Information about Harriete Estel Berman Feed

Interviews - Croquet, Roulette, or Chess

Interviews may turn out unpredictably.  Actually, this could be an understatement.  Some interviews are like a game of croquet; delightful, easy repartee, you hit the ball through the hoops. It can be a fun, feel-good experience with plenty of joyful and mutually relatable understandings. IMG_0162

Interviews can also be like playing Roulette. Take a position, place your bet, the wheel spins, but the ball seems to drop everywhere except where you are.  The outcome is unpredictable, despite lots of wishful thinking. 

Or interviews may proceed like a game of chess; lots of preparation and strategic thinking, anticipating possible moves, all to help to stay on track. 

Interviews can take more detours than rock slides on California One.   Sometimes interviews feel like they go through all three game analogies at one stage or another. Throughout the past two years, I've been able to participate in several interviews.  Now, with the COVID isolation and time for introspection, I've also arrived at a few observations that I would like to share over the next few posts.

But at the moment, I'd like to invite everyone to listen to the recorded  ZOOM panel discussion from Friday, April 23. 

For this online discussion, I set up all my lights, prepared my notes, and jumped through hoops. 

 



Ornament-Magazine-panel
Here is the link in case the link above failed.  

https://smithsonian.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-nOxubxPQO6ptn4K4RwCdQ?fbclid=IwAR3AH2GdM0KVyidJ5eiJsyOcdoRtRDdOelIyLI8b0HJtSx_mRiV5lX2pknc

This panel discussion is connected to another interview just published in the latest issue of Ornament Magazine where some of my work is highlighted.  
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More about this later. This was definitely a Roulette opportunity with plenty of chess overtures.

Here is a link to purchase purchase Ornament Magazine.

Harriete


"Craft In America" Day 1 - Fabrication in Video Time vs Real Craft

Triangular tin can braceletAmong the many last minute preparations during the final week before "Craft in America" came to my studio, I planned and laid out a sequence of jewelry fabrication demonstrations that they had requested.  (The images in this post are a few of my step-by-step demo samples for the video shoot.)

The executive producer had specifically requested that I demo the making of a triangular bracelet featured in the Ornament Magazine article....(shown below) which is a fabulous, fabulous, fabulous bracelet, but it is made from tin cans that are very hard to find.

IMG_20210427_150819280_HDR

Altoid-tin-step-one-bracelet-fabricationA major difficulty, however, was figuring out how to modularize the making of a one-of-a-kind bracelet that is dependent on difficult-to-find, one-of-a-kind tin cans.  I don't buy tins from e-bay as I truly want my materials to be scavenged from the waste stream of our society, and NOT from a retail site like e-bay, ..... but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Nothing was going to deter me from my plan. I eventually found (and guiltily ordered) two triangular Altoid tins offered on e-bay. One of them arrived only the day before the crew arrived. That was too close!  I do not like to operate on the margin of a crisis.

Altoid-tin-cutting1200The "Craft In America" crew, chose to dedicate the first day to fabrication techniques in the studio. 

In this situation, I learned of the extraordinary difference between "video time" - one or two minutes is all they wanted - and real craft fabrication time of five to 40 hours.  I'll bet in the final television segment we will be looking at the fabrication for no more than a few seconds.

Altoid-tin-cutting-edgeMy regret was that I didn't have more of the intermediate step-by-step progressions prepared.  However, I can take some comfort retrospectively that this was not a "how-to-video."  My assumption is that they will use this setting to give the audience some insight into the creative process, and not a fabrication lesson.  I've watched almost all of the prior "Craft In America" library of DVDs or videos on Youtube, and the fabrication shots are only part of the bigger picture.  

Seriously, they would video each step for only a few minutes
-- and even that seemed to be too long for the cameraman. Secretly I was told by Bill, my husband, that the cameraman seemed to be making all kinds of hand signals to the crew.  At the time, I didn't notice (because I was not supposed to look at the camera). 

Altoid-tin-paper-template-wrist
Eventually, the camera was turned off and the cameraman said, "Let me know when you get near to the end." 
I think he meant, "When will some real action happen?"  I guess sawing, drilling, filing or grinding are not very exciting video content. 


Making-wrist-for-tin-can-braceletFrom an initial state of naïveté, I became increasingly aware of the chasm between my sense of craft making real-time and their sense of "video time". 
I was shocked by the rapid fire chop, chop, chop, jumping from one set up to another.  No feedback, no transition and no time to reflect.  I frequently found myself taking a deep breath, repeating the mantra, "I can do this" .... back straight, abs sucked in, go forward. Telling myself, "I can do this." 

Altoid-bracelet-top-two gold-rivetsFor example, hammering one tiny gold rivet usually takes me a few minutes.  From my normal perspective, I had hours to go with more riveting, . . . but they were done with each segment of video recording after 3 or 4 minutes and cut off my snail's pace of gold riveting.

Every few minutes, the Director would ask, "What do you do next?"  I would then jump right into a very short description of the next fabrication activity. 

Typically a very short discussion ensued between the director and the DP, then a decision was made and instructions given, usually requiring the crew to move or shift the camera. 

Altoid-bracelet-top-two gold-rivets-two-arrows
The yellow arrows point to tiny Gold rivets.

Moving the camera was a production in itself. I am not kidding!!!!  The DP would lift the camera off the tripod with muscles flexing.  The gaffer and focus guy would take charge of the tripod, collapsing the legs, pick it up, carry or move the very substantial tripod to the next proposed location.

Within a few moments, the tripod was placed in a new spot and the camera clicked back into the tripod. Simultaneously, lighting and sound were moved to new locations. Then sound was tested, lighting and framing confirmed, and focus checked. Ready? Go! 

Inside-tin-gold-rivet
Look for the very small gold rivet on the inside.

While the crew was repositioning, my brain was going a mile a minute about what tools I need to be ready for the next scene.  I couldn't really pay any attention to what the crew was doing; if I wasted their time, I was also wasting this opportunity. 

Truly the more variety of video scenes that they could record in that afternoon, the more possibilities that they would have to edit for the final product.

Inside-tin-gold-rivet-arrow
The yellow arrow points to the gold rivet.

Any extra recorded scenes might become useful for YouTube excerpts or other promotional material to promote the show.  In my head, it was my responsibility to be prepared and do my best.....but get this....there were never any practice takes.

No multiple takes.  No "Take 2" or "Take 3". Each segment was done once! And then, video time moved on to the next step, segment, or topic.

I'm fascinated by film production and the making of documentaries.  I'm no expert, but I have gained some insights over the years.

Documentaries emphasize capturing the video recordings without practice, it is supposed to be real life. I just didn't realize they would take that precept so literally considering the importance of this show.

Blue-bracelet-top-wrist-templateAnother precept of documentaries is that they expect to get the best verbal commentary on the first take, especially with real people, not actors.  Instead of improving with iterations of practice, the documentary subjects tend to begin sounding "rehearsed" or artificial.  This was the foundation of making documentaries when I took a video class at the local community college several years ago.

I've also heard these kinds of comments by listening to the director's commentary on movies from Netflix, videos from the library, or YouTube!  Every time I can find a director/producer commentary, I listen to learn more. 

IMG_20210629_143736095_HDRThose director commentaries always provide some new insight for a novice like myself.  Some directors prefer to do several takes of a scene. Small changes in each take of the scene -- Take 1, Take 2, Take 3, Take 4, . . . .  Other film makers,  like Clint Eastwood, are well known for doing only one take of a scene. The expectation is that the actors put everything into the first take if they know that there will be no backup, no Take 2. This is it.   

That was how the entire day went for me. One take! And on to a new scene . . . one take.  Then another new scene . . .  one take!  Chop, chop, chop.

I grew more comfortable with this as the day went on, but it still surprised me.

Also, I was instructed to look only at Coby (the director), not at the camera or elsewhere.  For me, that was really hard to do with five other people standing just outside of the "scene". In the beginning, I was very distracted. The artist's eye wants to see and look at everything. I have an eye for detail. How could my eyes only look at one spot or one person?  This was yet another stress to force my brain to not look elsewhere.

Harriete-fabrication-at-benchWe ended the day at five o'clock. Again I was a little surprised.  Video and film shoots are usually 10-12 hour days.  I can only hope that they reached their goal for Day One. 

What do you think?



Previous Posts in the "Craft In America" in my studio series.

A Gigantic Wish Come True...."Craft In America" Visits My Studio

 

Perspiration in Preparation & Planning for "Craft In America"

 

An Optivisor for a Crown - Two Vans Arrive with the "Craft In America" video team

 

 

 

 

 

  


An Optivisor for a Crown - Two Vans Arrive with the "Craft In America" video team

Finally, on Saturday, June 5, the first day of the "Craft in America" video shoot arrived. I was told that a "small crew" of six people would arrive by 11:30am coming from Los Angeles. I've hired individuals for producing videos before, but could not imagine how or what would require six people (as they defined "a small crew").  Of more concern, I could not imagine how six people would fit into my studio at one time.

Harriete-standing-messy-studio-1200

Two vans and a third vehicle drove up with lots of equipment and the 6-person video crew went right to work unloading, setting up equipment, checking functions, and synchronizing channels.   Arrival-studio-van-sound-DP

I was amazed at all the equipment. Now all this equipment compounded my concerns.  Even though I had cleaned and organized the studio for weeks, there isn't much space other than a narrow aisle on each side.

With rapid-fire "hellos" from everyone, I was introduced to all six people (but could only remember three names and that everyone confirmed full vaccination status and a recent covid test, which is the industry standard). 

Each member of the crew remained focused on their equipment.  Soon, as a group, we  had a quick walk through the studio and the house (where some of my artwork is displayed).  Within a few minutes, Coby Atlas, the director decided to start the shoot in the studio and stay set up there for the entire first day. 

In the photo below, Emil, the sound person, is checking the audio stream connection to the camera via blue tooth. 
Arrival-sound-focus-runner-DP

In the next photo below Sal Coniglio, Assistant Camera is in the center. ) Eventually, I figured out that he was person responsible for focus. As the focus puller, it is his responsibility to maintain the camera lens's optical focus on the subject or action being filmed.  He has a separate monitor that is also connected to the camera via blue tooth. In addition, at any time when the camera needs to be moved, he helps move the tripod to the new spot and/or adjusts the tripod height up and down. 

Arrival-focus-director-DP

While the crew was setting up all the equipment, Coby asked me to show her my bench, tools, materials, displays, etc., and explain my work processes and step-by-step fabrication that I had planned to show. She wanted to familiarize herself with possible options for the shoot that day. 

Harriete-Berlman-Coby-Atlas-studio

This was the last time on Saturday that I looked so nicely dressed because I asked Coby what I should be wearing for the studio shoot. (Since we would be shooting in the studio that day, I did not want to look "fake" or unrealistically "dressed up" in the studio.) 

Coby responded by asking what would I normally wear in the studio?  I said "overalls" with tools in hand.  Immediately after that brief discussion, I dressed "down" to my overalls and donned an Optivisor - i.e. the ever-required jeweler's crown.  

Optivisor for a crown

Thank goodness I had spent so much time cleaning up the narrow aisles in my studio.  Six people in my studio was indeed crowded.  Sid, the DP (Director of Photography) was a substantial person. The camera was very large, evidently very heavy and unwieldy.  The tripod was even bigger.  In the photo below, you can see five people (Sidney, Coby, Mark, Sal, and Denise Kang, Associate Producer ) squeezed into the narrow aisles.
Saturdayam-producer-focus-runner-director-DP-camera

Sal, the focus puller with his own monitor is in the foreground (in the photo below).  I am envious of his stool mounted on rollerblade wheels. Focus-runner-DP-monitors
The Director, Coby, was ever-present, but physically very tiny.  Notice that Coby is barely visible in these shots.  In the narrow studio space, she could not see me directly.  She could only see what I was doing by looking into the monitor on the camera.

The camera was gigantic with all kinds of knobs, buttons, ports, and dials. (Forget any idea of video taken on your phone.) Below you see the camera's view and Sidney Lubitsch, the DP, looking at what is framed in the display.  

DP-Harriete-bench

Emil, the sound guy (and a S.F. Bay Area local), had a soft fuzzy microphone at the end of the boom. He had to work from the aisle on the other side. I loved that he was really into the sound of metal - sawing, grinding, filing, riveting and the step shear. Go Emil!

Sound-boom-DP

The sound guy had the priority of capturing good audio without letting the boom, or the shadow of the boom, appear in the shot.

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Notice how they added extra light (top center of the next photo) even though I had a widow and skylights directly above me, and the garage door open.  Light and more light!

Gaffer Mark Markely (photo left) was responsible for lighting, helping move the tripod, and every other detail job.   Saturday-runner-lighting-studio

After an hour or two of shooting in this tight space with everyone kind of stacked on top of each other, it was time for lunch.    Saturday-am-runner-Coby-DP-camera-
I had offered to make lunch (in previous phone conversations,) but thank goodness, the Director had relieved me of this responsibility and said they would cater lunch.  Denise, the associate director, had identified a nearby Greek restaurant providing take-out meals.  

We all sat outside on the deck for lunch and it felt good to be in the open air and out of the cramped studio space. And this outside table was the only surface without something on it for the video shoot.
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For me, this was the first time to have people and food come into my house from the outside world in 16 months. What a treat! This "Craft In America" video shoot was my first official break from the hibernation of covid quarantine.


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In this photo above (from left side clockwise around the table to the right) is the crew;  Denise Kang, Associate Producer; Sidney Libitsch, Director of Photography; Coby Atlas, Director; Sal, Focus (at the end of the table); Mark , Gaffer; Emil, Sound; and me on the right.  Bill, my husband, took all of these shots, without which there would be no images of the day and it would all be a blurred, waning memory. 

Harriete's Interview-clapboardStay tuned for more images in this photo diary of "Craft In America" in my studio. There is still the fabrication and "interview" on Sunday with a Clapboard initiating Harriete's interview. 

Stay tuned to find out how the crew set up and shot the raw content for one segment for a future episode of "Craft in America."  

Harriete

 

Previous posts in "Craft In America" in my studio are listed below:

A Gigantic Wish Come True...."Craft In America" Visits My Studio

 

Perspiration in Preparation & Planning for "Craft In America"


Perspiration in Preparation & Planning for "Craft In America"

Harriete-Photoshoot-1200In 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.  

HB61-9284_EmailFile
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

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).

Harriete-studio-drawers-tins-1200
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. 

Harriete-studio-working-brake
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.
Chaos-at-feet

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.

Harriete-mess-in-the-studio

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. 

I was really worried about how to "stage" the fabrication process -- if every step takes three to five hours or 10 hours, and every bracelet is one-of-a-kind, how would they edit for continuity? 
Harriete-studio-fabricating-braceletHarriete-Studio-bracelet-drilling

 

Below are three shots of a fabrication step for the Black Plastic Gyre Boa Constrictor Necklace - cutting black plastic shapes.

Harriete-studio-cutting-black-plastic Harriete-studio-cutting-black-plastic-down

Harriete-cutting-black-plastic
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!    

IMG_8218
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...... 

Harriete-and-Aryn

Photos of Harriete Estel Berman in the studio by Aryn Shelander

Previous Posts about Craft in America video shoot are listed below:

A Gigantic Wish Come True...."Craft In America" Visits My Studio

 


A Gigantic Wish Come True...."Craft In America" Visits My Studio

Harriete-eye-in-studio1200
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander
 


I must confess -- for more than a decade I've had a wish... that my artwork would be featured in "Craft In America
," a Peabody Award-winning series about craft.  And sometimes, wishes do come true.  This past weekend a six-person crew arrived at my studio and home for a two-day blitz of video.

The experience is still overwhelming, even in retrospect, too much to describe or digest in one post.  I am both exploding with elation and trying to get my feet back on the ground. While fresh in my memory and with elevated consciousness, I want to share some of the impressions and highlights through the next several posts with lots of images.

It started in late April with a surprise phone call asking if I would be interested in being interviewed for a segment on an hour-long program about jewelry in the documentary series, "Craft In America?"  The caller, Carol Sauvion, is the Executive Director, Executive Producer, Director, and perhaps, most important, the Visionary who has developed "Craft in America" from the brainstorm of an idea to a 15-year run with PBS.

And this came about largely because of a sequence of three events:

Harriete-standing-messy-studio-1200Carol said she wanted to move forward quickly with the shoot on June 5 & 6.  This put Harriete into overdrive at warp speed through the month of May. Now I really had to finish the other artwork that I had already started and promised to complete which was overdue two months ago (more on this later), study and take the tests for re-certification as a Certified Group Exercise Instructor (my secret lifestyle), and clean up my studio after 14-months of accumulated "I can just push stuff aside since no one is visiting" pandemic mindset.

Harriete-studio-out-of-control My studio was out of control.  I had organically let detritus pile up leaving only irregular lilypad-like spots to barely step through. I hadn't cleaned or dusted my studio in more than a year (some parts perhaps for maybe two or three years).  Chaos reigned in competition with sedimentary layering. The dust had accumulated beyond my realization. 

IMG_20210531_145111401_HDR Hours and hours each day cleaning, sorting, tossing, Goodwill, SCRAP, give away, repositioning, hiding elsewhere (e.g. stuffing the car), consolidating, etc. for over two weeks , soaring past 14,000 daily steps on my Fitbit without ever leaving my house -- I could never have cleaned the studio without the amazingly generous assistance of emiko oye, Jen, and Sara.  emiko (my most trusted studio assistant from years ago) helped for three solid days during the two week cleaning marathon. 

Anticipation fueled this grueling, intensive effort. Then the excitement morphed into trepidation during the last three days. Was I ready? Was my preparation adequate? 

There still seemed to be a lot to do beyond just cleaning the studio to be ready for this oopportunity.

Stay tuned....getting ready for a "Craft in America" video crew.  There was so much to do.....so little time.

Harriete

 

Harriete-cleaning-studio-1200
Photo Credit: William Shelander

 


There is No Substitute for Great, Amazing Images.

There is no substitute for your very best, amazing images. I mean this very sincerely and am witness to the results of having great photos readily available. 

Almost two years ago, Glen R. Brown came to my house/ studio to interview me for a proposed article in Ornament Magazine. Yes, two years ago.  I was thrilled and filled with anticipation prior to the interview, but the actual interview turned out to be one of the most difficult of my career.  Why do I say this?

IMG_20190702_154521361I had been preparing diligently the entire week before. I painted all my cases, changed all the work on display to show a selection of jewelry, and was very excited with expectations for a comprehensive dialog.

However, the reality of the interview became a rather dry hour or so, and I subsequently felt as if Glen was not interested in my work or in what I had to say about it.  Instead of an enthusiastic conversation, I grew afraid that Mr. Brown was somehow disappointed.  Despite the apparent lack of connection, I drew deep on my years of experience and dogged determination -- I kept trying my best with one tactic or another through the interview. 

IMG_20190709_090843342Afterward, for my own mental stability and self-esteem, I pretty much wrote it off as a lost cause. 

Consequently, for more than a year and a half, and especially through the isolation and dark days of the Covid pandemic and quarantine, I moved on and effectively tried to forgot about my expectations.

Then in March 2021, a faint glimmer of excitement reawakened when Patrick Benesh-Liu called to say he was considering publishing the article in the upcoming issue of Ornament Magazine.   Patrick requested "some photos" to consider for the article as well.

This started a flurry of activity, as I searched through my inventory to send a few possible images for the article.  In follow-up discussions, and in striking contrast to the initial interview, Patrick was supportive, enthusiastic, and loved the images.  He then requested more images, "if I had more."  I jumped at the chance and sent more images, and more images. I was unbridled in searching through years of images stored on CDs for the biggest and best images to send to Ornament Magazine.  With each communication, Patrick would say, "the more images the better."

When I say the "biggest and best images," I mean high-resolution images, 28 - 45 MB each, for print.  No cell phone images either. All of the images were taken by Philip Cohen.

Quality images are not just an ego boost for documentation of your artistic effort. Quality images are critical to include in a magazine or book. Quality images attract the audience and reflect the quality of the magazine or book.    

IMG_20210427_150756006_HDR (1)I had no idea how things would turn out after that initial interview.  But in the end, the amazing photographic images taken over the past  32 years would indeed be appreciated and complement this Ornament Magazine opportunity.  And it did so beyond my expectation -- an eight-page article with 1, 2, or 3 photos on each page.

I have said this before, and I will say it again, there is no substitute for great, amazing images that represent your jewelry or artwork in any media. 

Great images all by themselves can create opportunity.

IMG_20210427_150647331_HDROrnament Magazine gave me several extra pages for an Artist's Showcase because of the great images -- and the color quality of the printing is fabulous.

So lesson learned:  Take fabulous images of your artwork.  They may expand or even create opportunities in your future. It did for me! 

Stay tuned for upcoming posts.  I will be documenting a super surprising video experience in my studio that starts tomorrow. So much to say....so little time.

Harriete 

P.S. Find Ornament Magazine at Barnes and Noble or at your local library or renew your subscription today.  The article also led to a Zoom panel which you may find insightful for the variety of perspectives. Panel participants include: Amy Flynn, Wayne Nez Gaussoin, and Holly Anne Mitchell, moderated by Patrick Benesh-Liu, Associate Editor of Ornament Magazine. Special Guest Harriete Estel Berman

IMG_20210427_150819280_HDR
CraftOptimismpanel_4-23-21The article also led to a Zoom panel which you may find insightful for the variety of perspectives.  Panel participants include: Amy Flynn, Wayne Nez Gaussoin, and Holly Anne Mitchell, moderated by Patrick Benesh-Liu, Associate Editor of Ornament Magazine. Special Guest Harriete Estel Berman

Screen shot courtesy of emiko oye. 

 

    

 

 

    

 


Thanksgiving With Covid Style

Year after year I have proudly shared my Thanksgiving and Seder tables. Decorating and preparing the table settings have been my favorite part of festive holidays -- and friends and family have enjoyed looking at photos of the creative table settings. I routinely painted tablecloths, adapted themed decorations, found unusual dishes, and used plants and flowers from my yard to reinvent the possibilities.

This year a new dimension of creativity was called into action for Covid-19 style and safety.

This year, the number of people was reduced to only a few neighbors. 
Three tables were spaced 10 feet or more apart, which used the entire length of our outdoor deck. IMG_20201126_135937523_HDR

Two people from each household at a table.

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Table setting had to be implemented quickly to avoid problems with animals, and wind. There were individual flowers at every table. The "flowers" were mostly from my yard. A challenge to see the potential with new eyes and some creativity. 

I loved the orange seed pods with the orange dots on the vase (below.) IMG_20201126_140114137_HDR

 The red berries looked great in a red vase.
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For the safety of guests and hosts, no one was allowed inside. After checking for personal requests, I brought out a full plate of food for each person.  Once everyone was served, we ate outside in the seasonally cool air with jackets and hats on, and fortunately warmed by the fall sunshine -- all socially distanced at our seats. All of us wore masks if we moved around.

Learning to entertain with social distancing requires a new repertoire of social skills -- and advanced planning along with layers of clothing to stay warm -- for me, four shirts and a sweatshirt for the middle of the afternoon.

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For us, Thanksgiving 2020 was a new adventure with unprecedented challenges that will be remembered as a special event in a most unusual year.  Yet every day, I am conscious that the sustaining goal is a healthy future for all.

Stay safe and socially distant for the holidays.   

Harriete 

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 A few Thanksgiving Tables from Past Years:
(I think I should make a book with all my holiday tables so you can do this too.
Thanksgiving 2019
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Thanksgiving 2017 in Black and White
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Artistic Expression and Being an Artist 2016
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Vintage Visual Feast Thanksgiving 2015
Thanksgiving 2015 052

Thanksgiving 2014 
Thanksgiving 2014 flower arrangements 012
Thanksgiving 063
Setting the Thanksgiving Table

Gelt, Gilt, and Guilt
ThanksgivingPlate closerlower

Thanksgiving Visual Feast Giving Thanks 2012 with a Mondrian Theme for the table and food.
Thanks2Mondrian2012ARyn and Harriete

Thanksgiving 2010
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Thanksgiving 2009
ThanksgivingCenterpiece

 


The Font of Experience "InFlux"

In the time of COVID-19, daily existence seems fractured.  Efforts to move forward feel constrained, challenging, and like a never-ending series of marathons filled with obstacle courses.  To cope, I try to focus on the expectation that this will all be a memory some time in the future.
 
Berman-spicebook-measure-time

There have been other historical eras impacted by plagues, natural disasters, and political upheavals. In the late 1960's, I was a much younger version of myself, but the daily news brought images of shocking political unrest and social change into every home.
 
Womanizer-Kitchen-QueenThis current intersection of political upheaval, pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, and social change makes the book, "In Flux: American Jewelry and the Counterculture,"  especially apropos and relevant.  The book covers art jewelry of the 1960s, '70s, and early '80s. (More about this book in another post.) My metalwork from that time period is included because much of it exemplifies the emerging feminist frustrations of the time. 

On Thursday, November 19, Cindi Straus will be leading a conversation with me and Joyce J. Scott.  The  conversation is titled "American Jewelry and the Counter Culture."  We will discuss our early experiences as makers in the turbulent and politically exciting period of the 1970s and early 1980s -- and possibly how our past exposure in those social  disturbances has influenced our work to the present day.  Do the values and issues of our formative years as makers relate to or inform us in these current events?

Zoom makes it possible for everyone to listen in to this one-hour conversation.  You don't have to travel to New York or spend any money on hotels.  Zoom right into this conversation about how the politics of that time changed us and changed art jewelry and metalwork forever.
 
This event is presented as part of New York City Jewelry Week in partnership with Art Jewelry Forum, both of which are financial sponsors of "In Flux: American Jewelry and the Counterculture."
 
Womanizer_crownCindi Strauss is the Sara and Bill Morgan Curator of Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design for the Houston Museum of Fine Art. As a curator, she will be asking the questions to me and Joyce J. Scott. 
 
Both artists have art jewelry currently on view in 45 Stories in Jewelry: 1947 to Now at the Museum of Art and Design in New York.  We will discuss our early experiences as makers in the turbulent and politically exciting events of the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s.
 
The online event is free for MAD Members and Art Jewelry Forum members, but anyone can pay a small fee to listen in to the conversation. Learn more by clicking here.
 
MAD Members, please email membership@madmuseum.org to receive your promo code for free tickets.
AJF Members may email yvonne@artjewelryforum.org.Womanizer_panel72
 
 

Uneasy Beauty - Original, Personal, and Provocative

Uneasy Beauty at the Fuller Craft Museum
Last week, I was 3,000 miles and a world away from today.  Saturday, October 13 was dedicated to my first visit to the Fuller Craft Museum and the opening reception for the exhibition "Uneasy Beauty." The whole day was a rich experience. Why was it worth traveling 3,000 miles? Why even go to an opening reception? 

Uneasy Beauty CoverFirst, true confessions.  I went to this opening because there are too many times when I wonder why I make my artwork.  Perhaps like many artists, I spend so much time alone in my studio, experimenting on yet another vague and uncertain idea . . .  and wondering why should I try so hard or care so much
.  At such times, I can remember this opening and the images of my artwork on a brilliant fuschia wall at the Fuller Craft Museum (above.) The photo of my Black Plastic Gyre Boa-Constrictor was on the cover of the catalog for "Uneasy Beauty" as well. 

Wow!  It does indeed feel good to see this exhibition in person.  And the bonus honor to have my work featured in this way doesn't come that often. So, if and when I find myself at that uncomfortable, uneasy moment working in the studio, struggling, pushing, testing unwilling materials to look like something unexpected, a little shot of memories from the Fuller Craft Museum opening will help me push forward with the challenge.

At the opening events: It was a real treat to see old friends and meet new fellow makers (shown below).

Uneasy-beauty-exhibitrion-opening800
(left to right) Masako Onodera, Boris Bally, Curator Suzanne Ramljak, Harriete Estel Berman, Holland Houder

 

Uneasy-beauty-Boris-Bally-Brave72
Brave 4: Breast Plate, 2013
Boris Bally
gun triggers, gun bolts, and gun barrels, brass shells, stainless cord, 925 silver 26" x 11 1/2" x 2"

Notice that (in the photo above) Boris Bally is wearing his gun triggers necklaces so well with pride and bravado. They echoed the uneasy beauty of his Brave 4: Breast Plate necklace in the exhibition (left.) 

I finished and wore a smaller, special version of the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace (above) just in time for the opening.   (It filled 85% of my largest suitcase and was definitely not a carry-on option.)  I can't understand why jewelry artists don't take the chance to wear some amazing examples of their work at openings.  It is sharing your work with an appreciative audience.

 

Uneasy-beauty-erica-spitzer-rasmussen72
Spoiler, 2009

Erica Spitzer Rasmussen
cotton, buttons, handmade paper, human hair
27" x 18" x 9"

 

 

The exhibition "Uneasy Beauty" has become my favorite exhibition in a very long time. Curated by Suzanne Ramljak, she carefully selected the artwork to be original, personal, and provocative. The exhibition overall and the individual artworks always surprised, expanded, shifted one's thoughts addressing diverse, difficult subjects.  But first, you were captivated and drawn in by the beauty of individual objects. 

(I will include a selection of images taken at the Uneasy Beauty exhibition in this post.)

 

 

 

Uneasy-Beauty-Sally-von-Bargen
Elegy by Sally von Bargen
The center brass disc says: "this elegy of truth-these lot treasures - lies brought this lament."

I wish that I could share an image of every artwork in the exhibition. 

Not one artwork was a dud. That in itself is an accomplishment. There are times that you go to a show, and there are pieces that you wonder, "how did that get in?"

Come on, admit it! We've all been to exhibitions where some of the work just does not measure up to the quality of the other art or craft. 

 

 

 

 

 

Uneasy-beauty-Sally-von-bargen-cu
Elegy  (close-up image), 2008
Sally von Bargen
brass, paper, digital photographs, paint
10" x 18" x 4" 

In "Uneasy Beauty" nothing disappoints the viewer either visually or conceptually.  Powerful artwork demanded thoughtful introspection such as Elegy by Sally von Bargen. ( I assume that these are photos of military personnel that have lost their lives, but I have not been able to confirm this.) 

If you can possibly go to this "Uneasy Beauty" exhibition before the closing date of April 21, 2019, I recommend you go out of your way or at least purchase the catalog.  

 

 

Uneasy-beauty-installation-victim-fashion
Uneasy Beauty exhibition at the Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA

Another striking aspect of this exhibition was the installation of the artwork.

There were subcategories for the organization of the work in the exhibition. (These same categories organize the artwork in the catalog.) The subcategory titles on the wall really helped with the visual flow of looking at the work. For example, under the Victim Fashion category, Spoiler (shown above) by Erica Spitzer Rasmussen hung on the wall near a pregnancy shaped corset by April Dauscha (left) or bra undergarments by Mimi Smith (below right.)

Uneasy-beauty-mimi-smith
Protector Against Illness: Black Tamoxifen Bra, 1996
Mimi Smith
nylon, lace tamoxifen pills, acrylic paint, satin hanger 16" x 15"




  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another superb example of the thoughtful installation of the artwork was one display case with four different collars by three artists.  White fabric shirt collars by Anika Smulovitz, silver Corporate Collar by Edward Lane McCartney and a worn black fabric Object of Mourning collar by Renee Zettle-Sterling held a close conversation when grouped together in a case.

Uneasey-beauty-collars
White Collar #9                                      Corporate Collar                          Object of Mourning:Impermanence#3
Anika Smulivitz                               Edward Lane McCartney              Renee Zettle-Sterling



Uneasy-beauty-Doug-Bucci-bracelets72
Mellitus Bracelets Installation, 2011
Doug Bucci
Mellitus bracelets, process installation, insulin pump, and Continuous Glucose Monitoring transmitter

There were many more excellent artworks within the exhibition. Doug Bucci's red Mellitus Bracelets Installation was one of my favorites. He doesn't hold back from sharing the personal experience of wearing an insulin pump as the most modern of accessories. What can be more uneasy and challenging than dealing with a life-threatening disease, and the impact of constructive or destructive lifestyle decisions? The presentation of the three red 3-d printed bracelets was very effective both visually and conceptually.  

During the evening events at the Fuller Craft MuseumSuzanne Ramljak gave an insightful slide lecture,....though perhaps a bit long, this slide lecture provided context for the selection of artwork. I love listening to lectures like this. I want to see gears working, the stretch that curator's take to pull together a diverse group of work.

This is a show worth seeing.     

Harriete

 

Uneasy-beauty-Masako-onodera72
My Dear, 2015
Masako Onodera
repurposed fur coat, parts from silver-plated coffeepot, oxidized, thread
12" x 7" x 50"

 

 


Fabulous and heart-stopping news!

Uneasy Beauty Cover

Black Plastic Gyre Necklace Boa shown on a mannequinFabulous and heart-stopping news! That is what I would call it when Curator Suzanne Ramljak told me that they were using a photo (left) of the my Black Plastic Gyre Necklace Boa for the cover of the catalog "Uneasy Beauty" (shown above).
 
How did Suzanne know about this image? Because Suzanne discovered it on an ASK Harriete blog post Photography -- Mannequin Needed! Rent, Buy, or Borrow? Basic or Stylized?  
The post covered several of the mannequin shots taken on one of the photo shoot days. Maybe, out of 50 mannequin shots, Philip Cohen and I  had winnowed them down to five images. An exceptionally painful irony was that I usually only buy a few photos of each genre and had not purchased that one image, neither was it sent it to Suzanne Ramljak at an earlier deadline.....so back to my photographer Philip Cohen to buy another image. 

Being featured on the cover of the catalog is good fortune but also at least partially a result of two approaches that any artist can take for their own art or craft.

The first one is diving deep into an idea without reservation or hesitation. Going all out. Making an artwork for an exhibition without compromise is not the same as art or craft made for your customers. I believe it is necessary to put blinder's on and ignore market influences. Consumer tastes can be superficial, trendy, or financially motivated.  In contrast, speaking purely from your own artist's voice amplifies the potential to stretch into uncharted waters. Magnify a vision far beyond "average." Fabricate your dream. Whether this work will sell or not is irrelevant to the artist's vision. 



Black-plastic-braceletWhen Suzanne Ramljak and I were discussing work for this show I showed her a bracelet
(right) made from black plastic waste. I told her that I had dreamed of making a much larger version.  She encouraged this direction, pursue that dream and I  proceeded to make a Black Plastic Necklace Boa that was 26 feet long with my entire force of nature, full blast every available second of the day or night for two months. My family and I had to survive the two months of craziness. I took the deadlines seriously. 

HB61-9089_EmailFileThe other approach is planning the photography. Documentation and vision of the photos, while the artwork is in progress, can really help create a successful photographic image.  The quote from Louis Pasteur always comes to mind for me, "Chance favors the prepared mind."  What are the possible uses for the photo?  Can a close-up, full view, plain white paper background, model or experiment capture the artist's intent?  One photographic approach may be appropriate for a specific situation, and the model shot takes the photography in another direction. 

It is super exciting to have my work on the cover of the catalog. Super thanks to Suzanne Ramjlak who had confidence in my work to invite me to make something unknown for the show. She had unbridled optimism for the artist's vision without restriction. 

Black Plastic Necklace Boa from black plastic trash.The Black Plastic Gyre Necklace Boa will also be on the entry wall of the exhibition (I've been told) but will have to see for myself at the Fuller Craft Museum opening.  If you live near by or will be visiting Boston, I hope you will be able to see this exhibition.

At the Fuller Craft Museum, there will be a related exhibition in another gallery by MassArt students: Discomfort Zone: Fashion and Adornment from MassArt.  During the opening evening, there will be a live model presentation of some of the student works during the event. 

The festivities begin at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, with a not-to-be-missed Curatorial Lecture by Suzanne Ramljak! Who doesn't want to peer into the mind of the curator?  I for one can't wait!!! I am traveling 3,000 miles so I can get there really early.  Look for me there.

Harriete

Uneasy Beauty Reception Invitation

     

Harriete  

More Information about the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace can be found on my website.

Previous Posts in this series about photographing the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace Boa:
 

Photography -- Model Challenges & Working Out the Details

Photography -- Mannequin Needed! Rent, Buy, or Borrow? Basic or Stylized?

Photography and The Plain White Background

Photography - More than Documentation?

 


Is Artwork Ever Old? Stitch Care Mend Fold Muse Reach Stress Wear Break Torn Mad and ANGRY!

Is Artwork Ever Old?  An artwork from 20 years ago can still resonate today, perhaps even more so than ever!

Peninsula Museum of Art photographing work installed in the exhibition

I've never considered my earlier work as "old inventory." Spoken clearly with the artist's voice, work made in previous decades can gain more meaning in another time.  This is how I feel about my artwork in the current exhibition at the Peninsula Museum of Art in Burlingame, CA. The #metoo movement and the Kavanaugh Supreme Court controversy have given this group of artwork from 1996 to 2004 new meaning.

After listening to the entire day to the Judicial hearings I am stressed, worn, torn, mad and angry about the mishandling by the Senate Judiciary committee controlled by old white men exposing their ignorance, incoherence, and insensitivity.   

Philip Cohen photographer at the Peninsula Museum of Art
O.K. back to the artwork...

I knew that the photos of the wall quilt titled, "Stitch Care Mend Fold Muse Reach Stress Wear Break Torn" from 20 years ago were not good enough, so I asked my photographer, Philip Cohen, to take new photos.  I needed new images. The original photographs were taken at the cusp of the digital age and the pixels from early digital images dated the artwork, far more than its theme and content. The master image was even stored on a format that I can't access. Some kind of supergiant mega-disc brand state-of-the-art digital formatting of that time .... that has since vaporized from the face of the earth. 

Philip Cohen testing the lighting exposure
The piece is also difficult to shoot because of its size
 (6 feet x 6 feet), so while it is installed at the Peninsula Museum of Art, this is the perfect time to have new images taken.

Having images taken of older work is not about being stuck in the past. No, not at all. This is about how, with time and experience, my standards have continued to evolve. Even styles of documenting art and craft change over time. New photographs can give this work better documentation for a wider audience and fresh eyes.

Facebook-banner-quilt-full-Phil Cohen-color-test

Digital standards have changed, evolved, improved. This is not unlike the changing social and professional standards since Anita Hill in 1991.  The #metoo movement has changed the standard of what was previously tolerated and survived, to a time of visible controversy and action.

Close-up Quilt
This Sunday, Sept. 30, the Peninsula Museum of Art will host a discussion titled, 

"Truth and Consequences"

 

Artists Harriete Estel Berman, M. Louise Stanley, and John McNamara will discuss work in the exhibition in the context of our time.

The event is free.

Sunday at 2 PM – 4 PM


Peninsula Museum of Art
1777 California Dr,
Burlingame, California 94010

Harriete

P.S. I will compare the old photos with the new photos in another post.

Big things are happening, stay tuned! 

 

Quil-before-after copy


A Mistake, A Miscalculation, The Precipice of Ruin Becomes An Opportunity

Life as an artist constantly presents missteps, hurdles, and obstacles to creating and presenting your best work. During fabrication, there could even be a mistake or miscalculation leading you to the precipice of ruining entirely your work in progress. When this happens, I know that the situation is an opportunity for improvement.  

This summer, it happened again.  I had planned to loan an older piece to an exhibition that had been on loan to my parents for years.
A Yard of Grass
The first hiccup came to light when my mother let me know that she really didn't want to part with her favorite piece. I could not disappoint her and take it away on loan for an entire year to an exhibition. So, I opted to fast forward as a "force of nature" into making a new artwork in the same dimensions as the 18-year-old original, only better.

IMG_20180612_220041065On any new piece, figuring out how to make it is always the slowest and hardest part.  But I had done this piece before, and now had 18 years more experience.  All that it required was an intensive 6-week long marathon to get it done in time!!!!!!!!!!!! Harriete-grass-assembly-Harrisburg
An additional obstacle was that I would have to assemble all the parts while away from my studio to be at my parent's house.   Like a crazy person, I fabricated new panels, cut slots in the panels and grass blades (as many as I expected to need) while in my shop at home. Then, I shipped the blades of grass in advance.  I could not take any risks of taking a 15-pound box of metal grass blades through airport security. Each blade of grass was as sharp as a razor blade.

Harriete-grass-assembly-Harrisburg-2

At my parents' house, I sat on the floor for up to eight hours a day (if I was lucky to work eight hours). Determination and dedication without rushing.  Careful choices to pick each blade of grass.

Harriete-Estel-Berman-assembling-grass3

The assembly marathon continued on our family beach vacation...every single day until this was done.  Each blade of grass was inserted one at a time.  Nearing completion, another hiccup came to light -- I realized that in my rush at home in my studio,  I had cut a lesser number of slots in the 2nd panel. Yikes! It wouldn't look as dense.   Another hiccup. I decided to adapt by inserting two blades of grass in each slot (except for the edge.)

Grass -3001-800

It worked!  This impromptu decision is invisible. Thank goodness. 

Harriete-Estel-Berman-fabrication-grass-close-up

Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

Speaking of the edge, I considered this the most important part as it was the most visible.

The selection for each blade of grass was very important, especially at the edges.

Here is the super good news. Right from the very beginning, I could tell that the new piece was going to be better than the older work. A super encouraging sign for all this crazy effort witnessed by my family, day after day.

Harriete-Estel-Berman-asembly-grass-6
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

It is one thing to work hard in your studio where no one sees how much time and sweat goes into each piece. Quite another when everyone has to witness the difficult process, cut fingers, and choices to sit inside instead of going to the beach. 

Harriete-Estel-Berman-fabrication-grass8
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

There are always unforeseen difficulties magnified by not being in my own studio. In this case, after completing the first of two panels, I realized that I hadn't pre-cut enough blades of grass.  I had to cut more by hand and custom fit them to the slots. Because I was in such a rush, and not working at home, these were variables that were not planned. 

 Harriete-Estel-Berman-Aryn-Shelander-assembly JPG

Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

Keeping the blades of grass and little shards and splinters of steel under control was important. This led to converting a corner of the bedroom into a makeshift studio space.

A-Yard-of-Grass-800-cu
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

Do I need to tell you that I reached my goal?  The density of the blades of grass was super intense -- at least four times the quantity of my original in the series.

A-Yard-Grass-cu-800
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

You can see this finished artwork yourself.  A Yard of Grass II is in an exhibition in New York City opening this week.

TERRA in FERMA Exhibition on climate change and pollution.
Dr. Bernard Heller Museum (formerly Hebrew Union College Museum), Hebrew Union College

One West Fourth Street
September 6, 2018- July 2019
Opening 5:30 p.m on Thursday, September 6, 2018.
I.D. is required for entry into the museum.

Admission is free.

Yard-of-Grass-Both-Pieces800
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

 A Yard of Grass II              Harriete Estel Berman  © 2018

8" height x 36" width x 6" wide

(Photographed on the kitchen table with a leaf from the table for a matching background. Necessity really is the mother of invention.)

 


Visiting Artist Lecture with Harriete Estel Berman

HarrieteBermanPoster_Letter.700

Emily Cobb at Humboldt State University  (in Arcata near Eureka in northern California) has invited me to present two days of lectures and discussions for their students, but there is a public lecture on Thursday night, April 12 at 6:30 p.m.

If you have any questions or issues that you would like me to address, leave your request in the comments. I will incorporate that into the lecture.

Do you live in the area? I hope you can come.

Harriete  

 


Drowning, Strangled, Suffocating in Plastic -- and Experimenting with Images

This series of posts has reviewed the photographic documentation of the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace.  The formats included a standard plain white background, a mannequin, and a posed live model.  I had one more rather radical idea that I wanted to reveal in a post before a final comparison of all the formats.  Model dress rehersal practicing post 
I had an idea of creating a photographic image that could possibly convey a larger environmental message rather than strictly focusing on documenting the necklace.  

Creativity_incThis post shows the progression of this photographic experiment.  The step-by-step images illustrate the evolution of my idea and highlight the reality that most projects are not fully coherent at the initial conception.  All too often we forget the trials and tribulations during the hours of preparation and the work that it takes to bring an idea to reality.   There can be lots of mistakes along the way, and that is O.K.  If you ever read the book, Creativity, Inc * you will hear numerous anecdotes about Pixar's ideas, storylines and characters that required tenacious development, multiple iterations, mistakes, and revelations all the way through.

For my photo experiment, I took tangible steps at the very beginning and planned to give it time to evolve.  I sewed the sheer organza dress and reserved an evening for a practice session with Jen, the live model, in my living room -- literally a dress rehearsal (shown above.) 

Then on the next day, the experimental postures that seemed to work best in my living room were photographed at Philip Cohen's studio (shown below.)  We were trying to portray what drowning or floating in a deluge of plastics looks like.

model practicing postures for photo shoot with Black Plastic Gyre Necklace

A couple of experimental postures were just the beginning..... 

model practicing on the saw horses for experimental image

Photoshop magic took out the sawhorse support for the photo (below.)

model practicing drowning for experiment with Black Plastic Gyre Necklace

Then the image was handed off to my daughter, Aryn Shelander, a professional graphic expert for more Photoshop experimentation. Aryn was very supportive of the photo experiment idea and took on responsibility for the final result. 

I saved a few of the many iterations as Aryn sent progress reports to me and asked for creative direction. Below are screen grabs as the modified photo developed.  I will also admit that it took lots of back and forth iterations to figure out exactly what to do to get the intended imaginary.   It was a trial and error effort that evolved throughout.

1764

 For example, we decided that  Experimental Iteration #1 was too blue. 

Next, Experimental Iteration #2 (below), we tried changing the colors of the water

 

Black Plastic Gyre Necklace with variable water
Experimental Iteration #2


In a further evolution, Iteration #3 (below ), we changed the color of the deeper water and added the cityscape to appear that it was also submerged in water.

 

Black Plastic Gyre Necklace with underwater flooded city
Experimental Iteration #3 

With these details, the image and my intended message were converging.

In Experimental Iteration #4 below, we added some floating trash in the water and added 
a shadow under the necklace to make it appear that it is suspended near the bottom.    

 

Black Plastic Gyre Necklace submerged in climate change metaphor
Experimental Iteration #4

In Experimental Iteration #5 (below) the water is murkier.  This is a nice effect, but it also made it too hard to see the necklace. 

Black Plastic Gyre Necklace 6 with dity murky water
Experimental Iteration #5

Aryn decided that the necklace needed more clarity.

In this final version (Iteration #6 below), a little extra contrast helps the necklace to show up a bit more. 

 Black Plastic Gyre Necklace cityscape 7 with trash

Experiment Iteration #6 final

Iteration #6, above, is the tentative final photo for my radical experiment.  Aryn and I decided to stop at this point and think about it for a while. As of this post, this photo experiment has taken close to three weeks of development including Photoshop iterations. 

A tip from the Photoshop professionals is to create separate layers for the various effects so that you can push and pull, change, or alter each element separately.    

The hardest part for me was to realize that the necklace and the model were now components of a different artwork -- the photo.  The Black Plastic Gyre Necklace is literally submerged in the larger message about climate change, plastic pollution, and the impact of plastic in the oceans strangling marine animals and fish.

Your opinions are most welcome. What do you think? I look forward to hearing what you may have to say.

Harriete  

More Information about the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace can be found on my website.

Previous Posts in this series about photographing the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace:
 

Photography -- Model Challenges & Working Out the Details

Photography -- Mannequin Needed! Rent, Buy, or Borrow? Basic or Stylized?

Photography and The Plain White Background

Photography - More than Documentation?

 


Photography -- Model Challenges & Working Out the Details

Working with a live model requires a lot more planning than any other option for photographing jewelry or art clothing.  Finding a model is the first challenge. A close friend agreed to model, but I would have loved to have had more model options just to experiment. 

Clothing for the model becomes a critical issue. While planning for the photographic documentation of the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace, I purchased two white dance dresses plus sewed a transparent organza dress. Just sewing up the dress was a stress test in itself.  Twelve hours of stitching double layers of slippery sheer organza without knowing if it would fit, look good, function well, or live up to the vision I had for this photo shoot. 

We started with a dress rehearsal in my living room (shown below) and practiced a full range of movements and poses.

test photo shoot with dress


adjusting the models dress at Phil Cohen PhotographicYou can not imagine my relief! The dress fit perfectly but I had all kinds of contingency plans for a nip and tuck emergency sew.  During the dress rehearsal, Jen Ohara (the model) and I reviewed underwear options and practiced the poses. Every detail counts. Ultimately we decided to have her wear one of the dance costumes and the organza dress at the same time which gave more layers of fabric. 

Before the actual photography even began at Philip Cohen Photographic, I am snipping at raw edges of the fabric edge. It is hard to know in advance what the camera will ignore and what the camera will see as a major flaw.

If I could make any recommendation when using a model in addition to all the advance preparation, it is to have an extra person as an assistant.  I knew this but didn't have anyone to help this time.  Thus you see me in the photos below at Philip Cohen photo studio making all the adjustments to the model and the necklace.  The necklace was long and heavy.  Sometimes we needed two people just to move it.working with a model phil Cohen Photographic
During a photo shoot with a live model, an assistant can step in to make each of the adjustments while you keep your eye on the bigger picture. When I had to go into the camera frame for each adjustment, it was very hard to see everything.

I would move into the frame, change the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace, model, dress, fan, and move out of the camera view for an inspection.  It was all distracting and time-consuming, and I never had time to study the composition. 

photographing with a model at Philip Cohen Photographic

In two hours we tried several poses, standing, sitting, and a few unusual postures for an experimental photographic composition.  (This will be next week's post as the Photoshop iterations still need work.)  Modeling can be tiring as well.  Jen had to balance on two saw horses as just one example. 

Model balancing on two saw horses

Model photo shoot at Philip Cohen Photographic

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the third photoshoot in five days.  Both Phil Cohen and I were getting progressively more tired.  Creativity takes energy. I am still having decision fatigue

A few of the final contending images (from over 100 possibilities) are shown below. There is some variability in the exposure. Ignore that issue. It will be fixed. (These are the proof shots for review rather than the final photos.)

Let me know what you think of the different poses of the model and layout of the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace. Pick your favorite.

Model photo shoot at Philip Cohen Photographic
Model shot #2
Model photo shoot at Philip Cohen Photographic
Model shot #3
Model at philip Cohen Photographic
Model shot #4
Model photo shoot at Philip Cohen Photographic
Model shot #5

 

 

 

Jen-looking-forward
Model Shot #6

 

 

 

 

Model photo shoot at Philip Cohen Photographic
Model shot #7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'd appreciate hearing about your opinions about the images.

 

Harriete   

Posts in this series about photographing the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace: 

Photography -- Model Challenges & Working Out the Details

Photography -- Mannequin Needed! Rent, Buy, or Borrow? Basic or Stylized?

Photography and The Plain White Background

Photography - More than Documentation?

 


Photography -- Mannequin Needed! Rent, Buy, or Borrow? Basic or Stylized?

Phil Cohen photography using a mannequin
While photographing the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace I wanted to try using a mannequin to provide scale and to see the necklace worn with the neutral context that a mannequin can provide.

Suzanne Ramljak, t
he curator for the upcoming exhibition, Uneasy Beauty,  also told me that she would like a mannequin photo in the exhibition catalog for the Fuller Craft Museum. That declaration raises a huge expectation that the mannequin shot needs to be very good, but I am not sure the images using the mannequin shots deliver.  See for yourself in this post. (The next post will showcase the model photos.)  

Since I was committed to at least trying a mannequin photo session, the next question was whether to rent, borrow, or buy a mannequin? 

Borrowing proved to be impossible.  One artist friend did offer her inventory of many mannequins, but she only had mannequins with black painted bodies. That would not work for a black necklace.  I felt that a white mannequin form would be necessary to provide high contrast for photographing a black necklace.

Ultimately, I decided to rent a mannequin and Mannequin Madness in Oakland , CA was recommended to me.


Mannequin Madness in Oakland, CA

Mannequin Madness (shown above) turned out to be a fabulous resource for renting or buying. They have mannequins of every kind and description. 

shape for photography session at Mannequin Madness

Mannequin Madness also has an area set aside for photography with a plain white background paper ready to go. They also have photography lights. This is all available for $30 an hour with a two-hour minimum and they will let you use 2 mannequins or dress forms in their warehouse included in the price. That is a real bargain!   

Available for an additional fee are tripods and "ghost mannequins".  Check out the Mannequin Madness website. Even if you don't live in the San Francisco Bay Area, they do ship and have other locations.  

I rented a mannequin for $90 for a week. P
erhaps if I had more time, I would have considered buying a used mannequin that needed a new layer of paint to refresh her appearance, but I had no time for cosmetic mannequin repair during the week-long photographic marathon.

The vast diversity of mannequins also raised a number of issues that I had not considered until looking at all the options at Mannequin Madness. Some of the mannequins had no heads or no arms.  Some had stylized hands, hair, and faces that would not work for this necklace photoshoot. There were other factors or potential options that I didn't fully appreciate until later.  On the mannequin that I selected, the arms detach for transport, great, but they only attach to the body in a fixed position. Nuts! I could not pose the arm differently or bend the elbow.  And the legs were ridiculously skinny, so skinny that I didn't like looking at them head on.

One feature that I prioritized was natural looking hands (despite the oblique face) when I selected a mannequin.  I also wanted a seamless neck and head for the image that I visualized in my mind before the photoshoot even began.  Here is how it turned out below. 

Mannequin close-up image

Mannequin Photo #1

I think this is a good image. The photo shows a close-up with lots of detail. The necklace fragments have a high contrast profile against the white background and mannequin. Using the mannequin in this pose also provided a more traditional jewelry necklace shot. The downside is that you can not see how long the necklace actually is -- 26 feet long. 

 Photographer Philip Cohen and I worked together for hours on the mannequin photos (shown below). Moving a 26 feet long necklace is not easy.  The Black Plastic Gyre Necklace is far heavier and more delicate than you might expect. The length was easily tangled or twisted and it does have a bottom side so that it can lay properly without damaging itself. 

Below are the best of the mannequin images from perhaps 75 shots. They present a variety of compromises.
 What do you think? Do you have a favorite? Let me know.

Mannequin 2HB61-9154-Edit     Mannequin Photo #2 
MannequinHB61-9159-FIN-55Mannequin Photo #3
Mannequin3HB61-9188Mannequin #4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MannequinHB61-9211Mannequin #5
MannequinHB61-9242-Edit-EditMannequin #6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final mannequin image (#6) uses the mannequin without putting the necklace on the body. While I think it is an interesting image and provides scale for the necklace, I don't think it shows the necklace to best advantage.  

Which photo would you pick as best choice? 

The next post is about using a live model and what I think turned out to be the best photographic shots despite the trade-offs and obstacles.

Harriete  

 

Previous Posts in this series about photographing the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace:
 

Photography -- Model Challenges & Working Out the Details

Photography -- Mannequin Needed! Rent, Buy, or Borrow? Basic or Stylized?

Photography and The Plain White Background

Photography - More than Documentation?

 


Photography and The Plain White Background

HB61-9075-Edit
Photo image #1

For the first photo shoot of the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace, I used plain white paper background. This is possibly the most conservative approach to documenting the artwork.  It also gave photographer Philip Cohen practice with lighting and exposure for the challenging black-on-black textures.

Out of the 75+ images Cohen took in three hours, the goal now is to select just a few of the best.  I pay for each image that I decide to keep, therefore I need to choose wisely.  Experience has taught me that I end up using the best images over and over, but at this initial selection stage, my brain is often overwhelmed with decision fatigue.

And because I am still vibrating with concerns with the intricate details of fabricating the artwork, it is difficult to view the work objectively at arm's length to see what is the best image.   

So, of the five photos in this post which ones would you buy?
HB61-9075-Edit
Photo image #2

Which photos capture the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace most effectively? Tell me what you think. 
HB61-9075-Edit
Photo image #3

Here is how I went through my selection criteria:

A minimum requirement is a full view and a detail close-up -- but which ones?

Also, I'd like to have a vertical and a horizontal.  One never knows which situation may call for a particular format.  Reframing an image in Photoshop is an option, but the result isn't always the best quality photo. Optimal focus and lighting is always in the original image from the photographer.

Social networking sites add to the quandary on vertical or horizontal. The constant use of computers for viewing images has made the horizontal format very popular. Horizontal images work well for Facebook and social network banners. Vertical images work better on Pinterest.  Instagram leans toward square. There is no way to use one image for everything anymore.

The full view below is great, but it presents a major weakness  -- there is no way to know that the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace is 26 feet long.  
HB61-9075-Edit
Photo image #4

With a plain white background, there is no indication of scale.  This image provides no clue for a viewer to tell how big this necklace is at all, yet for my purposes, a plain white background is essential to emphasize the stark black and white contrast.  Typical alternative backgrounds such as wood texture, sand, rocks, or a room-like context may work for an editorial shot, but would likely distract excessively from this particular artwork and my expectations for using the photo.

How can a photo of a large object reveal detail, materials, scale and the artist's intent all at the same time?

HB61-9075-Edit

Photo image #5

Lacking any reference for scale, this close-up section could be 2 inches or 2 feet.  This can be a serious issue when a curator or juried situation is looking for something bigger or smaller if they don't fully comprehend the description.

Out of the five photos in this post, which ones would you select?  Each choice adds expense.

Would you change your choices by knowing that I have additional shots on a mannequin and a model?   These will be shown in the upcoming posts.

 

Harriete

 

Background information about hiring a photographer (below.)

Here are a couple of very practical issues when you hire a professional photographer.

Professional photography is an expense that some artists and makers may consider optional, but there is no doubt that professional quality images will elevate your work when seen by exhibition sponsors, curators, and potential buyers. Professional quality images can open doors and provide opportunities.  Lacking professional quality images may incur an opportunity cost that an artist may not even realize. 

Once you've chosen to have professional photographs of your art or craft, ask photographers about their fee structure.  Philip Cohen charges by the hour for the photography session, and then I pay an additional amount for each final image that I choose.  But money is not the only issue. You need quality photographs and a photographer that is familiar with your medium. A working relationship with a photographer that understands your intent is paramount.

 

 

Harriete  

 

Posts in this series about photographing the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace:

Drowning, Strangled, Suffocating in Plastic -- and Experimenting with Images

Photography -- Model Challenges & Working Out the Details

Photography -- Mannequin Needed! Rent, Buy, or Borrow? Basic or Stylized?

Photography and The Plain White Background

Photography - More than Documentation?

 


Thanksgiving 2017 in Black and White

Black and white thanksgiving theme
This year my Thanksgiving table theme was in black and white, a reflection of the current propensity for political and social polarization.  

With a small group this year, our conversation topics brought everyone into thoughtful and civil debate. Some controversies were acknowledged but remained unresolved.  In particular, the recent revelations in the news about inappropriate behavior by men in power positions are leaving everyone shocked.

#Metoo can't be ignored, nor should it be. I don't know any women who haven't experienced inappropriate advances. The widespread public revelations could lead to a huge pivot in society. Although I remain circumspect about accusations without evidence, I tend to believe the women. Where will this lead?  How will social behavior and expected norms shift?

   White roses and white pumplin

The black and white theme included white roses flowers and a white pumpkin.

Black and White flowers arrangement with whtie carnations, gerbena daisies with black center, and white rosesWhite carnations, white roses, and white Gerbera Daisies with black centers continued the motif. The black bowl worked well as a framing device for the flowers and foliage.

Black and white Ebonette

This year the black and white theme was inspired by my collection of Knowles Ebonette vintage dishes. Designed in 1954, they are of a classic mid-century modern design. Every plate was hand painted with the black and white lines so they vary quite a bit. The dinner plates have a slightly squarish shape. The bowls are slightly irregular. It seems the blank ceramic for these dishes were painted in different patterns.

The Edwin M. Knowles Company "ceased operations in late 1962 citing a lack of foreseeable profits.   This was largely blamed on tariffs which were said to encourage the importation of foreign dinnerware at prices so low that E. M. Knowles could not be competitive."

The current debate on "made in America" is not a new topic.
Black and white Thanksgiving table.
I also used my vintage gold plated flatware and gold and black glasses. All mid-century modern that I have collected for years.  

In closing, I wanted to share one secret for a memorable table setting  that can be used anytime you want to set an amazing table -- it is as simple as a roll of paper. Sometimes I feel inspired to paint the paper or more often I discover a roll of gift wrap that offers great colors or patterns. A great pattern on the table can inspire a new way to look at the dishes you already own. 

Harriete

 


Fabricating TRUTH with a Web of Lies

Ever since the January presidential inauguration, I have been repeatedly dazed by both shock and dismay.  In addition to stepping up my political activism significantly, I have been channeling my fears and frustrations into "Fabricating TRUTH" along with three new bracelets. Today's post shows the final steps for one of the bracelets, "Web of Lies". 

Harriete Estel Berman soldering Web of Lies
Harriete Estel Berman soldering the decorative edge to Web of Lies Bracelet


Confidentially, I must confess that the final steps of finishing any artwork fill me with anxiety -- so much concern that I sometimes even delay finishing. Does that happen to you?

Will the final results be equal to my original imagination?  I always find the end of a project scary. I am worried that the last steps will ruin weeks to months of work.  

For these bracelets, I never made any drawings or models.  I've never made anything similar. In the beginning, it was more of a concept with little idea about how I'd even construct each bracelet. It was all in my head, nothing more than a mental image.


Gary Roepelle at Monsen PlatingDespite my concerns, I pushed forward.  

Because I imagined that the "Web of Lies" bracelet should be gold plated, I had to find a plating shop which is becoming increasingly difficult to find. But instead of a problem, this adventure led to a surprising highlight.  A fellow silversmith, Gary Reopelle, who owns Monsen Plating in Berkeley, CA, agreed to plate my "Web of Lies" bracelet.

Gary is a rare breed.  At 76 years young and tough, there aren't many silversmiths and plating shops anymore. A rare breed in another respect because there surely aren't' many Republicans in Berkeley either -- but we were highly aligned with our hand skills, silver repair work.

Gold-plating-solution-Rio-GrandeThe gold plating solution is cyanide-based and has to be shipped with a hazardous materials surcharge, so this would cost close to $200.  But it was really important to the concept of this bracelet to have it gold plated.

Trump-in-gold-ballroom

The gold plating on the Web of Lies Bracelet was an important symbolic component for the bracelet because Trump properties and branding ostentatiously uses the appearance of gold, (even if it is plastic or paint) as a symbolic motif. The superficial gold is a pretense of value, so thin it is essentially fake.  

If you aren't familiar with the Trump brand, this photo (left) is a stellar example of the prevailing decorative motif. 

 

 

  


Electro-cleaningElectro-cleaning is always the first step for all plating. Removing the buffing compound, fingerprints, and every speck of dust is essential for good plating. This was followed by a rinse with a hose. All the waste water (even from the cleaning tank) is considered hazardous waste and has to be disposed of in compliance with environmental protection standards. It costs over $600 to dispose of one tank of "rinse water." No wonder plating in so expensive. 

 

 


IMG_20170614_132736830The photo (left) shows the Web of Lies bracelet with a nickel plate. It looked fabulous already. Nickel plating has a hard smooth bright finish.  There was an intermediate step of a copper plating (before this) for great adhesion of the plating. Each of the plating steps took only minutes as the shape of the bracelet was easy to handle.  Nickel plate is necessary so the gold plating does not alloy with the brass construction or copper plating underneath. 

Gold-plating-web-lies

The photo (left) shows the gold plating solution. The gold molecules in solution will plate on the bracelet.  This is as much skill as intuition. Gary kept adjusting the volts and amps to get it to plate just right (shown below). So exciting! 

Gold plating..... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusting-reostat-plating

In the photo below you can see Web of Lies gold plated.

Gold-plated-web-of-lies

I want to extend my sincere gratitude to Gary Ropelle, owner and master at Monsen Plating for his skill and generosity. He and I are in the same increasingly rarefied silver repair business. He has a lifetime collection of hammers (left) and forming tools (right) that made me jealous.  A lifetime of accumulation for working with metal.
Hammers-Monsen-Plating  Steel-shapes-Monsen-plating

 

 

 

 

 

Monsen Plating also had another feature that I greatly admire .... space for tools and equipment. 

Tools-Monsen-plating

In contrast, my studio space is squeezed into a two car garage.  Whether doing silver repair or artwork, I often dream of having a gigantic studio in my next lifetime. In the meantime, I am working as fast as I can.

Stay tuned for my next post with behind-the-scenes photos of Philip Cohen's professional photography of TRUTH and the three bracelets. 

Harriete 

 


Advancing Science Even Though I'm Not A Scientist

IMG_20170422_121158001_HDR
Recently, I participated in the March for Science, San Francisco. It was important to lend my voice and my presence to support to such an important topic.  

IMG_20170422_122602361There were thousands of people from every part of the community and many great signs....but this one really resonated with me.

GOT POLIO?
ME NEITHER. 
THANKS SCIENCE

I am old enough to remember the fear of polio. When the first vaccines were available, everyone, I mean everyone, stood in line at the local high school to get vaccinated. The lines were blocks long.  I remember seeing every person I knew, and many who I didn't, stand in line. No one complained about the inconvenience because this vaccine would prevent polio. The vaccine was free.  It eliminated the pervasive fear of polio that came every summer.
 
I'm not a scientist, but I think it is important to support science. Walking in the March for Science was a visible statement along with a mass movement.  But there are many other ways that any individual can help at any time.  One option is to participate in a medical research study as a healthy NORMAL control subject.

With emerging technologies to inexpensively study genetic markers, DNA, and manage volumes of information, medical research is changing. Now with something as easy a saliva sample, studies can look for genetic markers for disease -- but many studies take much longer time to complete due to a lack of a reference population.  They need more NORMAL people to compare samples and distinguish non-disease from disease.

The future holds the possibility of treatment for many diseases before there are even symptoms. Medicines are being developed and studied to understand their effectiveness based on an individual and not the whole population.

IMG_20170422_124306031_HDRGOOD MEDICINE relies on Good Science.
This is not a futuristic dream.
 It is now.

This is where every artist and maker can help advance science. By agreeing to participate in research as a healthy control, you can advance science. A small amount of your time, saliva, blood...or other samples can advance science. Many of the studies that I have participated in were only a survey or demographic study. Your participation in science can change the world. 

IMG_20170422_122949895_HDR
Below are three places to sign up for a study as a control subject. You can just participate based on your availability, whether there are study centers/universities near you,  your interest in a research topic, etc. Perhaps there is a disease that runs in your family that you would like to understand better and change the treatment for future generations. You always have the choice to participate in a study as a healthy control.

Michael J.Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research matches you up to studies. Not all studies relate to Parkinson’s

Research Match will match you up with a number of different studies. You can say no to anything that you don't have time to do. 

Verily Life Science — a Google life sciences company owned by Alphabet — is finally kicking off the massive study it first announced three years ago. What is a healthy person? Sounds really interesting, doesn't it?

Harriete

IMG_20170422_135331899_HDR


Misstress of the Home Trapped by Modern Convenience

Mistresshome_backB

Many years ago (actually in another century), I made a sculpture (shown above) titled: "Misstress of the Home Bound to Modern Convenience."  Memories of this piece have been echoing in my mind for months while preparing for New Year's Day 2017 -- a self-imposed deadline to launch new digital content and update my online presence.   

Are we trapped, bound or benefiting by"Modern Convenience?"  This has been seven months of virtual housekeeping efforts at the risk of getting swept away by Google as an obsolete version. Technology is convenient, yes, but the effort to re-organize, improve access, and reduce expenses comes at a price. 

Mistresshome_frontB

After 7 months of effort, I have two new websites, an artist website and separate website for my silver repair business.

With the new website is a new email address.  I would be glad to share it with you to stay in touch. Here's how...

Email me directly
by clicking on the envelope (in the upper left column of this blog) or contact me through my website form  or copy from the image (below right).   I'm not printing the email here in order to avoid getting spammed. 

Misstress of the Home Bound to Modern Convenience (the upright vacuum featured in this post) is 27" in height. It is not a found object but fabricated in 1982 to look like a real appliance. This is a very real and personal metaphor. "Harriete" means "mistress of the home."  At the time I was commenting on many of the cultural expectations placed on women and the demands of modern living.

Misstress is purposely spelled "miss" as in the confinement of the idealized stereotype of "Miss America" beauty contests. 
Misstress_side-old-new-email 2
A new website also means eliminating my old website and the email
associated with it.
 Very scary indeed! A thirteen year old web identity has been swept away. My old email @harriete-estel-berman.info will be gone.....nada...no more.....   If this email was the only email you had for me..... it is disappearing.  

It has been a huge effort to update all my "log in" information and newsletters.  If... I have missed your updates...email me at my new address. When was the last time you look at every social network that includes your work?  

More legacy costs are being swept away ..... 

For 28 years I had a studio phone for my studio and silver repair business. I grew up with the yellow pages at my fingertips, but who uses the yellow pages any more? My realization is that a business phone listing  in the yellow pages is archaic. 
Let-Your-Fingers-Do-The-Walking-Pencils-sh

I was spending $720 a year to have a listing in the yellow pages for my silver repair business, however,  my new website for Berman Fine Silverwork was bringing in all the work.  An update on my website and online presence like  YELP and Facebook was just another example of "house cleaning" for the 21st century. Most of my customers contact me by email anyway. My cell phone will now fill every role, every day, studio and business.

Speaking of cell phones. The upside is that my both of my new websites are now mobile friendly, a mandated requirement by Google for being ranked in search results. Is your website "mobile-friendly?

The Professional Guidelines  are now completely available on line also. Every word in every document is completely searchable on the web in addition to a downloadable PDF document. The Consignment Contract, Exhibition Contract, and Model Release Form are available as Word documents so they can be edited to suit your needs.   

So my new year is a new me, new website, new email, new ways to get in touch. This Everready Working Woman is cleaning house.

EverreadyAH80072

Everready Working Woman from 1984 meets the 21st century in 2017. 

Harriete


Artistic Expression and Being an Artist

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From my earliest memories I have always wanted to be an artist. The lifelong aspiration was not simply to make art or sell art, I wanted to be an artist.  The depth of this "being an artist" constantly spills over into daily life -- and positively overflows with anticipation of a shared experience with family and friends.  Witness the Thanksgiving table above as this year's display of artistic expression.

Every year I look forward to reinventing my Thanksgiving table as an extension of being an artist. This year the table color scheme was persimmon red, black and gold. 

IMG_20161123_162145913_HDR

Company is invited for a late afternoon gathering so that the natural lighting has the golden glazing hues of fall.   For me, the light coming through the windows is as important as the lighting in a painting.  Experiencing the light, the decorative arrangements, the food, and friends all resolve to the point that so much of life's activities can be artistic experiences. 

Thanksgiving is such a profound holiday in its simplicity of acknowledging what we are thankful for.  The commercial and/or religious aspects are secondary to the idea of spending time with friends and family together.

As we slide into the merchandising marathon for the remainder of the year, I relish the golden tones of artistic expression without selling anything. 

 Harriete

 Below are past Thanksgiving Tables. 

Thanksgiving 2015 008
Part of the fun is working on the preparation together. Thanksgiving 2015 
Thanksgiving 2015 056
Reinventing my table each year is my favorite part. Thanksgiving 2015 
Thanksgiving 2014 flower arrangements 003
Flower arrangements are different every year. Thanksgiving 2014 is still my best. 
ThanksgivingPlate closerlower
Chanukah Gelt & gold theme. Thanksgiving 2013
Thanks2Mondrian2012ARyn and Harriete
Sharing the festive planning with my daughter. Thanksgiving 2012 
Leaf shaped carrot cake with textured frosting.
Thanksgiving 2011 the leaf motif included the carrot cake. 
Black, chartreuse green, and gray for a Thanksgiving table motif.
Wrapping paper can work well to establish a color scheme. Thanksgiving 2010
Black and green chartreuse dishes set a Thanksgiving theme.
These vintage inspired Thanksgiving 2010 theme of black and chartreuse

 

Thanksgiving Centerpiece
Brass spherical vase used for 
Brass spherical vase used for Thanksgiving 2009 was my first hollow-ware project from 1971.
black and white and grey motif for Thanksgiving 2008
Wrapping paper is a great way to establish a strong motif for your table. I try to reuse the wrapping paper for other uses after this festive meal. Thanksgiving 2008.

A Painful Purge and the Legacy Costs of Information

legacy costs of information
A legacy of information! 
I'm going through all my color slides….and black & white photos.  Thousands of images and thousands more duplicates.  A legacy of my entire career.

IMG_20160929_181941176

And throwing it all away.  Obsolete media.

 All my original images will be digital from here on.

[gickr_com]_eddb7504-39e9-8fa4-ed30-50014161cea3
I
n looking through 40+ years of accumulated physical images, I am reminded of the history and optimism anticipated in each and every image that is going into the trash.  As an artist I adored the quality of the images and took pride in being prepared when needed.  It was a badge of honor at a professional level. I remember the care and investment of time and money that went into the composition, processing, selection, cataloging, storing, organizing, and maintaining these visual manifestations of my craft skill and artistic vision. Now I am taking these beloved slides and photos out of their neat and tidy boxes, taking careful inventory to keep one, just one copy of the best image,  and dumping the rest into the dumpster.


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I feel remorse in the wasted materials.
 
I feel guilt in generating such waste.
  This is a painful purge.

But the physical media has become a burden.  

IMG_20161002_182304915_HDRFortunately, the "information" of these images will live on when converted to digital media.   My daughter helped me realize that companies large and small deal with this legacy cost" all the time. They have archives of information that could be valuable to current or future users.  Information companies like Weather Underground choose to preserve past weather information and make it accessible on their website. They realize that the history of weather information is valuable, but stored data must also be compatible with newer digital interfaces.  Researchers using newer or different platforms need the archived information to be compatible to gain the benefits of analyzing long term trends over decades of accumulated information in ways that were not previously possible.  

purging a legacy of information in slide imagesArtists also may have a legacy of information or objects.  At what point does old work become out dated inventory?

I look at it differently. Old work has potential in future exhibition opportunities. It could even be my retirement income as I have witnessed in the revival of interest in mid-century modern jewelry. Important painters often kept their best work increased in value.

Museums are the consummate examples of legacy information and the costs of maintaining archives.   They store objects and information indefinitely with the expectation that value will be realized well into the future.


Misbehaving EconomicsWhy did I finally decide to throw away all these slides and photos?
  I was reading a book about behavioral economics … “Misbehaving - The Making of Behavioral Economics"  by Richard Thaler.  The book discusses a relatively new field in economics observing how many financial decisions are not made on a purely rational basis.  

Black-white-photos-legacy-informationOne financial concept struck home for me - "sunk costs."  The book made clear that my slides and photos that are no longer in a useful form (and all the time and money I invested in them) are "sunk costs."  Keeping them any longer would just cost more storage expense. Businesses often describe this storage expense as  "carrying cost" or inventory cost.  However, if the images (or any other inventory items) are not or cannot be used any longer, they have no current or future value.  To use up storage space in my cramped studio is just more wasted money.  

Vertical-quantity-of-images-informationEvery artist and maker has legacy information in their older work that represents their career and their credibility. The construction of my new website caused me to re-examine how I needed to make my images (my "information") more accessible for current and future use.   In the past three weeks, I have invested a great deal of time to find one, just one best copy of each image to digitize for the future.

I see my new website as a new and more accessible form of my work -- a new catalog that enables more people to more easily access my images and for me to connect with more opportunities.  I look forward to adding images to my website that were not digital. Images of inspiration and work in progress could be interesting to a wider audience.

I took great professional pride in my inventory of slides and black & white photos  to be ready for opportunities.  Now the ongoing value of my "information" (the intrinsic substance of my images) through this new digital media greatly expands how I can gain the attention of others and be prepared for many more opportunities.  My new website is adaptive to phones, tablets and computers.  Using a template site (which I resisted for years) means that it will be a stable format for further changes in technology.


Website-2016Despite my acute awareness of my past investments, I see this transition as a revitalization of my legacy information.
  Take a moment to look at my new website.  Critique the content.  Find mistakes.  Bookmark it for later updates. Lots more information is coming in future months. This is a work in progress, a new future, a new  year.

Harriete

 

 


An Exuberance of Color in Studio Jewelry

Three bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman
This week I'm flying to Santa Fe, NM for an opening of an exhibition at Tansey Contemporary  curated by Gail Brown. I am honored to have my work included in the show which is titled: An Exuberance of Color in Studio Jewelry.

The catalog is available online.  It is very well done and filled with exceptional work.

Catalog-Exuberance-color-Berman-Tansey

Participating jewelers include Julia Barello; Harriete Estel Berman, Jessica Calderwood; emiko oye; Arline Fisch; Donald Friedlich; Rebekah Laskin; Karen Massaro; Bruce Metcalf; Mike Simonian; Marjorie Schick; Joyce Scott; Barbara Seidenath; Helen Shirk; Marjorie Simon; Rachelle Thiewes; Linda Threadgill; Cynthia Toops; Dan Adams; Roberta & Dave Williamson; and Amy Lemaire.

Harriete Berman bracelet from recycled tin cans as a commentary about our consumer

Each jeweler is featured in the catalog. If you have the opportunity to see the show in person, I believe it will be worth your time. 

 

Do I go to many openings?

The time and effort to travel for an opening is not an easy option. I typically prefer to save money, keep expenses low, and stay home to work, but this invitation from Gail Brown to participate in this exhibition represents a long relationship of generous patronage. Going to Sante Fe is an adventure. 

After the show, I am taking two days off with my husband for a cultural history trip to Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico. Originally this was supposed to be just for an kind archaeological adventure, but it seems that this area was recently designated as a 'dark-sky preserve' so I have (sucked in my breath and) committed to camping under the stars. 

Will I see you in Santa Fe?  The opening is Friday evening, August 5.  

Harriete


BermanH.Metallic -Gold-linear-UPC Berman- Harriete-bracelet-triangule-color

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Profit and Lost from Seth Godin 

Exhibition Opportunities For Finished Work? How to Find Them.



 


Vision of the Artist, Vision of the Photographer

-LOGO_footerIn February, Boris Bally invited me to participate in an exhibition about "changing society's views about the dangers of handguns."  The show title is "IMAGINE (Innovative Merger of Art & Guns to Inspire New Expressions) Peace Now!" Each artist was given a disabled hand gun (randomly chosen and mailed to the participating artists) to use as part of the artwork. 

When my gun arrived, it was the first time I ever touched a gun.

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The gun was from a "gun buy back" program. You can't see the damage to the gun in the above photo. Harriete, ever the perfectionist, actually spent a lot of time improving the appearance of the gun.

The problem was that the artwork had to be finished and photographed by June 30. That is not much time by Harriete standards. I had no idea what I was going to make until.... 

...until I saw this check writing machine at a yard sale.

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I knew immediately what could be done!
The illustration below was drawn by my daughter, Aryn Shelander as we discussed the piece. As I recall the blood was her brainstorm which was a terrific idea as I wanted to give the final artwork more graphic impact.

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The title of the artwork is "Checking the Cost of Gun Violence."  I knew the title from the very beginning.

After countless hours of research I found the statistics that would go with the work. The lettering from recycled tin cans had to be red as if written in blood.

The barrel of the gun was attached to the handle. Much to my surprise this was the easiest part of the assembly. It was as if the gun was made for the artwork.

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The pool of "blood" and new red face plates for the gun handle were created from recycled tin cans.

To get to this point required intense weeks of work. Above is an early test shot in the studio.  I try to take a few test shots during fabrication to make sure that my artistic vision of the artwork is going to work in the photo. 

Next I added blood red paint to match the blood red metal. 

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Drips were hard to create.  Not sure how long they will last.

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Another test shot below. Now I need spent bullet casings (technically referred to as shells.)

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Getting the shell casings from bullets required a couple of trips to local shooting ranges. I wanted used shell casings as that seemed more symbollic. 

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It was really exciting that the folks at Jackson Arms shooting range gave me a generous amount so I could pick through them.

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Another test shot.  Test shots also help to show the photographer my vision for the finished photograph. Above is the "quickie shot" with my phone. 

Below, my photographer, Philip Cohen, provides photos of the finished sculpture with all his professional skill, superior camera, lights, and action.   

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Various close-up images are shown below. Philip Cohen always gives me a wide selection of close-ups and I pick from the preview images (shown in this post.)  


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I pay for each shot....and can only use three images for this exhibition entry....so I choose carefully.

32, 514 people including children are killed each year.

 Checking-cost-gun-violence-front

Statistics on the front are actual gun statistics from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
"EACH DAY"  there are 31 Murders, 55 Suicides, 2 Accidental Deaths, 1 Death by Police Action, 210 Injured, and costs $627 Million in  America.  Each DAY!  

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The 89 shell casings represent the average number of deaths each day in America involving guns.

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I hope you found this interesting to see the progression from vision of the artist to the professional quality images from Philip Cohen.

Checking-cost-gun-violence-gun

Feel welcome to offer your opinion about your favorite images. I can only submit three images to the exhibition.

Harriete

P.S. More news about the traveling exhibition, future exhibition venues, and the catalog in future posts. I understand that Boris Bally is looking for exhibition venues. There will be a Kickstarter Campaign for the catalog.


Gemini Battlebot (I Helped Fabricate) Will Be On TV

The Gemini Battlebots that I helped fabricate will be on broadcast television!! Watch it on Hulu!!  Tune into ABC Battlebots show Thursday, June 23  at 10:00pm West Coast time. I have no idea what will be shown, and the little I know about the Battlebot competition, I am not allowed to reveal. Shhhhhhhhhhh.........

If you missed the show....here is a longer preview (1:48 second) The whole show was hilarious to us...in the know. You can see my son, and even my husband on national television! The production for Battlebots was amazing. This is the first time my son build a Battlebot and he got to be in a nationally televised competition.  (Gemini Battlebot shown at 1:18, 1:36. My son and his team member 1:25) 

The experience fabricating a contender for Battlebots was empowering, but the outcome at the time was unknown. Sometimes you simply have to try your hardest, work day after day. stay up late night after night, and then pull an all-nighter because if you don't try, nothing will happen. 

And if you do try your absolute best.... you will at the very least create a possibility.

Harriete 

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Above: Harriete drilling holes in the Gemini weapon parts at the TECH Shop, San Francisco, CA. (Blue tape on the drill bit was to mark where to stop.) That day was a solid 10 hours of drilling, and grinding....non-stop.  Photo credit: Ace Shelander.

Ace designed, engineered and was the primary fabricator for Gemini Battlebots. More part fabrication at the milling machine shown below. 

Ace Shelander holding up part just finished at the milling machine at the TECH Shop

part for Gemini Battlebot with aluminum chips after milling


At the Intersection Between CAD/ CAM and Craft

Recently, I was a guest worker at Radicand in an effort to help my son, Ace, fabricate his Gemini BattleBot for an upcoming Battlebot competition for an ABC summer show. The smaller red robot (at 125 lbs.) (in the video below) is the one I helped make. 

 

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Photo above shows some of the Radicand engineers and Aryn Shelander (guest worker 12:00 midnight to 3:00 a.m.) during our all-nighter.

Harriete driling the Gemini Battlebot partsThe much larger scale of every part in this Battlebot was certainly a challenge but I soon realized that my hand fabrication skills translated well. And among several surprising observations, I soon realized just how important it is that handcrafting skills are still needed.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was witnessing the entire fabrication process beginning with CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacture) and progressing through each of the necessary steps to final assembly and operational testing.  Not everything is computerized.  A good "eyeball" and steady hands were involved.
 

water Jet cutting of battlebot partsAfter the parts were perfectly cut with a a waterjet, I still had to figure out where to manually mark the holes (referencing from the cut edge with calipers), center punch the holes, hope the drill centered itself accurately on the center punch, and then to actually drill the holes straight.


precisely cut parts ready for marking and drillingI have plenty of experience, lots of skills for precision metalwork, and at the same time, at every step I was astounded by the inherent possibility of inaccuracy
. The CAD provides a tolerance of 0.001 inch, but how accurate can a skilled craftsperson be while rushed to get this done as quickly as possible?    


IMG_20160413_151752682CAD/CAM offers precise designs, but in reality, some machine-made perfection must integrate with handmade steps.  The bridge between theoretical precision and adept skills is left in the hands of the human maker.

 



Moving on....more observations...

Ace Shelander designed the Gemini BattlebotsMy son, Ace, designed his entire BattleBot in CAD software called Solidworks. (This is one the major software design programs used for prototyping and manufacturing.) 

Most of the parts were cut from steel and aluminum by water jet. The results were quite impressive. The TECH Shops (at both San Francisco and San Jose) have water jets. It costs $3.00 a minute to use the water jet (after you pay to take a class). 

 
The water jet cuts the holes first so the small parts don't move (this why it doesn't appear to be moving very much at the beginning.)  Then the water jet cuts the edges of the parts.  The speed is determined by the material and thickness.

Additional parts were cut with a water jet at KELLER Industries in San Carlos. Their water jet was even bigger, faster and louder. The Keller brothers and sons were incredibly nice and reduced the intimidating, even daunting, hurdle of approaching a commercial industrial metal fabricating business.

While water jet is used for large-scale fabrication, it is also ideal for prototyping and one-of-a-kind. Just pop in the file and the computer controls the cuts.  

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Here is a short video.

Harriete can cut sheets of aluminum and file them close to CAM perfection, but should I cut six sheets?  Where is the role of CAD/CAM in our craft work? I am a huge advocate for craft and hand made, but seriously question why we should be hand crafting in those situations when machines can do the work faster and cheaper. This is especially true for multiples.

Is "hand made" purity an absolute attribute when technologies could help us be more productive?

Are we disloyal to handmade if we consider using fabrication technologies that can help us be more cost-effective?

I love making by hand, but there is a place where we should be working smarter and faster when the machines can do it as well as (or better than) we can.

This isn't an easy topic to tackle. I don't think the answer is absolutely one way or the other.  CAD/CAM or handmade or mixing the best of both?  I am beginning to think that we need to learn the computer software and the technologies if they can help make our work better and faster. 

Harriete


I Love the Smell of Dykem in the Morning

Recently, I took on a new role of intensive robot making to assist my son in the assembly of his Gemini Battlebots. We worked at the fabrication space of the prototyping firm, Radicand.

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My first observation was that the scale of everything was ten times larger than my usual metal working experience.
 We are talking about 1/2 inch thick aluminum, 24" x 24" large plates of steel, and titanium.

Would my fine metalworking skills translate into another realm? 

Harriete's-tool box.pgIn a rush to squeeze this sprint assembly into my busy life, I filled a shoe box with my favorite tools. Dykem, jeweler's saw, saw blades, cut-off discs with mandrels, Opti-visor, and more.... including my own task lighting. 

Was I going to be embarrassed taking my jewelry and sculpture skills into the domain of mechanical engineers (all men) and CAD/CAM engineering?   

It really does seen to be a domain of men.  Another early observation started two weeks ago looking for local water jet cutting and welding services.  Whether calling or visiting in person, there seems to be no women in any machine shop or welding establishment. In a time when women are entering every field (including combat), metal fabrication seems to be a male dominated sphere.  The engineering prototyping world also included only men. Surely there must be women in the metal fabrication field and geek world, but I didn't see any.

Harriete's-dykemWould my hand crafting skills in tin and silver repair translate into this "real world" scale? My favorite tool for layout is Dykem. Fortunately,  I brought mine from my studio. The fabrication space at the shop didn't have their own. Not every mother can bring their own bottle of Dykem. I love the smell of Dykem in the morning.

IMG_20160413_154530630Just in case you don't know: Dykem is a solvent based layout die for marking metal. It provides a clear background to mark or scribe lines and it is so much easier to see against shiny metal. I learned to use my son's digital calipers, and in no time I am reading CAD drawings and marking large metal blocks as precisely as a person can at 1/100th of an inch.

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Marking metal for drilling holes was my first job. I wasn't drilling one or two holes but 60 holes at a time.  And then continued drilling for ten hours non-stop. I am not exaggerating. 

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Then, I was drilling holes with larger drills through 2 thick layers of super strong aluminum plates. These were high technology materials that weighed around 20 pounds or more.  It was heavy to hold in the correct position while pulling down on the drill press. I had no time to stop. It is good I've worked out lifting weights at the gym.

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Then came countersinking holes.  Eventually, I learned that if I was more aggressive with the countersink it worked much better. 

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It was really hard work holding the plates up with one hand, and pulling the drill bit down with the other. 

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Next, I learned to tap every hole with a drill. Every skill was scary at first, but I was totally in my element.

My skills and metal work precision were right on target. I got better very fast. Complicated layouts, drilling, and tapping were well within my skill set. This was an empowering experience. 
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Would you like to see more fabrication shots of the Gemini Battlebots? Click here.  If you're interested . . . there are a lot more photos coming.

I have more observations about the intersection of CAD/CAM and handmade. More posts soon...when I recover...but here is something you might want to know.

Jewelers and metalsmiths can and should take their skills and tools to the design and prototyping field.  I know several metalsmiths with art school skills and education and they have told me what they do in prototyping, and it sounded really interesting. They have fascinating projects and make a great living. They can still make their own work without the starving artist mentality.

This was my first personal experience within the design and prototyping field. To the many jewelry and metalsmiths reading this blog, there is an alternative to the struggle of making money solely in "crafts" where a viable living is frustrated by a highly competitive market with a shrinking audience.  Learn CAD software and take your design sensibilities and technical skills where it is needed and appreciated in a growing field.

More observations coming soon.

Harriete

 *The title of this post "I Love the Smell of Dykem in the Morning" was inspired by the famous quote :  "I Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning" from the movie Apocalypse Now. It was spoken by the character Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore as played by actor Robert Duvall. He played a super tough, fearless character in the movie.


Vintage Visual Feast Thanksgiving 2015

Every year, my favorite part of the holiday season is theme development in preparation for my Thanksgiving table . Similar to theme development for a booth display, the theme for a table should stimulate a visual feast of repeating design elements over and over.  

Thanksgiving 2015 photographed by photographer Philip CohenPhotograph of the Thanksgiving 2015  by Philip Cohen.

My goal each year is to reinvent our Thanksgiving table and deliver a completely different and memorable experience. This year it was inspired by vintage 1950's/60's screen printed Filkauf commercial fabric,fabric that I found in a secret, dusty, musty storage room at Direct Office Furniture in Harrisburg, PA. (Check out the Red Door Consignment Gallery for great furniture options at the same location.)
Fiklauf vintage fabric for our Vintage Thanksgviing Feast.
 Vintage Fabric from the 1950's/60's is marked "Filkauf Inherently Fire Retardant Fabric Screen Printed".

The screen printed leaf pattern and fall colors were perfect for a Thanksgiving table. To save time I fringed the edge. It looked great.
Filkauf Inherently Fire Retardant Fabric was vintage 50's 60's in fall colors

Long Thanksgiving table for 17 people A phenomenal stroke of good fortune, the fabric was large enough to cover the entire table for 17 people in one piece.  Photo left is before setting the table...   

 

 

The idea for the vintage theme began 5 months ago with the discovery and purchase of two "atomic era" (1950's) starburst candlestick holders from West Germany.Vintage atomic motif plastic candlestics from West Germany started our theme for Thanksgiving.


Atomic starburst plastic candlesticks from West GermanyYes they are a little weird but I loved the orange translucent colors and vintage atomic aesthetic that also reminded me of pumpkins. Then I had to find six more online. Amazingly, most of the Friedel Gesch plastic purchased online was unused, still with the original tag. Imagine, they have been sitting in a drawer for 60 years!


Thanksgiving 2015 031

Orange candles weren't hard to find. Adding small sugar pumpkins boosted the orange shapes and color  on the table. The sugar pumpkins will be cooked at a later date. 


Gold leaf glasses for our  Thanksgiving 2015 037These vintage Libby glasses from the 1950's with gold leaf design further repeat the leaf theme of the table cloth perfectly. I bought them for a past Thanksgiving and fortunately had about 20 of them. 

  


 

The gold plated flatware was my grandmother's from the 1960's. I remember when she bought it. I think she only used it once. Dishwashers and convenience-focused lifestyles really brought an end to gold leaf glasses and gold plated flatware. None of this is dishwasher safe.  

Gold plated flatware complete of Thanksgiving theme

All of the plates were from my collection of vintage dinnerware collected over the years. The colors were selected to match the colors in the tablecloth.  The plates sat on gold chargers to repeat the gold of the flatware and gold leaf glasses. 

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The floral arrangements were real fall leaves with the addition of some dried orange pods. Both the leaves and orange pods echoed the tablecloth leaf motif and colors.  

Thanksgiving 2015 001

 


Thanksgiving 2015 007Left 
is our menu card inspired by the vintage fabric tablecloth.

Dessert included a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in the shape of leaves inspired by the tablecloth. It took a whole crew and hours of work . . . and topped off with a final touch of chocolate creativity to bring this to fruition.

 

 

 

 

 

Making our Thanksgiving dessert to match our vintage tablecloth.  

The dessert crew made abstract chocolate leaves as the final touch.

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The photo below shows how you make the chocolate leaf shapes. 
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Just paint warm chocolate on wax paper, let them cool, and peel them off. 

Vintage fabric, dishes, glasses, and flatware with atomic candlesticks. 
Theme development with repetition of the visual elements works every time. Give it a try for your next holiday table or booth display. 

Thanksgiving 2015 002

Thanksgiving 2015 029Harriete 

P.S. Commercial fabric is often fire proof so it would be suitable for booth display.

E-bay and Etsy are both great resources for finding obscure items for theme development. 



Thanksgiving tables from previous years:

Many images of my Thanksgiving tables can be see on Facebook albums. 

Thanksgiving 2014 flower arrangements 003Thanksgiving 2014- Setting the Table

 

 

 

 

 Philip Cohen photography of Thanksgiving TableGelt, Gilt, and Guilt - Thanksgiving 2013

 

 


Thanksgiving a Visual FeastThanksgiving Visual Feast Giving Thanks

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving with a mondrian inspired color blocks in red, blue, yellow and black  outline.

Thanksgiving 2012 was inspired by a Mondrian  color theme including the cake and cookies. 

 

  

 

Thanksgving birthday cake with sculpted cream cheese frostingThanksgiving 2011 followed a leaf motif including the drinking glasses and the cake with sculpted cream cheese frosting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving 2010 was black, white, grey and chartreuse green

Thanksgiving 2010

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving 2009 with a beautiful Thanksgiving festive table.Thanksgiving 2009 is  a traditional fall motif with leaf motif including cake and our drinking glasses with gold leaves. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in Black, Grey and SilverTHANKSGIVING 2008  was black, grey and silver. 

 


Art Adventures in Wonder Washington, D.C.

Adventures always start with a journey. After a 3,000 mile, cross country red-eye flight I arrived in Washington D.C.  exactly 6 hours before the fancy shindig opening at the Renwick Gallery.

WP_20151110_037My first goal for the day was to see my own artwork on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Luce Art Center at the Smithsonian Museum of Art In this gigantic museum (right), I was searching for an area called the Luce Art Center.

The artwork on display in the Luce Art Center is shown on shelves to offer insight into the depth of the permanent collection in paintings, sculptures, folk art, and crafts.Harriete-Estel-Berman-Renwick-LuceFamous Selection from the series "The Deceiver and the Deceived" 

My metalwork was surrounded by the excellent company of other metalsmiths.


WP_20151110_012The acquisition number next to each object allows the viewer to look up information online. There were computers nearby if you wanted immediate access to information.  Information on my piece can be found at 1997.51.  A little weird...online they show only the back image of my work so maybe they couldn't tell the front from the back. I'll have to write to them and correct this mistake. 

FURTHER IRONY AND UPDATE: I wrote to the Smithsonian about the lack of a front image on the Luce Art Center website. They were very kind to write back and will try to correct the omission. It turns out the front image of "The Deceiver and The Deceived" is on the main website, but the artwork was photographed side ways. The wall piece should have been photographed with the word "famous" at the top. Usually an artist wants their work photographed right side up, but since their is a keyhole on the back for hanging, I thought the photographer would have figured out the right way to photograph it. Oh well.

Smithsonia Art Museum building
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is amazing.  The building is a dazzling combination of ornament and decoration that I never tire of admiring. The variety of collections and exhibitions is extensive. I highly recommend this as an art destination of the highest priority. Entrance is free.

Curators at the best museums have an incredible skill for the juxtaposition of artwork. In the portrait gallery "Shimomura Crossing the Delaware" by Richard Shimomura hung directly across from a portrait of Bill and Melinda Gates by  Jon R. Friedman on a painted blue wall.  This conversation between two paintings was worthy of discussion, but I had no one to discuss this with at the time.
(I snuck these images for your review.) 
Shimomura Crossing the DelawareBill and Melinda Gates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WONDER
The opening of "Wonder" at the Renwick Gallery
started at 7:30pm.  My amazing art adventure in Washington, D.C.  was a marathon day. 

live statueThis was a festive, celebratory event beyond the usual craft/art opening. This is the first time the Renwick was open after a major two year renovation.

The live woman "statue" (left) was in a central location near the decadent chocolate desserts.

 

busts at the Luce Art Center at the SmithsonianIt  reminded me of the white busts I had seen earlier at the Luce Art Center (left) and the exhibition of Hiram Powers' The Greek Slave. 

Moving through the Wonder exhibition, each large room of the Renwick had a different installation by one artist. Everything was of a monumental scale which was truly wonder - ful.
Patrick Dougherty installation at the RenwickShindig by Patrick Dougherty

I loved each room and the artwork for different reasons.

Renwick wonder slider (5)Installation by Gabriel Dawe. Photo from Wonder Gallery Renwick  

The concept of craft and working with materials was expressed with radically different approaches by each artist/maker. This artwork looks like vibrating beams of light. It was far more intense than this photo reveals (from the Renwick website).  In person, at night, after a very long day, and drinking a strong vodka and orange juice far too quickly (for medicinal relief of thirst), the colored thread seemed to vibrate!!!!!!! 

Walking up the stairs....to see more installations.Renwick-gallery-stairsStairs at the Renwick Gallery leading to the 2nd floor. 

This light sculpture Volume by Leo Villareal (below) hung high up over the stairwell.  

Villareal-detail

This light installation seemed the least hand made craft of all the rooms. The left photo was from the Renwick Gallery website by Ron Blunt.

WP_20151110_073The computer controlled lighting was dazzling like my rhinestone wallet, but it seemed a little glitzy without enough craft soul in this context. (Photo right taken at the opening with my phone.)  

Booker01_0 ANONYMOUS DONOR by Chakaia Booker Photo Ron Blunt

The tire sculpture by Chakaia Booker (above photo) had a demanding presence defining a completely different kind of implementation of hand made; it had a bold, gutsy, uncompromising strength. Made from radial tire detritus it invited the viewer to examine modern materials like tires that keep our society moving.

Now contrast the coarse and ugly tire material to a glass marbles installation by Maya Lin.  (below)Maya Lin installation at the Renwich Exhibition Wonder

I have seen many inspiring installations and artworks by Maya Lin, but for some unexplained reason, this room was not as successful. Perhaps it was too subtle in the excitement of the occasion.  A portrayal of cracked wall (?) seemed ironic considering the two year renovation of the historic building.

Another problem was that some barricade ropes prevented people from walking among the marbles glued to the floor (probably out of concern that a careless step might ruin the installation or risk their lives slipping). 

 

 


Move to another room...Donovan-detailThis installation by Tara Donovan is constructed from styrene index cards. I am still trying to decide what I think of this installation. The volume of new styrene plastic used to make these sculptures made me very uncomfortable, so uncomfortable that I could not appreciate  the visual impact.  I could not ignore the environmental impact of plastic, along with the production and disposal issues.

Saving the best for last. Two more rooms to mention...
Hand made "wallpaper" made entirely from insects. Even the red painted tint on the wall was made from crushed cochineal insects. 

Angus01_0In the Midnight Garden by Jennifer Angus  Photo by Ron Blunt from the Renwick Gallery Wonder website.

Angus-detailThe initial impression of a highly, decorated, hand made wall paper (perhaps consistent with the era of the building) was created from insects. I was told that the insects were farmed in Indonesia. Definitely, this room had a new definition for hand made.   

 

 

 

This installation by John Grade seemed the most "Wonder"ful of all. Grade01_0Middle Fork by John Grade Photos by Ron Blunt from the Renwick Gallery Wonder website.

An entire tree was recreated bit by bit into a gigantic installation that filled the room with awe. Each 1/4" rectangle of wood created a lattice resembling bark surface and tree silhouette. It was simultaneously powerful both close-up and far away.

Grade-detailMost of the photos in this post for the Wonder exhibition came from the Renwick website including the one to the left. At the exhibition, the tree filled the room so completely that I don't think an individual could look down the inside of the trunk like this....but it gives you a great idea of the scale of detail and form.

This was truly an example of the artist's vision combined with execution by hand to bring a grand inspiration to reality. Not everything can be fabricated by machine or created by computer. Sometimes it can only be hand made to create Wonder.

There was one more installation in WONDER by Janet Echelman that has no photo on the Renwick website. I can't say I know what to make of it.  At the opening, the ceiling installation didn't leave me with a strong first impression. I've seen her work at the San Francisco Airport as well and had a similar experience. She's been selected for such prestigious exhibitions as the Renwick and the S.F. airport, but these two installations seemed to be lacking. The airport installation suggests that some computer programmed lighting is supposed to be involved.  As is, the colored cord alone of these pieces look like scaled up versions of work by Ruth Asawa from 40 years ago. There is no surprise in how the materials themselves are used. The only wonder for me is why the work was selected, but tell me what you think.

Go the Washington, D.C. to see the show. Fill your heart and mind with inspiration on a grand and gutsy scale.

Go to see Wonder. 
Harriete  

 


Identity Complex - Lost and Found

Idcomplex
I just found out that my artwork, Identity Complex, is currently on view at the Racine Art Museum in Racine, Wisconsin.  The exhibition that includes my work is titled "Lost and Found: Featuring Kim Alsbrooks and Nikki Couppee."

IDcomples_leg72 Artists in the exhibition were selected from RAM's permanent collection including:  Boris Bally, Harriete Estel Berman, Jerry Bleem, Robert Ebendorf, Geoffrey Gorman, Tina Fung Holder, Judith Hoyt, Lissa Hunter, Esther Knobel, Keith LoBue, Karyl Sisson, Kiff Slemmons, and Anne Wilson.

So the question that I always want to ask participating artists is . . . "How did your work get to be in this museum's permanent collection?"

In this case, I can at least answer for myself. Identity Complex was purchased by collector Karen Johnson Boyd from a solo exhibition I had at Sybaris Gallery in 2001. 

Now many years later, I appreciate Sybaris Gallery for their confidence in my work.  It is regretful that such a supportive gallery has closed.

When amazing collectors like Karen Johnson Boyd buy the best artwork from an artist, they change the fortune of the artist. I am very grateful for the support by this patron whom I have never met. 

When generous collectors like Karen Johnson Boyd give their collections to museums, their gifts enrich the lives of many viewers in the public. 

Identity Complex Vanity Seat from recycled materials.

If you are traveling or live near the Racine Art Museum, I hope you will get a chance to see this exhibition.

Dates of the exhibition:
September 25, 2015 - January 3, 2016

The one-page exhibition guide highlights the theme of "incorporation of  'non-art' materials."  The found objects and materials used in the artwork "construct layers of meaning." 

Identity Complex Vanity Seat in the exhibition Lost and Found at the Racine Art Museum

Identity Complex Vanity Seat is constructed entirely from post consumer tin cans. Even what looks like a soft cushioned fabric seat with trim and a button is all metal.

Identity Complex Vanity Seat is a commentary about beauty in our society.

The legs have writing on the inside. The quotes recount the terrible comments I (or each of us) say to one's self when looking in a mirror. Messages from advertising and media create an impossible standard of perfection for comparison.

"Beauty magazines make me feel ugly."

"My breasts are too big, my breasts are too small."

"Big pores, dry skin, age spots and wrinkles." (left photo)

"My waist is too thick and I hate my thighs."

 

Under the seat, the internal dialog continues with a statement... 

Identity Complex Vanity Seat is art from found materials with social commentary about beauty
"Can’t stand that person in the mirror, Make me over, paint my face, airbrush my blemish, color my hair, botox my wrinkles, reduce the appearance of fine lines, erase the circles under my eyes, tattoo my lips, pencil my brows, masque my imperfections,  whiten my teeth, soft focus, perfect lighting, Am I visibly firm?  Is there an age defying complex?"

Harriete

Photo Credit for all images in this post: Philip Cohen

RELATED POST: 
18-Year-Old Model Edits Her Instagram Posts To Reveal The Truth Behind The Photos


What I Learned From My Halloween Costume

Looking through some old photos at my parents' house, I found old memories . . .  and remembered that long ago I learned a valuable lesson from my Halloween costume.
Harriete-5-craypaper-costume1
My mother used to make costumes (photo above) for my sister and me from crêpe paper because at the time it was very inexpensive and it could be sewn using a sewing machine like fabric.  Above I am wearing one of those costumes. (I am on the right side, my sister stands behind me to the left.)

One year . . . (succumbing to peer pressure conformist tendencies) I begged for a purchased costume like all the other kids had for Halloween. I wanted one of those costumes that came in a cardboard box -- with a mask inside. The lid of the box even had cellophane so you could see inside the box without opening it. I can still see it clearly to this day.

My mother caved in and the (somewhat out of focus) photo below shows me (on the right again) as some kind of princess.  My sister (left) was a clown. 
Harriete-purchased-costume

These photos also caused me to remember a profound lesson that I learned that day. 

My realization at 8 years old was that a store-bought costume was not as good as home made. In fact it was a flimsy, generic copy that wasn't unique or special in any way. I was so embarrassed that I had coveted this item so highly and then found out it was such a poorly made piece of junk and that anyone could just purchase and wear it without any creative thought or imagination.  There was nothing unique or special about this costume. 

Halloweens have been magical ever since. I learned that home made and hand made are better even with imperfections and mistakes. Anyone can buy a look-alike costume.  But when it is your idea and you make it yourself, it becomes a memorable experience and expresses your unique character.

This lesson I learned at the age of 8 has taken me a long way.   Perhaps makers are makers because they have had a similar experience.  Imagine . . . and make it your own.

Harriete

Jen-wearing-spider-costume
Jen is wearing one of my past Halloween costumes. The hairy spider costume was intended to be good for exercising, but proved to be very hot.

MORE COSTUMES FROM THE PAST (in no particular order)

Dalmation-firefighters91
Dalmatian Dog (me) with two pint size firefighters1991

 

Ghost-family-1988
Ghost family 1988

Pumpkin-Head97
Pumpkin plant....my son actually walked around with his head inside the pumpkin.

Pumpkin-Head-butterfly-scarcrow.97
Everyone ready to Trick or Treat includes Pumpkin plant, butterfly and scarecrow.


Butterflies-Ace-Bday-insect-party
Butterfly costumes on another day. 

Ace.10yearguess
My son ACE.

 


Abracadabra - What Is Said Will Be - I Create as I Speak

Hanukkah-light-Magnes-tin-89-16a-bSTARDuring my tour of The Magnes Collection, Dr. Daniel Viragh shared fascinating insights from the Hebrew he was reading on various historical objects . . . and then a startling factoid was mentioned. It turns out that "Abracadabra" -- those magic-inducing words that we think come from the Disney movie Aladdin and Arabian Nights -- actually have roots in the ancient Aramaic language.  The phrase has a meaning; "What is said will be." Wikipedia says Abacadabra means "I create as I speak."

In my opinion, the literal meaning and the passage of this phrase through the millenia demonstrates the power of words. 


This resonated with me a lot.
 I've embraced the 21st century idea of writing down my goals to align myself with the power of postive thinking, yet here is a similar thought expressed in an ancient language.

Hanukkah-light-Magnes-tin-89-16a-bSTAR-circleIn other words, people from thousands of years ago, also had the idea of stating their goals, and repeating their goals, to bring forth the power to make it happen.  They weren't calling for magic, they were stating a call to action with a plan.

So instead of wishful thinking or hoping for luck, you may benefit by actually stating your goals and understanding the action plan needed to make it happen.

Speaking about the power of words reminds me to invite everyone to a brief Hanukkah-light-Magnes-tin-89-16a-blecture at The Magnes Collection. My lecture topic is "Recycle, Re-purpose and the Meaning of Materials." The Magnes is calling this a "Pop up lecture". We will look at a tin and glass menorah from their collection (left), along with examples of my work.

The Magnes Collection is at 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA.  
This is a block from the BART station, and close to the Univeristy of California, Berkeley Campus.

Magnes-Sign-Victor-Reis-Fence


Pot Luck and Hot Topics with MBMAG

Just in case you'll be in the Monterey, California area on Feb. 16, I will be speaking at the Monterey Bay Metal Arts Guild lunch meeting and social.  This public event is free. 

DATE: February 16, 2014 Sunday
LOCATION: Moss Landing at the Haute Enchilada's back room.
TIME:  12:30 Pot luck Lunch and social. Bring food for the pot luck and get to know the Monterey Bay Metal Arts Guild members. 
           1:00 Short meeting for MBMAG membership
           1:30 p.m - 3:00 p.m. Lecture with Q & A

HauteEnchilada

BermanConv2Zazzle
The early afternoon lecture begins with a brief description of my work, with some examples on hand for closer inspection. Then we jump into some professional development topics and resources that can help makers with their own work.
 

Are you suffering from self-rejection? Wonder how to promote your work effectively online? Want tips for the best (low cost to no cost ) strategies for your images, website or blog?

Do you have questions or topics that you would like to discuss? Bring up the controversial issues, burning topics or discuss the every day professional practices that will boost your career.

 

RedHotNo topic is too small or too hot to touch. Even spicy, well-seasoned  artists struggle every day to be the best they can be. Join the conversation.  Spark the Q & A.

You can also submit your topic request in advance (without raising your hand)? Write directly to me at bermaid@harriete-estel-berman.info or leave a question in the comments. 

Or I can answer your questions anonymously.

ASKHarrieteREDletteringNObk


Stay tuned to the MBMAG event page on Facebook or their website for more details.

MBMAG


Gelt, Gilt, and Guilt

ThanksgivingPlate closerlower
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

Every year I create a new table motif for our Thanksgiving table. This year with Chanukah and Thanksgiving on the same day, Chanukah gelt and autumn colors set the motif of round gold dots.

Chanukah gelt is gold foil wrapped chocolate.
Thanksgiving 2013 and more 227
Do you see the gold dots on our table covering?

ThanksgivingGeltPlate2013
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander 

The gold chargers, gold flatware, and vintage gold drinking glasses all followed our theme. Eight candlesticks polished brightly were symbolic of the eight lights of Chanukah.

Thanksgiving 2013 and more 224

Our Menu includes contributions from all our guests.
Thankgivukah thanksgiving hanukah dinner menu
Menu design by Aryn Shelander.

We concluded our meal by asking each person at the table what they were thankful for in the past year. My daughter reminded us that the more specifically we articulated what we were grateful for the more positive impact it would bring.

So I thought back over the past twelve months and remembered the people connected to me in one way or another who have succumbed to the ruthless effects of alcoholism.  It has been wrenching to witness how they have slowly lost connection with their families, friends and even their own internal motivations due to the grip of alcohol. My heart goes out to everyone dealing with alcoholism in their lives.

One thing we can do is talk about difficult issues openly without judgement.

My thanks goes to everyone for giving to each other, their families, and communities without guilt. This is what friends and family are about.

Philip Cohen  photo of Thanksgiving Table
Photo of the thanksgiving table taken by photographer Philip Cohen using an Apple phone panoramic option. The chairs look kind of funky as the camera seems to combined them. They are all 100+ year old chairs painted black.


PhilCohenCatchingAirplane
Ace flies his plane from the deck going over the canyon like a Turkey Vulture and then, they catch the plane in mid air on the way back. That was thrilling! Photo Credit: Philip Cohen 

PhilCohenShoesattheDoor
No shoes in the house! They all wait for their owner at the front door.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen 


Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2008

 


What Information is Needed for Appraising Value?

Berman_4WorryBeads72
As mentioned in the previous post,
an appraiser contacted me about appraising the current value for a 1997 work recently donated by a collector to a major museum.  In response, I asked for an appointment to have a phone conversation. The phone call felt more like a necessity than an option. Thank goodness we opened the discussion. I was concerned about asking for the phone call, but the appraiser actually appreciated the nuanced conversation the phone call offered.

My primary goal was to help the appraiser to establish a current value using whatever information she requested. Hopefully it would justify an appreciated value since 1997. I had a number in mind, but didn't want to say so until the appraiser considered the factors I thought relevant to this situation.

While prices for recent work may be a consideration, the appraiser needs to compare recently SOLD work. That is just the way it works.

Harriete-Estel-Berman-websiteThe images of my artwork on my website were instrumental to the conversation with the appraiser.  I do leave "sold" work on my website for documentation, but remove the prices. However, I know the retail prices from my Inventory Records. 

Initially, the appraiser was looking only at my jewelry, perhaps because of the size of the individual beads, or it was the first page she landed on. 

Harriete-Estel-Berman-website-sculptureIn my mind this was not a good comparison since I considered the Worry About Worry Beads Coming Undone to be sculpture, and not jewelry at all. The conversation moved to sculpture for further evaluations. On the sculpture page, there were many examples of work that had sold in recent years. These provided better value comparisons.



Teapot-Page-Harriete-Estel-BermanNext we moved to the teapot page to establish that Worry About Worry Beads Coming Undone was profoundly influential on the design for many of my teapots that had sold at similar or much higher prices.  

 

 

My objective was to establish the importance of the Worry Beads as a seminal artwork that had an important influence on the design of several teapots.

1 Worry-Beads-Inspires-Teapot TeaConsuming_full72

Since the Worry Beads were completely unique, there was no identical work to compare. 

Finally, I mentioned that the Worry Beads sculpture was composed of 12 individual and unique worry beads, plus the wire "tassel." So one perspective could consider a value for each individual element and what I would charge for repair or replacement.

WorryBeads72
To conclude the conversation,  the scary part, she asked me to estimate a number.
I gave my current valuation, but still don't know the final appraised value....perhaps she went higher or lower, but I do know she appreciated the extra information from our phone call to inform her decision.

In summary the appraisal value was determined by these main factors:

  • Type of work: sculpture.
  • The specific work was seminal to subsequent work.
  • Retail prices for sold work with somewhat similar attributes (e.g. materials, size, concept, novelty).
  • Cost of replacement or repair by artist.
  • Establishing that other work sold for much higher prices.
  • Reputation of the artist.

If an artist/maker is represented by a gallery, the appraiser may have contacted the gallery instead of the artist. Since no gallery currently represents my work, the appraiser contacted me directly.

A secondary goal for my conversation with the appraiser involved some learning about appraising artwork in general.  The 2014 SNAG Professional Development Seminar in Minneapolis will have lectures by an appraiser, collector, and curator all discussing "Collectors, Collections and You."

Stay tuned for more PDS information. Opportunities related to this program are on the horizon. This will be a series of lecture offering great insight into establishing value for our art and craft. Save the date Friday April 25, 2014. The PDS is open to the public to attend.


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
 

Road2Success

CraftCast Interview about the BAD & UGLY

CRAFTCAST-interview-Harriete-Estel-BermanAlison Lee of CraftCast boldly opened the conversation in a passionate dialog about the BAD and UGLY issues circulating in the arts  & crafts community. If you want to skip the "chit chat" in the beginning, advance the podcast 11:48 minutes.

This discussion was largely inspired by my lecture, "The GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY in the AGE of the Internet."  

The lecture has over 9,400 views (at the time of this post).



P.S. Check out the other podcasts on CraftCast.


REFERENCES to Keynote Lecture Synergy 3: The Good, BAD and the UGLY in the Age of the Internet

Today I gave my Keynote Lecture for the International Polymer Clay Association annual conference Synergy 3. The lecture title is: TheGoodBadUglyTransINTERNET72

This lecture will be published on ASK Harriete as a SlideShare PowerPoint with recorded audio. Subscribe to ASK Harriete so you will be notified of the publication.

Here is the HANDOUT Good-BAD-UGLY-Handout-References (PDF) to download or use the  individual links below. The references are mentioned in the order of appearance in the lecture.

Behind THE scenes FOR the Good Bad UglyIMAGE: Clint Eastwood, Leone and Eli Wallach on the set of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY    1966.

 

 

 

EXtREME closeup and full viewIMAGE of extreme close-up and wide angle view is a signature voice of the director Sergio Leone.


The LongTail by Chris AndersonBOOK: The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.
ASK Harriete describes “the Long Tail” in a post titled, "Long Tail - Blockbuster versus Netflix, and the art/craft world. "

 


Reference to Michael Jordan found  in the online article  “Best Advice: Down But Not Out” by Peter Guber

Mindset-The New Psychology of SuccessCarol-DweckBOOK: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success  by Carol Dwek

 

 

 

 

 

Regretsy websiteQUOTE from April Winchell found on Wired.co.uk in the Business section:  “Regretsy closes, the world mourns the end of DIY meets WTF”

 

Talent is OverratedBOOK:  Talent is Overrated  by Geoff Colvin

 

 

 

 

 

Outliers by Malcolm GladwellBOOK:  Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

 

 

 

 

 

Risky is the New SafeBOOK:  Risky is the New Safe by Randy Gage

 

 

 

 


Polymer Art Archive

CRITIQUE GROUP GUIDELINES

ASK Harriete

PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES for the artists and crafts community


ImaginecreativityBOOK:  IMAGINE: How Creativity Works  by Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer lecture for the Knight Foundation:  “Jonah Lehrer earns $20,000 honorarium for talking about plagiarism at Knight lunch”  (Scroll down to find the lecture. He actually starts talking at about 53 minutes into the video, so move the scroll bar into the lecture.)

Transcript for Jonah Lehrer lecture titled:  “My Apology” by Jonah Lehrer

 

CREATIVEcommonsWEBSITE: Creative Commons Licenses 
 

 

UStrademarkOFFICEWEBSITE: U.S. Trademark and Patent Office


Combination3 Links

ORIGINAL DRAWINGS for the lecture by Aryn Shelander 

TRUST COLOR drawing by Aryn Shelander5

 

 

 

P.S. Links to the books and movie DVDs are provided for your convenience as affiliate links.

Related articles:



BREAK THE BEAD

Lark Books is offering a new opportunity for an upcoming bead book! If you would like to submit your work the information is below. I have also provided links to resources that will assist with a successful entry.

The deadline is extended!

4 Worry Beads from recycled tin cans by Harriete Estel Berman
Worry About Worry Beads Coming Undone by Harriete Berman
Philadelphia Museum of Art


Information for upcoming book  1000 Beads can be found by clicking here.



Worry Beads by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans.72
Worry About Worry Beads Coming Undone by Harriete Berman
Philadelphia Museum of Art


There is no entry fee to 1000 Beads.


NEED HELP  with your application?
TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book or Magazine 


1 Worry Bead by Harriete Estel Berman is made from recycled chocolate tin cans.ny

One bead from "Worry About Worry Beads Coming Undone"


Can you make a bead  like no other bead before? All work must be made no earlier than 2010 and more recent work is considered better. The deadline is May 10, 2013. Yikes!


Identity BEADS by Harriete Estel Berman are about creating an identity from our consumer society.
Black and White Identity Beads by Harriete Estel Berman based on the concept of creating identity in our consumer society by what we buy, and why we buy it.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen


Ordinary materials can be extra-ordinary.


Black AOL Bead Necklace by Harriete Estel Berman is about using ordinary materials into extraordinary. al_neck.72
AOL Bead by Harriete Estel Berman Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Think outside the box

                        (OR should I say outside the bead?)
With a book of 1000 beads there should be plenty of entries, but there will also be lots of competition.

 

Black and White Identity Beads about creating identity in our consumer society
Black and white identity Necklace       Photo Credit Phil Cohen

Strategic Thinking When Applying to a Juried Opportunity can make a huge difference.  ASK Harriete can help.

 

Identity Beads in our consumer society by what we buy and why we buy it.

The quality of your photos can make all the difference between acceptance and rejection. Read this post for comparisons: Juried Submissions: What information do jurors really take into consideration?

Black and white Identity Bead Necklace photographed by Steven Brian Samuelse Black and white identity Bead Necklace photographed by Philip Cohen.alce i







Photo credit for photo comparison:
(left) Steven Brian Samuels      (right)  Philip Cohen


There are many great photographic options, but professional quality photography with perfect focus and proper exposure is your key to success.

The PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES can help you with two documents:
GUIDE TO PROFESSIONAL QUALITY IMAGES

WORKING WITH DIGITAL IMAGES EFFECTIVELY

 

Lisbet-SugarNecklace
  Sugar Necklace"

  by Liesbet Bussche


 

The deadline has been extended . This book wants new work not previously published, a perfectly understandable recommendation, but then why was the entry originally posted with so little advance notice? The deadline has been extended to May 10, 2013, which is fantastic, but with poor distribution.

 

 

 

 

 

Lisbet Day Bead Lighting

Urban Jewelry Pearl Necklace
Taipei
, Artist: Lisbet Bussche

Why not reach out beyond the concept of small glass beads to a larger audience? Reach out to sculpture, metals, design, lighting, or ceramics to expand the definition of beads. Ask other fields to submit a bead(s).

If the crafts community doesn't open itself  to the unexpected we are limiting ourselves to a diminished expectation.

 

 



Lisbet-night1B
Ubran Jewelry Pearl Necklace
Taipei
,   Artist: Lisbet Bussche

Beads can be tiny.  

 

Beads can

also be  

 

BIG!

Beads can be 1mm, 1 inch, 1 foot, 10 foot.

 

 

Bead table Bonetti
Table by  Mattia Bonetti

Bead mattia-bonetti-by-william-waldron-1-thumb
Table by  Mattia Bonetti

I have included images of bead sculpture, furniture and jewelry in this post. Please Click on the images to go to the original source of the image.


 Murals Created with Thousands of Buttons, Pins and Beads by Ran Hwang

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/07/murals-created-with-thousands-of-buttons-pins-and-beads-by-ran-hwang/
Murals Created with Thousands of Buttons, Pins and Beads
by Ran Hwang


In the effort of transparency, all of the images were found on the internet. Some of the images are my work.

Bleigiessen-Glass-Bead-Sculpture-London-Colour-variations
Thomas Heatherwick's Bleigeissen at the Wellcome Trust London.  As you travel from floor to floor, the colour spectrum changes according to the light from the Dichroic lens filters, creating a waterfall rainbow effect.

Can you take the idea of a bead from ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY?

Beadinstallation.sized
Hanging Glass Bead Sculpture in Sculpture Garden, of Walker Gallery of Art, Minneapolis MN.


Share a link to extraordinary beads in the comments.

Good luck with your entry.
THINK DIFFERENT. Break the BEAD...


OPEN STUDIOS: Artist Checklist

IMG_4265During the holiday season many artists and makers open their studios to the public seeking holiday sales. That also means reasonably preparing ourselves for safety and security.  That is why the PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES
has a document
OPEN STUDIOS: Artist Checklist
.


Open studio events raise concerns that are only important when the public enters your studio.

Do you have business insurance? Home owners insurance will NOT cover a business loss or liability issues if a person falls or is hurt in your studio.

Is your studio handicap accessible? Legally this is not important but potential embarrassment for all parties and a distraction. Make sure your invitation spells it out.

Is your work priced at full retail? Don't under cut the stores or galleries that sell you work at full retail.  If you do....they will not be happy, damaging your working relationship with your gallery or store arrangements.

Here are a few other thoughts:

  • Plan for parking.
  • Directions to your studio - signage.
  • Safety of your guests -- unplug power tools, remove chemicals, rope off unsafe areas. Have a plan if your guests bring children or animals.
  • Keep your money and phone on your person at all times. 
  • Have a 2nd person around if you are alone.

   

StudioBENCHES.100
Studio space for Harriete Estel Berman. My studio is open for tours and by appointment. Contact me by email any time. Work is always on display in my home and in progress in the studio.

HarrietecuTINS.100Open Studio events are also an opportunity to gain exposure and to show your community what you do and make. We can educate the how and why we create what we do. We can answer technical questions and address issues of price and materials. We can even dispel a few myths and misconceptions. And, of course, we can open the door to new markets.

Visit my studio online.

LINE of Irons s;ymbolic of the hallmark maker's mark of Harriete Estel Bermankr

SHEARS hanging in the studio of Harriete Estel Berman
Visit my studio with your art group anytime by appointment.

Harriete



Thanksgiving Visual Feast Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. A day to simply celebrate our connections with friends and family.  A moment in time to acknowledge and share with those that make our lives more complete. No obligations other than to show up with some food to share. 

Each year I decorate my table with a theme.

Thanksgiving 2012 was a Mondrian inspired motif with Mondrian Birthday Cake, Mondrian Cookies, and table arrangement....you'll see it on Facebook, but here are a few photos.

Everyone was asked to wear primary colors. Here I am with my daughter Aryn.
Thanksgiving-2012-Harriete-Aryn

Red Gerber flowers in black vases were very simple. Yellow candles in black candlesticks.

Thanksgiving-2012-table-mondrian

Thanksgiving-2012-table-birthdayThanksgiving 2012 includes a pound cake in a Mondrian Theme. It was inspired by the cakes at the San Francisco Modern Art and the book "Modern Art Desserts" though I didn't follow the recipe because I didn't own the book until a few days later. Nuts!

Thanksgiving-2012-table-jellybeansWe even had red, blue, and yellow jellybeans in black dishes.

Mondrian inspired screen for our Thanksgiving.

A Japanese screen in the dining room was inserted with colored paper to push the theme further.

Thanksgiving-2012-table-VERTICAL

Best wishes for a pleasant Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Share your table with me on Facebook.

Harriete

Below are a few of my previous Thanksgiving tables with ASK Harriete readers. If you CLICK on the Thanksgiving year, you can view a larger album on Facebook (with more pictures). They start out fairly basic, but become more elaborate each year.

IMG_2091
Thanksgiving 2006 This was the year I made a pumpkin coach with gold wheels and vines all sprayed gold.....as if the pumpkin coach was coming apart right there on the table. I wish pictures had been taken.  It was a fantastic table. Poof the coach was gone.

Thanksgiving 2007
THANKStwig

"THANKS" in twigs on the wall made by my children. Twigs on pumpkin pie, and log shaped Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting with Bark texture. Rough brown paper for a tablecloth.

LogCAKEtwigPIE

 

Thanksgiving 2008

IMG_0490

One of my favorite tables in grey, black and silver. If you look closely none of the chairs match. They are all different painted black, slowly collected over the years one at a time. Grey pumpkins tie into the Thanksgiving theme!

The drawing on the wall by my daughter inspired our black line linear theme.

IMG_0491

 

Thanksgiving 2009

ThanksgivingCenterpiece

The theme was brass and gold. I spray painted grass from the garden, and the grass mat runner going the length of the table. Vintage gold striped drinking glasses.  Brass under servers and gold plated flatware keep the metallic theme.

Table2

The brass sphere was my first hollowware project as a student.  I also spray painted the candles gold. Fall decorative gourds and orange flowers add color. Brown paper for a table cloth.

Table2009

Grapes make a great center piece. This looks like a still life painting.

Grapes

 

Thanksgiving 2010

IMG_6219

Thanksgiving 2010 was shades of grey, black, with lime green accent.

IMG_6223
Green flowers (yes, green flowers) from the farmers market with just a few white flowers for accent.

The desert matched our green theme.
IMG_6273
Spiral Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting  White Sugar Sprinkles and green candy accent. We always have both birthday cake and pumpkin cheesecake for desert.

 

Thanksgiving 2011

IMG_4150
Thanksgiving 2011 the theme was leaves hence a "flower arrangement" of leaves collected from the yard. Only a few orange lilies for color.

Thanksgiving Tablesetting 2012

First course is Pistachio soup. Gold metallic paper leaf is the place card.

Thanksgiving 2011 leaf theme
Nothing ever matches on my table. It is always a combination of plates and dishes collected over the years.

My favorite plate (shown above) displays a turn of the century Japanese motif.  I only have four of these. Glasses are vintage 1960's Libby with gold leaves found on e-Bay. Vintage gold plated flatware from the 1960's inherited from my grandmother. She bought this when it was all the rage. Hand washing flatware is a pain so I only use it for special occasions.

IMG_4161
Carrot Cake with sculpted Cream Cheese frosting in the shape of a leaf to follow our leaf theme.



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Next week posts return to  The White Tent or the White Wall. Topics including finding craft shows, reviewing your selection, submissions and more.

 

 


A Square Yard of Grass at REDUX

A Square Yard of Grass
A Square Yard of Grass                   1998

This work is currently in the exhibition titled, REDUX: Repurposed Materials at the University of Mary Washington Galleries in Fredericksburg, Virginia. View the exhibition on Facebook. If you live near Fredericksburg, I hope you can go.

A Square Yard of Grass by Harriete Estel Berman is about the environmental impact of lawns on our environment..Lwuy

REDUX: Repurposed Materials

EXHIBITION DATES: October 26 – November 30
    Download REDUX Catalog
    University of Mary Washington Galleries
    Ridderhof Martin Gallery
    1301 College Avenue at Seacobeck Street
    Fredericksburg, VA    22401
GRASScard
a Grass postcard is available for purchase.
                10 cards for $25.00 plus $5.00 shipping.
                Dimension of card: 4.25" height x 18" long.
                Folds to 4.25" x 6" long or
                Cut into 3 individual 4" x 6" postcards.

Below is my 8 minute Grass/gras' video about the construction of a lawn size sculpture of a grass lawn.


Grass
raises many points. These blades of grass are cut from post consumer tin cans and reflect upon our consumer society's preoccupation that everything can be bought including happiness and a green lawn.

Each blade of grass has printed images and advertising.

Beyond the sculptural presence and artistic impact, this sculpture carries a very serious environmental message. Lawn maintenance requires tons of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides which then wash into our surface water and ground water. In the Unites States, the lawn, or “turfgrass,” is the single largest irrigated crop, three times larger than corn. Add the air pollution involved in lawn mowers, etc. and you have a huge environmental impact.

Square Yard of Grass by Harriete Estel Berman is a sculpture about the environmental impact of lawns.AR

P.S. Back to the white tent display issues tomorrow and Tuesday with phenomenal ideas from window display.

Harriete


Pencils Say A Lot

Pencils say Star Student, and Gain 51 point on the Star Test about standardized testing.

Hopefully you've listened to the Seth Godin presentation in the last post. He makes some incredible points about education.  Quote . . .

"And when we put kids in the factory called school, the thing we built to indoctrinate them into compliance, why are we surprised that the question is, ‘Will this be on the test?’"

HB_Detail_1_P8193799
Measuring Compliance by Harriete Estel Berman

Godin continues: "So if someone is making art, they don’t say, 'Can I do one less canvas this month?'  They don’t say, 'Can I write one less song this month?'  They don't say, 'Can I touch one fewer person?'  If it's art, they want to do more of it."
HB_Measuring_Compliance

Education is a scary subject. You may not think so because it seems to be in the news all the time, but when personal becomes political, the system often seems to feel threatened. I've had institutions afraid to show this artwork about education. Why?

De Anza College Euphrat Museum of Art is showing
Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin.
_MG_7078
Pick UP Your Pencils, Begin is a gigantic bell curve 28' wide and 15' tall about the impact of standardized testing on our educational system.

The Art of Education
October 22 - December 7, 2012

Euphrat Museum of Art
DeAnza College

21250 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014

PLEASE COME TO THE RECEPTION
Wednesday, October 24, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
I will be there, it is my birthday!!!!!

The Art of Education exhibition will include the Pick UP Your Pencils, Begin by Visiting Artist Harriete Estel Berman. Additional work by De Anza & Foothill Art Faculty and Staff will highlight the diverse yet interconnected work of art faculty and staff and their educational philosophies.

Harriete


THINK-ing CRAFT Addresses Education

PencilMasterbkgd600
Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin is about the impact of standardized testing on education. It will be shown at DeAnza College. The opening is next week. Please come if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Art of Education
October 22 - December 7, 2012
Euphrat Museum of Art
DeAnza College
21250 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014
PLEASE COME TO THE RECEPTION
Wednesday, Oct. 24, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
I will be there, it is my birthday!!!!!

The Art of Education exhibition will include Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin by Visiting Artist Harriete Estel Berman. Additional work by De Anza & Foothill Art Faculty and Staff will highlight the diverse yet interconnected work of art faculty and staff and their educational philosophy.

Below is a phenomenal lecture by Seth Godin about the current educational system. Watch it! 
This video aligns with many of the concepts behind my artwork about education.

Pencil3GREENIn this video Seth Godin says:

"Some of you have a number two pencil.... the number two pencil is famous because Frederick J Kelly made it famous.

Back around World War I we had a problem because there was this huge influx of students because we expanded the school  day to include high school students. And there was this huge need to sort them all out. So he invented the standardized test. An abomination!

He gave it up ten years later when the emergency was over, but because he gave it up, because he called it out, because he said the standardized test was to crude to be used.... he was ostracized and lost his job as the president  of a university, because he dared to speak up against a system that was working."

THNKing CRAFT. What is the impact of standardized testing on education?


HUMOR IN CRAFT

Humor in CraftThe exhibition Humor in Craft opened first at the Society of Contemporary Craft July 20,2012. I so wish that I could be there! What a hoot! Curated by Brigitte Martin, the exhibition is based on the book she authored by the same name Humor in Craft.

"Humor in Craft" opens at Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI.

Exhibition dates: March 4 - April 19, 2014

Opening is April's Fool Day, April 1, 2014 

Get the book from your local library or bookstore to see silly, serendipity, superfluous or simply entertaining interpretations of humor. Nothing is expected or ordinary. The full color book includes 235 makers.

There are several catalog essays from a wide range of authors. A round of applause to everyone that attempted to write about humor. What a challenge!  I found the essay by Garth Johnson memorable as he offered historical background on humor in ceramics.


Below a selections of work from the book:
CorncodeCraigNutt
"Corncorde" by Craig Nutt
Installed at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Sweet tooth necklace
Sweet Tooth Necklace by Sanna Svedestedt

DonnaMcCulloughdress
Team Mobiloil, by Donna M. McCullough

 

There are many more fabulous pieces.
Get the book. There is something for everyone!

I am thrilled to say I have several pieces in the book Humor in Craft. Womanizer Kitchen Queen (1982) is included in the exhibition Humor in Craft.

WomanizerFULL72
The blender body and lid are all painted copper construction. Essentially, I fabricated by hand a manufactured object as a commentary about our consumer society. Carefully constructed using sheet metal the appliances are not found objects.

The ballerina inside the transparent plastic blender container pirouettes to a wind-up music box playing "May Your Wish Come True".   (15" height x 5" width x 5.5" depth)

Womanizercrown72
A custom made pierced crown on the top of the blender container says: Misstress of the Home. Mistress (in the title is misspelled intentionally.) I wanted the "MISS" to refer to the Miss America style of beauty competitions. It is also autobiographical as my name "Harriete" means "mistress of the home". Imagine that!  Yes, it's true!  I AM kind of obsessive about my house. No Kidding. Come and visit. 

Womanizer_panel72
Womanizer, Kitchen Queen has a 10 Button Panel with a plastic lamination. There is brass lettering on the front. The small black lettering says: LOVE, HONOR, OBEY, CHERISH, MIX, BLEND, STIR, CREAM, SPREAD, BEAR.

This appliance is one appliance from a series of appliances made from 1980 - 1988.  (scroll down on the sculpture page to see all the appliances.)

Immediately below is a SlideShare presentation with audio about how I designed and packed this work for shipping.

 

 


Space Available in Upcoming Workshop

Harriete Estel Berman working on her seder plate for TuBishvat
Recycle, Repurpose,
                             RETHINK Materials

 There is still space left! to take this workshop with me at the Contemporary Jewish Museum  on Earth Day.
Sunday April 22,  2:30 - 5:00p.m

$18 includes admission to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, materials, and refreshments.

Celebrate Earth Day with an art workshop focused on recycled and repurposed materials.

Pomegranate angle on my seder plate for TuBishvat by Harriete Estel BermanTake a peek at the exhibition Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought, roll up your sleeves for ideas and inspiration with artist Harriete Estel Berman, then gather your own creativity to make samples and hands-on projects that bring post-consumer materials and eco-awareness into your classroom. Co-presented by SCRAP.

TuBishvat Seder Plate by Harriete Estel Berman is on display at the Contemporary Jewish Museum eite SAe
  TuBishvat Seder plate  by Harriete Estel
  Berman titled Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,
  Assiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah,   
© 2001
  Post consumer recycled tin casn,
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The workshop will be inspired by my use of post consumer, recycled materials for over 24 years to construct artwork ranging from jewelry and teacups to entire lawns and sculpture with social commentary.  Judaica focuses on the concept of Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) with the use of recycled tin cans.

This workshop is designed for teachers to gather ideas.

If you want to celebrate Earth Day with me on Saturday be prepared to work outside. I organize an Earth Day Clean Up for my neighborhood every year. Weeding for 8 hours is on the agenda, but help for only a few hours is completely fine. This is in San Mateo. Come help!

Fawn in the back yard
Fawn in my backyard.

California Quail in the front yard
Quail on my front steps.

Roots at Jekyll Island in Georgia2010
Amazing photo taken on Jekyll Island, Georgia.


Do you BELIEVE the arts have a voice in education?

ImaginecreativityI just heard the author Jonah Lehrer on n.p.r. radio last night. I hung onto every word. His book titled Imagine: How Creativity Works speaks to the messages in my installation Pick UP Your Pencils Begin

 

 

 

 

Library Pencil from Harriete Estel Berman

The arts and crafts do have a value in education beyond just an art lesson, but the arts and hands on learning can not be accessed with a number. There is no standardized test for teaching creativity and problem solving  - the very skills that Imagine: How Creativity Works is addressing. 

We live in a time where every class and subject is accessed for its contribution to the curriculum. The arts teach:

  • creativity,
  • problem solving,
  • open ended thinking,
  • skills of observation,
  • integration  of left and right brain thinking,
  • visualizing three dimensional construction,
  • and so much more.

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin

What is the impact of standardized testing
on school curriculum when everything must be tested and measured? What happens when the arts are squeezed into a one hour slot, rushed, over scheduled, when there is no time to breath or think? Think and advocate for the arts and creativity in education.


2 stanine installation of Pick Up Your Pencils, BeginMy objective with my installation Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin is to reach out to a larger audience about the value of the arts in education.

 

 

Do you know of an exhibition location in your school, university gallery, or local museum?

  • Dimensions of installation 15' height x 28' width.
  • Installation ships in five boxes.
  • Each box is small enough to be carried by one person. 
  • Boxes weight approximately 32-35 lbs each.
  • Installation takes fours hours.
  • Hydraulic lift or scissors lift is necessary for installation.
  • Installation is possible with 3-4 people.
  • Exhibition rental $300. plus shipping and insurance.

Contact me ;
            650 345-4078
            bermaid [at] harriete-estel-berman.info


Are you steering without a compass? Failure is an inevitable cul-de-sac on the road to success.

Compass I listen to Charlie Rose every day (or at least every day if I can). Charlie Rose offers no nonsense interviews with the world's leaders in every walk of life or occupation from science, politics, actors, writers, politicians, directors, producers, and entrepreneurs. 

Charlie Rose I often find the speakers inspiring. These are the smartest, hardest working and usually, most articulate people in the world who are able to bring ideas and introspection to the plain wooden table of Charlie Rose.

Today, I want to share a couple of thoughts that may be helpful to artists and makers. Of  course, these quotes weren't really about art, or art careers, I have taken their words completely out of context, but their words of wisdom warrant being heard. In fact, I think they should be our mantra.

CharlesSchulzThe first quote is from an interview with  George Shultz, Former US Secretary of State from Monday, January 24, 2011. I have been savoring this for over a year now. He said, "If you don't have ideas, you don't have a compass." This opinion works for both our art work and for our careers. If we don't have a compass we don't know what direction we are going. It is very easy to get lost. We need a plan. We need a one year goal and a five year goal.

CharlieRosePeterGuberContinuing with inspiring thoughts from Peter Gruber on Charlie Rose - March 14, 2011
PETER GUBER:
  "Failure is an inevitable cul-de-sac on the road to success." 

"So the idea is you learn from it.  You don’t want to make the same mistake twice.  You want to be able to grow.  You want to be able to recognize that most of the stuff, the fear that you express is really false evidence appearing real.  It’s not, you know, it’s not always going to happen." 

COMPASSdrawing "So if you become, not immune to the failure, but you recognize that failure is a part of the process, when you take really good creative chances, when you really take good business chances, you will have failures.  And the idea is you learn from them and move on.  If they own you, if you surrender to them, then the pain is unbearable.  If you haven’t failed, you haven’t lived life to the fullest." 

Compass3draw PETER GUBER continues: "And you know, I think the idea is that failure and success are this close together, Charlie.  Inside every failure are the seeds to great success, and in every great success are the opportunities for failure."
END QUOTE

Harriete Estel Berman working on the pencils Whenever I am working on a new project, I think "failure and success" are very close together. Only hard work, skill, perseverance, intuition and insight help you find your compass. Experience has taught me not to give up.

Working on the pencil project Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin was discouragingly slow. I worked on it for four years. Talk about scary! Its finally done, and the work is being exhibited for the first time. I hope you can come to the reception on March 22, 2012 from 6-8 pm, at Castelleja. if you live near Palo Alto, CA. The next phase to make a video is going forward.  

So keep working...every day with a plan. And work on your compass.

Harriete
Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin
Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin
15' height x 28' wide, a as thick as one pencil

Anita Seipp Gallery
1310 Bryant Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Please come to the reception on March 22, 2012
See you there.

Gallery Hours:  10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
                         Monday through Friday and by appointment


Sticker Shock or A Real Bargain - It's All Relative To Framing

An editorial by Ryan Jones in The Crafts Report (November 2011) brought a fascinating TED Talk to my attention. Dan Ariely explains how "framing" different options can influence purchasing decisions.

Quoting Ryan Jones, editor of The Crafts Report, "Some people wonder why they should bring along some higher-priced items to a craft fair, especially if it's unlikely they will sell them. But, framing means that your highest-priced items can be a sales tool ...". Listen to the TED Talk by Dan Ariely to learn more about this concept.

TEDlogoI recommend listening to the TED Talk all the way to the end because it explains the logic behind why we artists should always have a big show stopper piece of artwork in our booths or in an exhibition to sell the smaller items. After the video, take a look at an example about how I am trying to apply this reasoning for my Judaica.

FIG Leaves and figs in an abstraction on my Tu Bishvat Seder plateHere is my practical example.
Right now I have a Seder plate for Tu Bishvat in the exhibition DO NOT DESTROY at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The price places this work outside the average consumer. My aspiration (or wish come true) is that a museum will buy this work for their permanent collection. 

Yellow Flower Scroll Mezuzah by Harriete Estel Berman Yellow Flower with Scroll Mezuah from recycled materials by Harriete Estel BermanTwo weeks before the museum exhibition opened,  I contacted the museum gift shop about selling some of my Mezuzot. Each mezuzah is priced at $175. That may put some people into sticker shock compared to the usual gift shop item, but it is a real bargain for the labor, preparation, skills, and design in each mezuzah. 

At the same time,  the mezuzot are affordable examples of my work with an environmental message that can be used every day. 

Everything is relative, and there are many factors that may influence the purchaser's decision including the perceived value of the artwork in the exhibition, and the validation provided by being included in the museum exhibition Do Not Destroy.

Keep this strategy in mind for your booth or next show. While the masterpiece of the show may or may not sell, it may be a prime factor in selling the other work.

I sold seven mezuzot during the show.

Harriete

 
Inside STAR of Tu Bishvat Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Assiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah ©  2011 by Harriete Estel Berman

(Above photo) Close up view of the center of the Tu Bishvat seder plate. If you shine a light on the center of the seder plate it reflects a Star of David on the ceiling(shown below.)
Star REFLECTION on CEILING  from Tu Bishvat Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman

Tu Bishvat Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Assiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah
                                                          ©     2011

Artist:Harriete Estel Berman
DIMENSIONS: 6” ht x 24” w x 20" d

Follow Me on PinterestIf you are interested in viewing the design, and fabrication of this Judaica TuBishvat seder plate, CLICK HERE to view an entire album on Flickr with step by step photos for this work in progress.


Prepare for Success - Workshop for Your Quest

CompassLooking for your path to success?

What direction do you want your work to go? What insights would you like to gain from someone with 30+ years of experience? Is your work consistent with your marketing?

 

April 28-29In April, I will be teaching a professional development workshop at Revere Academy as part of their Masters
Symposium
in San Francisco, CA.


Prepare for Success

April 28 - 29, 2012

 

Map of San FranciscoInternet Option
If you can't travel to San Francisco, Revere Academy is offering on line participation at a reduced cost! It would be nice to see you in person, but if you need to stay at home while juggling the rest of your life, this is a way to listen in on your computer.

Webinar participants will be able to view the instructor and Powerpoint presentations in real time via their computer, as will as submit their own questions and images for review by the instructor, much like the students who attend the class in San Francisco. Because this is the first time Revere has offered a webinar class,there is a special, one-time introductory price for the class of just $79!Download Prep for SuccessPR

Webinar participants are required to have a computer with a high-speed internet connection. To register for the webinar, call 415-391-4179.

MOO Business cards with images of artwork, jewelry and Judaica by Harriete Estel Bermand  ocardsHORIZONTAL72Appropriate for all media, this two day intensive workshop with Harriete Estel Berman will provide tons of information to super charge your professional development and gain from my 30 years of experience.

Learn how to use the power of social networking, blogs, and web sites to develop visibility and get your work noticed. Other topics will include maintaining proper records for the IRS, managing inventory, how to update your resume, and evaluate and upgrade your photos.

We can cover anything you want.  Your questions can guide the topics to be covered. 

Follow Me on Pinterest
Here are some suggestions for topics:


Professional Development resources

Your 20 second commercial

Guidelines for a critique group

Identify your business model.

Establish Your Professional Goals
   Define Objective
   Define Success
   Are your objectives and definition of success            consistent?
   How do you expect to achieve your objectives?
   Define your market.

Pricing and fabrication methods.
   Pricing Structure
   Falcher Fusager’s Pricing Formula
   Guestimation
   Comparative Pricing
   Include your Overhead
   Cost of goods sold
   Pricing Concepts.

Inventory Record Form
   Inventory Records:  Documentation and Provenance
   Hallmark or sign your work

Digital Image Package
   Label examples
   Image description sheet
   All prints and digital files information.
   CONTACT SHEET SAMPLE

Resume vs. CV
   Resume categories
   CV
   BIO

Artist Statement Recommendations
   Artist Statement Tips
   Artist Statement with description
   Envelope for your package

PUBLICITY EXAMPLE
   PUBLICITY  IMAGE
   SELF PORTRAIT
   WORKING IN THE STUDIO
   PHOTOGRAPH EVENTS

Emails and social networking

Strategies for juried opportunities

Publicity and Marketing 100+ ideas
   Book recommendation
   Pitch letter
   Mailing List strategy
   Thank you
   STATIONARY

Wholesale/Retail
   Minimum order for wholesale
   Return Policy

Delivery of work in person
   Shipping – One of a kind work
   Unpacking & Display instructions
     To Display
     Packing and Shipping
     Maintenance Instructions
     Shipping
     CONDITION REPORT
     SIMPLE PACKING LIST 

Profit or Loss?
     What are your options?
     Do you act like a business?
     Expense record examples.
     3 rules to test deductibility
     Expertise?
     Time & Effort?
     Track record
     Record of sales
     Do you act like a business?  I.R.S.

COPYRIGHT & Fair use

www.you
        Website resources
        Web what you need to do and why
        Blogs - blogosphere
        Basic SEO to implement

Any Questions: Contact me directly
bermaid [at] harriete-estel-berman.info
(area code 650) - then 571-7726
http://www.harriete-estel-berman.info