for every single day. However, I could not simply drop everything else that I needed to get done, but I did prioritize two broad categories of preparation. One priority was to clean my studio so that a video crew could access the inner sanctums of my working space. I knew how to do this, but it would take weeks of intense effort. There was a lot to do! The month of May already had a full agenda before this popped up!
The other preparation priority was to fulfill a stream of requests from the Associate Producer, Denise Kang, and the Director, Coby Atlas.
Denise Kang asked for images of my artwork and studio shots of Harriete in her studio. These images would be used primarily for "advance publicity". Wow! This never occurred to me. At this point, I had no idea when this "Craft in America" segment would be aired, the crew had not even arrived yet, and already they needed images?
Fortunately, I had an extensive portfolio of professional quality images for my black plastic jewelry. This, of course, should be every artist's and maker's number one level of preparation (as I have written about extensively on ASK Harriete).
Studio shots caused me more concern as I hadn't taken updated images in the studio for a while. Usually, I take studio shots on a regular basis. I also make it a practice to take images during the fabrication of every piece because the work-in-progress images can come in handy for books and magazines. But once in a while I forget or get overwhelmed with the demands on my time.
Lady luck was on my side! Coincidently, my daughter was coming for a two-day visit in May. She knows how to get the best smiles from her mother and frame the photos in the studio with her creative eye.
If you look closely at these images, you will see that the chaos of a messy studio surrounds Harriete the artist.
During the pandemic, I had grown accustomed to stepping over and around all the stuff on the floor. In these photos, you can see that the aisles are filled with pieces of metal, scraps, and open tins. Definitely not ready for the video crew.
To better anticipate what needed to be done, I scoured the local library and checked out all of the available DVDs of previous "Craft in America" episodes. I found even more "Craft in America" shows and excerpts on Youtube. Although they varied in content and style over the series, I saw that they like to emphasize and integrate the fabricating processes of their craft subjects.
Coby (the director) had mentioned this also. Therefore, I needed to prepare examples of work-in-progress. Coby specifically requested step-by-step examples of the fabrication of a tin can bracelet and step-by-step examples for the black plastic recycle bracelet.
Below are a couple of photos of the steps to make a tin bracelet, cutting the tin, and drilling the rivet holes.
Below are three shots of a fabrication step for the Black Plastic Gyre Boa Constrictor Necklace - cutting black plastic shapes.
I began to think of this staging of my fabricating process like a cooking show. The cook has only 30 minutes to show the major steps of how to make a cake that takes four hours. In this case, the video crew would be digesting the fabrication of a bracelet that might take 10 - 20 - 500 hours into minutes. YIKES!
All of this seems so simple, but throughout the month of May, I was just guessing about what they would need or like to see. My excitement was turning into concern. One-of-a-kind materials and labor-intensive efforts are difficult to demonstrate in minutes.
In addition, any time taken to for new photos or staging a fabrication example would be time taken away from cleaning the studio. Every minute of May was stressful.
Now that the video shoot is over, I realize that the weeks of preparation did indeed help to highlight the fabrication steps. Still, there were a couple of times when the video crew was recording as I meticulously sawed or cut tin for an extended period of time (i.e. a few minutes) and they grew exasperated. They eventually stopped recording and said, "Let us know when you are almost done." I suppose they thought I was nuts! They want action. By their standards, my crafting work appeared very ss-ll-ooo-www. . . .
I'm told it will be edited and condensed with the skills of their amazing editor for the final video. We shall see......
Photos of Harriete Estel Berman in the studio by Aryn Shelander
Previous Posts about Craft in America video shoot are listed below: