Information about Harriete Estel Berman Feed

Seder 2024 - the inspiration

The Seder table for 2024 was perhaps the most beautiful table covering I have ever created, yet it was low-cost with a spring theme.
This post shares the serendipitous inspiration and images of my Seder table that may give you some ideas for your own festive table suitable for any occasion. 
Every table setting starts with a moment of inspiration.

This table theme was inspired by a colorful bag of Jeremiah's Pick Coffee beans. 
eremiah's Picks Coffee Bag is inspiration for my color theme for Seder 2024
While looking for an idea.....I spotted a grocery store display of Jeremiah's Pick Coffee in turquoise and orange. These bright spring-like colors  jump started my brain. (This is not a product endorsement or affiliate link -- I just loved the colors of the bag.)

Then, in the next aisle of the grocery store, I found these orange and turquoise bowls (left side of photo) and the oblong plate. I knew that I already had the other orange and blue soup bowls.

turquoise and orange dishes for Seder 2024

ON A ROLL!  These colors also matched so well with the turquoise and orange plates stored in my cupboard that I had not used for years.
I poured all the coffee beans into a reusable storage container and began to modify the coffee bag -- cutting off the top, folding the edges over, and inserting a dish inside to transform it into a centerpiece vase.
Jeremiahs Coffee Bag as vase
A "frog" stabilizes the flower arrangements.  If  you don't have one, an old frog for flower arrangements can usually be found at estate sales for a dollar or so.  Frogs are reusable and better than floral arrangement foam.   
The coffee bag centerpiece anchored the color theme for decorating the table covering and the flower arrangement. Birds of Paradise from a neighbor's yard, and my theme was established.


The next post will be about how to create the table covering. 

Stay tuned... Subscribe to ASK Harriete, find me on Instagram, or Facebook.  

A few of my previous seder tables below:

Seder 2023 ( public album on Facebook)
PXL_20230405_231048592 (1)

Seder 202 2 (public album on Facebook)


Seder 2017 (public album on Facebook)



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? Homeowners insurance will NOT cover a business loss or liability issue 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 undercut the stores or galleries that sell your work at full retail.  If you do....they will not be happy and this will damage 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, and 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.


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.


This post was updated on July 1, 2022, to provide current links.


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...Here are a few photos.

Everyone was asked to wear primary colors. Here I am with my daughter Aryn.

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


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.


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


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.

Thanksgiving 2006 This was the year I made a pumpkin coach with gold wheels and vines all sprayed 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

"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.



Thanksgiving 2008


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.



Thanksgiving 2009


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.


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.


Grapes make a great centerpiece. This looks like a still-life painting.



Thanksgiving 2010


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

Green flowers (yes, green flowers) from the farmer's market with just a few white flowers for accent.

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


Thanksgiving 2011

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 1960s Libby with gold leaves found on e-Bay. Vintage gold plated flatware from the 1960 was 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.

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





BUBBLE2 subscribe









Left above is just a picture....scroll up to subscribe.

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


This post was updated on June 30, 2022, to provide current links.



A Square Yard of Grass at REDUX

A Square Yard of Grass
A Square Yard of Grass                   1998

This work was in the exhibition titled, REDUX: Repurposed Materials at the University of Mary Washington Galleries in Fredericksburg, Virginia. View the exhibition on Facebook. 

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
a Grass postcard is available for purchase.
                10 cards for $30.00 plus $10.00 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 United 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.


This post was updated on June 23, 2022, to provide current links.

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?’"

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."

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.
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. It showed in the following exhibit:

The Art of Education
October 22 - December 7, 2012

Euphrat Museum of ArtDeAnza College
21250 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014

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.


This post was updated on June 22, 2022, to provide current links.

THINK-ing CRAFT Addresses Education

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin is about the impact of standardized testing on education. It was shown at the DeAnza College Euphrat Museum of Art as part of the exhibition The Art of Education from October 22 - December 7, 2012.

The Art of Education exhibition included 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 too 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?


This post was updated on June 22, 2022, to provide current links.


Humor in CraftThe exhibition Humor in Craft opened first at the Society of Contemporary Craft on July 20, 2012. I do 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

The opening was 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:
"Corncorde" by Craig Nutt
Installed at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Sweet tooth necklace
Sweet Tooth Necklace by Sanna Svedestedt

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.

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)

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, Kitchen Queen has a 10 Button Panel with 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  to 1988.  (scroll down on the sculpture page to see all the appliances.)

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

This post was updated on April 10, 2022, to provide current links.

Space Available in Upcoming Workshop


Recycle, Repurpose,  RETHINK Materials
On April 22, 2012, I held a workshop at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on Earth Day.

This workshop celebrated Earth Day by focusing on recycled and repurposed materials.

Pomegranate angle on my seder plate for TuBishvat by Harriete Estel BermanWhile at the museum, participants could take a peek at the exhibition Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought. Workshop attendees got to roll up their sleeves for ideas and inspiration with artist Harriete Estel Berman, then gather their 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 can,
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The workshop was 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 sculptures with social commentary.  Judaica focuses on the concept of Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) with the use of recycled tin cans.

This workshop was 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.

This post was updated on February 27, 2023

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 the school curriculum when everything must be tested and measured? What happens when the arts are squeezed into a one-hour slot, rushed, overscheduled, when there is no time to breathe 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 weigh 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

This post was updated on March 12, 2022, to provide current links.

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

Compass I used to watch Charlie Rose every day (or at least every day if I could). Charlie Rose offered 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.  (It was devastating to me that his imprudent, and inappropriate behavior brought down a man with so much potential.) 

I often find listening to interviews 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 (or other articulate interviews.) 

In this post, 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 years now. He said, "If you don't have ideas, you don't have a compass." This opinion works for both our artwork 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
  "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."  

If you aren't making mistakes, you aren't pushing yourself into new territory.

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."

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! It's finally done and the work is being exhibited for the first time. The next phase to make a video is going forward.  

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


This post was updated on February 27, 2023 to provide current links.



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

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.

This post is not new, the concept is not new, and yet it is still relevant many years later. 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 of 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.
At the time of this post, I had 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 were an affordable example 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.












(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

If 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.


This post was updated on March 10, 2022, to provide current links.





This post was updated on February 27, 2023

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? In the past, I taught many workshops, but now I realize that I can't teach the one thing you need more than anything else.

You need to be able and willing to work harder than anyone else. and then work even  harder.

MOO Business cards with images of artwork, jewelry and Judaica by Harriete Estel Bermand  ocardsHORIZONTAL72Appropriate for all media, the two-day workshop provided tons of information to supercharge your professional development and gain from my 30 years of experience.  

We learn how to use the power of social networking, blogs, and websites to develop visibility and get your work noticed. Other topics included maintaining proper records for the IRS, managing inventory, how to update your resume, and evaluating and upgrading your photos.

We can cover anything you want in a future workshop, but know that there is no magic. It is dedication and hard work along with smart thinking that takes you where you want to go.   Your questions can guide the topics to be covered., but ask your questions anytime right here in the comments. 

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 with your definition of success?
   How do you expect to achieve your objectives?
   Define your market.

Pricing and fabrication methods.
   Pricing Structure
   Falcher Fusager’s Pricing Formula (for jewelry)
   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.

Resume vs. CV
   Resume categories

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


Emails and social networking

Strategies for juried opportunities

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

   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

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

COPYRIGHT & Fair use
        Website resources
        Web what you need to do and why
        Blogs - blogosphere
        Basic SEO to implement

Any Questions: Contact me directly
harriete [at]

Preservation, Conservation, What is Appropriate Restoration?

At the 2003 SNAG Conference in San Francisco, I listened to one of the most surprising lectures I've ever heard. Between the hours of 8:00 - 9:00 in the morning a collector, Steven Cabella, gave a lecture titled, "Twenty-five years of Collecting Studio Craft Jewelry: Insights, Observations, and Historical Patina". His collections are mid-20th-century objects including furniture, though this lecture focused on his collection of mid-20th-century jewelry.

For over an hour Cabella offered strong opinions from his unique perspective as a collector that I had never heard before. It seems that he often loans objects from his collection to exhibitions -- his support of the arts community is commendable. What shocked me though was his STRONG opinions about the preservation and conservation of mid-20th-century objects. In his lecture, he railed against the restoration of jewelry in his collection such as polishing the work to its original finish.

Let me make this perfectly clear:

  • The silver jewelry was originally exhibited and sold with a highly polished finish in the mid-20th century.
  • In one example, the silver jewelry was restored in the original maker's studio (by the maker's son).
  • Cabella did not want the silver jewelry restored to its original appearance but wanted the patina of 50 years to be evident.

Cabella very consciously wanted the patina of wear and fine scratches from a 50-year lifespan to remain and not be removed.

As a maker, I was conflicted by his opinion.  I had never questioned my own expectation that my work should be cleaned & polished for every exhibition. 

I wonder if the original maker would want the jewelry polished for an exhibition or not?
What is appropriate restoration? Should 50-year-old jewelry look like "new" even 50 years later?

Would the maker think the jewelry looked better with the "patina" of 50 years? Or should artwork look "aged" just because it is old?  Should older work look its age?

I don't know. I only know that this particular collector wanted the jewelry in his collection to not look "like new".

As an artist, I have to make choices in materials all the time.  And the decisions that I make today will affect collectors and curators somewhere out in the future (. . . hopefully).  


Everready Working Woman by Harriete Estel Berman from 1984.

The sculpture shown above is from 1984. Titled, Everready Working Woman, this piece is an autobiographical sculpture. It was shown in an exhibition, Humor in Craft, in Phoenix during the 2012 SNAG Conference.

When work that is 28 years old goes out to an exhibition, should I touch up the chips in the painted finish, fix the lipstick, and polish the metal?  I certainly planned to have the work look great for many years after its creation.  So how long is long enough to not look old?  When is it OK to start looking at its age?

Have you ever thought about this issue? Any comments or solutions? Stay tuned to the next post where merry renk offers her opinion (uniquely seasoned and reasoned by 92 years of experience showing her silver jewelry).



Everready Working Woman is not a found object. It is carefully constructed by the artist, Harriete Estel Berman, using traditional metalsmithing skills to create an appliance that appears to look like a manufactured object.

Details include a real drill chuck in the front, optional mixing beaters.
A Wonder Woman electric cord lariat with a suction cup plug at the end.
View the spark gun through the yellow plastic window.
A lipstick cartridge fits up inside the handle.
The six-color eye shadow compartment housed in raygun body contains real make-up.

Copper and brass construction with painted or nickel-plated finish.

This post was updated on February 27, 2023

Everyready Working Woman

Links to information mentioned on Jay Whaley Blog Talk Radio with Harriete Estel Berman

On January 5, 2012, I was live with Jay Whaley Blog Talk Radio

Below are links to information that was mentioned on the radio show. A one-stop resource for our conversation.

If we mentioned anything that isn't listed here, let me know.

Normally, I don't show a link in the text,  but it is listed here so you can copy the text easily and share it with a friend.

Let me know if you need anything else.
What's on your mind?


PencilPoint3763closeup72“Pencils Make a Point” in American Craft  Magazine is a two-page centerfold featuring the very personal and political side of Craft. Harriete Estel Berman worked for four years collecting pencils from all over the United States and internationally as a  commentary about the impact of standardized testing on education. The bell curve curtain is 15’ ht and 28’ wide.
Read this informative article from the December/January 2012 issue of American Craft online:

Amercan Craft Article Pencils Make a Point about pencil sculpture.

Do you wonder "How This Article in American Craft Came to Be" featured in American Craft magazine?   Lots more is happening including the beginning of a new video about this work, tune in to find out more.


Alyssa Endo working on the pencil sculpture on the floor.kng8.24.2010_72Are you interested in learning about the assembly of this bell curve of pencils? There is an extended page on my website with images of the fabrication from the last four years showing.



TuBishvatOlivegreenonly72.800.7481Are you interested in the design and fabrication of Harriete Estel Berman’s work in tin cans? She recently finished new work for a show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum that opens in February.  Along the way, she created a Flickr album so you can view, step by step how Harriete designed this Seder Plate from concept through every step in the fabrication.
View the finished work on her website at:


Symposiumflyer_1000WEB Forging Communities






The essence of success by Sienna Patti

The Difference Between a Goal and a Wish by Brigitte Martin




Did you know that the SNAG 2011 
Professional Development Seminar
is available online?
Recorded during the Houston SNAG Conference you can watch and listen to all six segments on the SNAG Professional Development Seminar page.

This informative programming is available online at no charge courtesy of the NEA, MJSA, and SNAG.

Issues include:

  • How to develop new markets for your work.
  • Ideas for marketing your work and visibility for your blog.
  • The importance of photography in marketing.
  • Are new standards emerging for photographic images?
  • Are the images representing your work well crafted and compelling?
  • What makes a good cover photo?
  • What camera features should I look for before I buy?
  • What are the ethics of Photoshopping images of my work?
  • Who owns the rights to the photograph?
  • What kind of "master image" should my photographer provide?

Additional discussion of all topics continues on ASK Harriete:
Here are the links to individual topics:
Niche Marketing link

Digital Images File Extensions

Photography in Flux – Three photographers

Digital Photography Handouts

Photography in Flux – Editor’s Perspective

How to Build a Better Drop Shadow

Professional Development Seminar 2010

Not Just Another Pricing Lecture

This post was updated on February 18, 2022, to provide current links.

Looking for the MapQuest Version for Your Path to Success?

The New Year renews our optimism and focus on professional development, but we all have questions.
Map of San Francisco, CaliforniaWhat is your professional goal for the New Year?
Do you know how to get there?

Are you looking for the MapQuest version for your path to success? Can we offer directions?  Do you even remember MapQuest?  Really?   Now we use other navigation software....and struggle if we've lost GPS. Yikes!  You can't even get paper maps any more when you rent a car.   

I talked about this and more at Jay Whaley Blog Talk radio on Thursday, January 5, 2012.

One of my goals for the interview was to open the conversation. What are the pressing issues in the arts and crafts community?

This online radio interview is relevant to artists and makers working in all media.

  • What are the tips to success you want to know?

Subscribe to ASK Harriete for information throughout the year.


This post was updated on February 27, 2023

Happy Chanukah or "Eating Chinese Food on Christmas"

Chanukah already started and I forgot to tell you about my favorite books and resources for contemporary Judaica. The selection is small, but the potential audience for this genre has room for growth.

500 JudaicaYears ago, Lark Books published 500 Judaica: Innovative Contemporary Ritual Art. (Affiliate link) I  am very pleased to say that there are several examples of my artwork.

 A Collector's Guide to Judaica

A Collectors' Guide to Judaica(Affiliate link) has an interesting selection of historical pieces with informative text. (It only has a few 20th-century pieces of Judaica.)  This book might be hard to find.





Are you looking for images of contemporary Judaica that are not the generic gift store item?

Check out a newly published book, Modern Judaica by Jim Cohen includes only contemporary Judaica, many of the pieces are absolutely outstanding.  


Here are a few outstanding examples from this book: 

PXL_20230214_185323686 (1)


L'ChaimThe Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco,  has a selection of catalogs from their Invitational Exhibitions. I wonder if they are still available? 

In the order listed here (right):
L'Chaim!: A Kiddush Cup Invitational


Making ChangeMaking Change: 100 Artists Interpret the Tzedakah Box.


Scents of Purpose: Artists Interpret the Spice Box
New WorksOldStories

 New Works, Old Stories

These catalogs are not listed online, but they are all beautifully executed with images of Judaica within traditional forms and beyond the expected.

Email me, I will make a recommendation for a catalog based on your interest.


Participation in the exhibitions at the Contemporary Jewish Museum has offered me the opportunity to create museum-quality Judaica.

Many of the pieces that I made for these exhibitions have been purchased for the permanent collections of museums.


Shown to the left is "And There Was Light" a spice book that holds a Havdalah box. 


If you are interested, all of my Judaica is shown on my website.

Book with Havadalah Spice Box by Harriete Estel Berman
"And There Was Light"                  2004

Seven hinged panels to create an accordion-style book with a removable Spice Box. This contemporary Judaica is constructed from recycled tin cans, spice tins, vintage steel dollhouses, 10 k. gold rivets, aluminum rivets, stainless steel screws. Available for purchase or exhibition.

Each panel    14.25” height x 9” width
The length of the book completely open is 54".


Menorah by Harriete Estel Berman
Facets of Light        1999

Menorah was constructed from pre-printed steel from recycled tin containers, "Pushke" Boxes used for the Jewish National Fund, and pre-printed steel from vintage dollhouses. Aluminum rivets. One-half-inch acrylic cubes function as feet under the menorah. Available for purchase or exhibition.

3" height x 21" width x 25.5" length

Menorah Jewish Star by Harriete Estel Berman from recycled materials.

M2L_YellowFlowerScroll72. askH

Yellow Flower Scroll Doorpost Mezuzah
Dimensions: 7.25” Inventory number M2L.220

This post was updated on February27, 2023.

"Prepare for Success" in an Art & Craft Business

[Shameless self-promotion -- take a workshop with Harriete on business development and ASK Harriete your questions in person.

We all want to improve our tools for success.  In a two-day workshop, gain a wealth of information on ways to accelerate your art/craft business skills.

Prepare for Success: Crash course in running an arts and crafts business

I will be teaching this workshop at Revere Academy, San Francisco, April 28 and 29, 2012.  The hours for the class are 9 am to 5 pm.


This class is not just for jewelers! While Revere Academy usually appeals to the hands on metalworking skills, in reality, all media have similar issues in running and managing an art and craft of business.






Harriete Estel Berman organizing the installation of Pick Up Your Pencils, BegininstSaysSTOP72.800Professional practices are the day to day skills that lead to long term success.


Align your business activities to the style of your work.  The fundamentals of an art/craft business can be rewarding.

Learn how to use social networking, blogs, and your website to develop visibility.

What are your one-year goals? Five-year goals?

Is your resume organized and updated? Learn some simple ideas for your business "housekeeping". Is that an oxymoron?

 How is your inventory management?


Are you maintaining proper records for the IRS? 

Pencil Point from Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin

Are your photographic images good enough?
Let’s take a look.

BrownbagSubmit specific questions in advance or plan to be spontaneous in the workshop.  The workshop is expected to be responsive to and directed by the participants. There is time for dedicated attention for each person.  

Bring your lunch if you want to spend the lunch hour discussing your work and marketing.

How do you define Success?
Are your work and business approach consistent with your goals and objectives?  
Is your definition for success a goal or a wish?

Raise your standards or at least redefine them.
Invest two days in your future.

Amercan Craft Article about Harriete Estel BermanA recent article in American Craft  Dec/Jan 2012 about my work. 

HARRIETE Estel Berman standing in front of my work at the Minneapolis Institute of Artsminneapolis
Harriete Estel Berman standing in front of her Seder plate at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

How To Define Success?

Symposiumflyer_1000WEB The November 2011  symposium sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Area Metal Arts Guild had me thinking...

A portion of the programming is titled, "What Does Success Look Like in the Jewelry World?" The panel discussion will be led by Sarah Turner, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Panelists include Lola Brooks (artist, faculty at Rhode Island School of Design), Brigitte Martin (Founder, Chief Editor of Crafthaus), and Sienna Patti (owner of Sienna Gallery).


The big question remains...How do you define success?

GryoscopeIs the definition of success external or internal? By external, I mean by measures such as the number of books or galleries that represent your work. External might be how much work you sell. Internal is how you feel inside. Do you meet your personal goals?

What do you mean by “Success”?

Is reputation a marker of success?

Is making money a definition of success? Do you have to make money to be successful?

If you sell work at high prices, is that a definition of success?

Is it possible to be a successful artist and never make any money?

Is money the sole definition of success in our society? 

What is the relationship between critical attention and financial success?

Measuring_cupsuccessThese are some really good questions.  If you're like me, perhaps you wrestle with these questions all the time.  All of the advice offered through the Professional Guidelines, ASK Harriete, or the Professional Development Seminar is based on experience and a measure of success.  But each measure of success is only one ingredient. Every recipe for success is going to be different.

I lay awake at night torturing myself. By daylight, it is much easier not to think about such stuff and go make something in the studio.

I'd love to hear what you have to say. What is your question that if answered would bring you success?

How do you measure success?

Harriete Estel Berman working in the studio on a new Judaica Seder plate for Tu Bishvat. You can see the entire process of fabrication in a special album on Flickr.

What do you mean by “Success”? by Andy Cooperman

This post was updated on February 12, 2022.

COMING UNGLUED: Learn How to Rivet and Screw (without screwing up!) - A Workshop with Harriete Estel Berman

To Be Both A Speaker of Words and a Doer of Deeds by Harriete Estel Berman00
Learn How to Rivet and Screw (without screwing up!) 

is full!!!

mber 19th, 2-5pm   fee: $40
Registration is filling up!
Contact SCRAP to sign up for the wait list...
so that you will be notified for the next workshop or subscribe to this blog's feed for ASK Harriete
(in the left column.) Another option, I understand that sometimes people don't show up even though they maybe if you are at SCRAP at 2:00p.m. you can fill an empty slot.

DevilInsideFRONT72grbkRecently, I've made two pilgrimages to SCRAP, A Source for the Resourceful in San Francisco to set aside interesting materials for our three hour lesson.

Learn how to attach layers of diverse materials together using simple riveting methods and small screws.  Paper, fabric, buttons, cardboard, plastic, metal, charms, and trinkets can all be made into presents or pins.
 Words Like Winter Snowflakes2Arrive early to hunt and gather at Scrap. Bring your own mementos to incorporate.  No previous experience needed.

If you are ready for a more advanced lesson, you can learn how to hide the pin stem or brainstorm lots of ideas with examples from up-cycled materials.

So much fun to learn, so little time.

Enroll early! Space is limited and the cost is modest.

SCRAP is a resource for the "artist" in all of us. Check it out!


Authentic Iconic Copyright, Trademark and Patent

Authentic Iconic Copyright, Trademark and Patent


Collect Your Money Pin by Harriete Estel Berman
Collect Your Money Pin by Harriete Estel Berman


Devil Inside Pin holds a condom  for the devil inside
The Devil Inside Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman


Pin Words Like Winter Snowflakes172
Words Like Winter Snowflakes by Harriete Estel Berman

Winning the Race With Time by Harriete Estel Berman Winning the Race With  Time back of pin by Harriete Estel Berman72
Winning the Race with Time Brooch

Learn how to make the back of your pins look great!


Use Your Camera As An Impartial Opinion - A Third Eye

I've been working really hard for the last three months on a major piece. The deadline is looming, I can't take a day off to look at my work with a fresh eye. This is a real concern.

TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel Berman
TuBishvat Seder Plate in progress. View every step from the past 2 1/2 months on Flickr.

emiko oye and Aryn  Shelander work on the TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel BermanLeaves7457.72800Sometimes, I am lucky enough to have my husband, children or studio assistant offer their opinions. Thank goodness!


An impartial opinion and a fresh set of eyes are absolutely essential.

emiko oye and Aryn Shelander working on the TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel BermanAryncloseleaves72.800.7462
emiko oye and Aryn Shelander working together to fine-tune the images in tin.

But all too often, like last night, I am by myself making really important decisions with no one to offer an impartial opinion, a third eye. After hours and hours of working each day, I am running into decision fatigue and can no longer see my work objectively. Does this ever happen to you?

It's a real problem -- the brain compensates by filling in less than perfect information. How can I find out if my next solution is "working" visually? How can an artist see their work with a fresh eye when there is no time to take a break?

TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel Berman TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel Berman

Here's one solution:

A few quick photos in the studio can really help you see your work in a new way.

TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel BermanTuBishvat Seder plate without leaves at the top of the apple.

Take out your digital camera and take a few photos.

Upload to your computer and evaluate the images.

Here is an example.  Compare two possibilities.

TuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel BermanTuBishvat seder plate in progress by Harriete Estel Berman

The left image has three leaves on the top of the apple. The right image has one leaf over the top of the apple.  Which do you like better?

The photos can help you see your work in a whole new way. 

Next time you're "stuck" trying to make a decision, take a few photos.  Or, . . . another person I know scans her work on her scanner.  Either way, capture an impartial opinion - a third eye and a fresh perspective on your work.

It really works!


Next Post: Planning the best possible photographic images of your work.

This post was updated on February 11, 2022.

Handcuffs, As Jewelry? - Symbol of Oppression in Fashion

When my daughter was fourteen I started “The Fulsome Game” (see photo below), inspired by the comparison (or should I say the shocking similarity) between three different game boards from 1966, 1967, and 1995. Adding to the culture shock for this women’s lib mother/artist were the magazines marketed to young girls filled with underwear, makeup, nail polish, and articles about “how to look good” or “what do boys want in girls.”


Our culture sells this fulsome game of excessive advertising, consciously and subconsciously selling an incessant message that limits females to stereotypical roles that superficially focus on appearance instead of substance.

Fulsome Game by Harriete Estel Berman sends a powerful message.

When will women be unshackled from the limitations of these formulaic and limited roles?

DiceGRRoll the dice…

Well, I couldn't believe what I found in a recent issue of Elle Magazine discovered at the gym. What I thought was going to be entertainment turned into concern when I noticed this image below
                                  handcuffs as jewelry!


I (reluctantly) borrowed the magazine and scanned the page for your viewing. 


The above image was taken from a full-page fashion spread of HOT items currently "in fashion." Something is wrong
here if "hot fashion" items are handcuffs for women as jewelry. 

Sure you can say, "don't buy it".... but I am objecting to the message.

In case you think that the one pair of handcuffs was an anomaly here is an entire page of handcuffs as a fashion accessory from the same magazine.


Interesting that the handcuffs are shown with very high heels on both pages of fashion images. The high heels give the appearance of longer legs, but at the extreme, they encumber womens' ability to walk. The extreme high heels themselves are like ankle shackles. Handcuffs as jewelry??!  Bondage as metaphor?!! An amazing combination of shackled hands and ankles.

I want to be as fashionable and attractive as most other women....but why is it that "fashion" thinks it is attractive to wear items of subjugation and pain (handcuffs and extremely high heels)?

MORE BACKGROUND BELOW ABOUT MY COLLECTION OF GENDER-SPECIFIC games that inspire my past artwork (some highlighting handcuffs).

Come to my studio to see the extensive collection of toys.

Fulsome Gamer by Harriete Estel Berman uses handcuffs to send a powerful message. _fullview72

As mentioned at the beginning, "The Fulsome Game" was inspired by three vintage game boards that I collected in my feminist study of our material culture. 

What ShallI I Be Board Game owned by Harriete Estel Berman inspires artworkThe oldest game is titled “What Shall I be? The exciting game of Career Girls” © 1966.

It offered six possible careers to young girls playing the game: ballerina, model, actress, flight attendant, nurse, and school teacher. 

Game cards in the box make a range of comments, some positive and many negative, for example
YOU ARE A QUICK THINKER. Good for: Airline Hostess and Nurse”
YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT.  Bad for: Airline Hostess, Ballet Dancer, and Model."
"YOU ARE PRETTY. Good for: Model and Actress."
"YOUR MAKE-UP IS TOO SLOPPY. Bad for: Airline Hostess and Model." 
"YOU ARE A SLOW THINKER. Bad for: Airline Hostess and Nurse. Another game board."

Continuing with more revelations from my collection of gender-specific toys:

Front.72 Back72

Side372Above and left are the front and the back of a “Campus Queen” lunch box circa 1967. The lunch box came complete with a thermos, two magnetic game pieces, and a spinner.

The game board had spaces with statements like:

Roll the dice, advance thirty years!   In 1997 my eight-year-old daughter was given a Barbie game called, “’ We Girls Can Do Anything GameWe Girls Can Do Anything’ Game, Travel the Path that Leads to the Career of Your Dreams” © 1996.

After all of these years, the career options had improved only slightly (didn’t the feminist movement have any impact)?   Now, the career options are: ballerina, fashion designer, actress, musician, pilot, and doctor, but every character is dressed in Barbie pink including the pilot and doctor.

I could not hold myself back from this commentary in the piece "The Fulsome Game".


This post was updated on February 11, 2022.



Make Work YOU WANT TO MAKE and then... THE WORK Will Find a SHOW

I have spent the afternoon reading Ask Harriete.  Oftentimes, I see a show I feel my work would fit into...due to the subject matter, title, etc., however, there is NOT enough time to create a piece and get it submitted in time.  After reading what you say in the Etsy Recycler's Guild interview of Harriete Estel Berman interview (from Etsy Recycler's Guild, I am surprised to see, that you most likely enter shows after the work is done. 

Or as you once told me, you shop the work around in order to find an exhibition space.  So, what can you offer to those of us who have the problem?  

Mary Anne Enriquez

Harriete Estel Berman standing near Measuring Compliance at the exhibition ManufracturedbstandingThis issue often causes artists and makers to feel overwhelmed.  Your schedule is already full and then an opportunity arises that would demand even more time. Who can just drop everything and start
                                                    something new?

Although I do make work for some shows (and will show some examples in the next post on ASK Harriete),  I prefer to make work that I want to make based on my long-term goals.

I recommend that all artists and makers make the work they want to make.


Measuring Compliance Poster
Measuring Compliance Poster
portrays sculpture by the same title.
Measuring Compliance © 2006
Recycled materials, 3rd-grade desk,
3rd-grade chair, banners, custom made
straight jacket, yardstick, rulers.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

It is the artist's or maker's responsibility to bring important or significant ideas to fruition without the dictates of a theme, exhibition, or invitation. Maybe these ideas are big, expensive, demanding, or even scary. So what if it takes a year or more to finish because you have to put it down, work on your day job, or do other artwork that makes money. Just keep working with the big goals in mind.

If you wait for a show invitation to start making something big or important, you may never get around to creating significant artwork. Too often, I have heard artists expressing disappointment that they didn't get invited to be part of a particular exhibition even though they had been thinking about making something that would have been "perfect" for the show.  Don't wait for a show to prompt the making . . .  start making.  By waiting to make something "for a show" ... they lost an opportunity.

The emphasis is on making work that is challenging, significant, and stands on its own . . .  not making work that fits into a show in a few weeks.   Make work that you will be proud of for a lifetime.  Sooner or later a show or some other opportunity will turn up that is right for your work -- not the other way around.

Alyssa Endo working on Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:
I just finished the project Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin.
It took the better part of five years. I often had to put it away until  I had time or help available to work on it.

Penci lBrotheres Pencils in Pick Up Your Pencils Begin by Harriete Estel Bermans582bellcurve

Most often, the bigger or high-risk projects aren't necessarily the ones that will sell, but they may become the "show stopper" that establishes your reputation years later.

Close up of Pencils fabrication Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin by Harriete Estel Berman Here is my real-life example.    The day before I finished Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin, a major magazine emailed me about writing an article on a topic highly relevant to this work! Wow!!!!! They need photos of the installation, so now I need to find an exhibition space.

This wasn't magic. I have also been working on documenting the construction of this artwork, writing about it on my website, Facebook, blog, Crafthaus, and other social networking sites.

Website for Harriete Estel Berman The editor had become aware of this project from my website. I've had a link on my home page ever since I started the project.

Apparently, editors and writers spend some of their time "trolling"  the internet for ideas and new work. Marthe Le Van, editor for Lark Books talked about this during her presentation for the Professional Development Seminar. A lesson to all of us to keep making our work, documenting our progress, never give up...steady progress wins the race!

MAKE WORK YOU WANT TO MAKE and then... find an exhibition space.

Does anyone know of an exhibition space for Pick UP Your Pencils, Begin?

I'd love to hear your ideas! There are 3-4 weeks before the article goes to press.


You can see the documentation of Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin on my website.

NEXT POSTS on ASK Harriete:

  • Is it fruitless to even think of creating something fast to get into a show?
  • How Do You Find Exhibition Opportunities For Finished Work?

This post was updated on February 9,  2022.

The Billboard Art Project Breaks ART BOUNDARIES in Duluth, MN

Normally we see art and craft in galleries, museums, stores, or online -- seldom does a venue actually reach out to the general public.  Well, that's about to change!  The Billboard Art Project breaks through all the ivory tower gates and grabs the attention of the commuting audience with BILLBOARD SIZE IMAGES of art.   AND . . . my artwork is included in the Billboard Art Project!   How exciting!

Two teacups by Harriete Estel Berman  from Consuming Conversation on a Billboard in Duluth MN as part of the Billboard Art ProjectA billboard obtained from Lamar Advertising by The Billboard Art Project will display site-specific artwork for a continuous period of 48 hours on their billboard in Duluth, MN. They selected 59 artists from all over the U.S. and Europe to have their artwork images exhibited in an eight-hour show that will repeat six times. The images in this post will be shown along with the other artists beginning at midnight Friday night through Saturday and Sunday until midnight Sunday night. Wish I could see the real thing. 

Three cups from Consuming Conversation by Harriete Estel Berman  on a Billboard in Duluth MN as part of the Billboard Art ProjectIn addition to providing artists with a free venue to display their art, free art shows are provided to the public, thus initiating a dialogue between artists, viewers, and the public landscape. How cool is that?

Three Art Jewelry bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman are part of the Billboard Art Project in Duluth, MNtH
WHERE: Billboard Art Project - Duluth, MN

LOCATION: Digital LED Billboard at the intersection of
               E Central Entrance and S Blackman Avenue
              (southeast corner)
               Duluth, Minnesota, 55811

WHEN: Saturday, August 20th at 12:01 a.m. through
           Sunday, August 21st  11:59 p.m.

Series of Golden Girl Bracelets from the Californina Collection of Jewelry by Harriete Estel Berman is part of the Duluth, MN Billboard Art ProjectlleABOUT:
Billboard Art Project is a nonprofit organization that acquires digital billboards normally used for advertising and repurposes them as roadside art galleries. Projects are held in cities all over the country and are open to all individuals and groups who are interested in participating.

PARTICIPATE in the Billboard Art Project:
If you want to submit images of your art or craft for future locations, more information can be found at The Billboard Art Project. Each city has different requirements, dimensions, and deadlines. Read the PDF super carefully! You have to resize your images to fit the Billboard dimensions, and it takes time to label your images properly. Your fabulous images could be a billboard.  I think this is a fabulous idea!


PARTICIPATING ARTISTS for Duluth, MN listed below:
Alex Lange, Alli Miller, Amanda Mead, Becky Kehrwald, Brian Barber, Brian Nogues, Brian
Rauvola, Cat Bottoms Newby, Chau Dang, Claire Accardo, Connie J. Frisch-Cherniak, Dana M. Johnson, David J. Thompson, David Morrison, Elizabeth Shores, Ellen Mueller, Erin O’Daniel, Erin Rolf, Flavio Galván, Ginny Lloyd, Happy Accidents, Harriete Estel Berman, Jacob Riddle, Jason Sayner, Jeredt Runions, Joelle McTigue, Joshua Barber, Julia Whitney Barnes, June Bisantz, Justin Anderson, Justin Jorgensen, Karlie Thomas, Katerina Lanfranco, Kelsey Bosch, Kerry Woo, Kiyomi, Kristian Bjørnard, Laura Cinti, Laurel Beckman, Laurie Paravati, Luisa Pulido, Marcellous Lovelace, MaryAnn Cleary, Michael Harford, Michele Guieu, Mitchell Bercier, Nadia Pacheco, Natalee Parochka, Natalee Phelps, Phyllis Fox, Rachael Gorchov, Rachel Halgren, Sarah Jacobs, Scott Murphy, Seeking Kali, Shaun Irving, Stephanie Thompson, Tracy Stampfle, Wes Kline

Craft Forward Symposium 2011 - Keeping Your Radar Up for Opportunities

The Craft Forward Symposium 2011 is sponsored by the California College of the Arts from April 1 to 3. I've been hearing about this upcoming symposium for over a year through a whispering "telephone game" in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Symposium is almost on my home turf. (Actually, it is an hour away from my house.)  I plan to attend and gobble up every word.  I don't want to miss a minute!

Grass_SWangle The Symposium will also feature an exhibition titled, Manufractured. This show is a new iteration related to the book of the same name (which includes a whole chapter about 41+veDJYNuL._SL160_my work). The premise of the exhibition is that all the work uses re-purposed manufactured materials. (More in a future post.)

The lead-up to the Craft Forward symposium and the exhibition Manufractured are good examples for every artist and maker.

Radar-dish_Antenna 1) The importance of keeping your radar up for opportunities. You've got to be listening to the rumors, working with your local arts organizations, and reading your magazines to catch the opportunities. (see the bottom of this post for another opportunity.) 

While the list of speakers makes this a really interesting EVENT (YES, EVENT with capital letters), it doesn't seem that it was very well-publicized. Why?

Measuring Compliance sculture about education by Harriete Estel Berman 2)  Every artist and maker will benefit from the nuggets of information from the speakers of Craft Forward. I plan to write something about every "session" so that everyone can benefit from this symposium.

Subscribe to ASK Harriete or check back regularly. This is our chance to hear what the leading lecturers, curators, and writers have to say about the future of our respective and collective media.

Every post will be as brief as possible. I will try to organize each blog post:

  • Title of lecture with session speaker(s)
  • Summary
  • What did I learn?
  • What were the thought-provoking issues raised? 
  • What questions were Asked and Answered?
  • Background about the speakers.

GameBoardgreen1wed Share this information with your fellow artists and makers. Give a shout-out! 

"Craft Forward examines the multifaceted practices that both distinguish and blur the historically charged boundaries." "The symposium brings together a diverse group of makers and thinkers to explore the ethos of craft and its resurgence in the 21st century."

This blog post is your early notice. Stay tuned for daily blogs for about two weeks until each and every lecture, presentation, event, and discussion is covered.

Stay tuned.


Below is information from the Craft Forward website about who is sponsoring the symposium:
"Generous support for the Craft Forward symposium is provided by an anonymous donor and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Additional support is provided by Grants for the Arts / San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and by the Chalsty Aesthetics and Philosophy Initiative, made possible by a grant from the Chalsty Foundation. Special thanks to the American Craft Council for their partnership in the realization of the symposium."

What does Craft Forward mean to you?GameBoardgreen1wed

MOO cards HORIZONTAL72This post was updated on January 28, 2022.

MAKERS: A History of American Studio Craft - HOT OFF THE PRESS!

IMG_5245 Arriving home from my family vacation at the beach, I found a mountain of mail waiting for me.  But thrill upon thrill, there was my copy of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft, HOT OFF THE PRESS!  I ordered it weeks ago, it has finally arrived!!!!!.

This book took five years of research and intensive effort from Bruce Metcalf and Janet Koplos. As mentioned in a previous post, this book was designed and written as a college-level textbook on the history of craft in the 20th century published by The University of North Carolina Press. It looks like a textbook with only about one picture per page. This is definitely not a picture book. IF you aren't familiar with craft history you might want to read this book next to an internet resource for quick reference.

Makers: A History of Studio Craft

Essentially, it is the one and only book of this kind published to date. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to read the entire book word for word, cover to cover.

Joking aside, I am not kidding. This book is bound to be a milestone in the studio craft movement of the 21st century.  

Hourglass Figure: The Scale of Torture
Recycled tin cans, battery motor, alum.
rivets, dial, screws.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
© 1994
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The first chapter starts with "The Roots of Studio Craft" in the 19th century, but thereafter, each and every chapter covers one decade after another in the 20th century. My joy and excitement is that an image of my work, Hourglass Figure: The Scale of Torture, is included in the final chapter titled, "1990-1999 Mastery As Meaning" along with a column of commentary text.



So far the best price I've found for Makers: A History of American Studio Craft is on In the interest of full disclosure, clicking on the link and purchasing a book will provide this blog with a few cents as an affiliate link.

IF you don't want to buy your own book, then I suggest you ask your local library system immediately to get it and put yourself at the top of the waiting list.


This post was updated on January 19, 2022.

How do you find venues for your work? Asking ASK Harriete, the artist, a few questions

"Hi Harriete!
I've recently been listening to all the past Whaley studios blog radio programs and have gotten up to your interview a few weeks ago. What a great interview! It gave me a chance to know a little more about you and your work...from your own mouth!

After listening I had a few questions about your installation/museum work: How does it work? Do you come up with an idea, make the work, then try and shop it around to different venues? Or do you try and fill an already perceived need a venue may have? Or something else?

What sort of monetary arrangements are there (if any) for just showing the work (instead of the piece being acquired by a museum)?

Stevie B.

Grass/gras' sculpture close-up © 2001
Recycled tin cans, steel base
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

That's a lot of questions. I will do my best to give you some quick answers.

Grass/gras sculpture about our consumer society by Harriete Estel Berman
Grass/gras' sculpture close-up © 2001
Recycled tin cans, steel base
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Mostly, I come up with an idea, make the work, and then "shop it around", as you call it.  This takes a  considerable amount of time from start to finish. For example, the Grass/gras' installation took a year to make plus another year to finish the Grass/gras' video. The series of 200 cups titled, Consuming Conversation (see images below), took four years plus another year for the two videos. In both cases, I photographed earlier examples and started promoting the work before it was finished. Considering the entire effort, both projects took several years from inception to the finished work because I need to keep up on other work that makes money during the same period.

It often takes years until a piece becomes known, shown in exhibitions, or published in books or magazines with images widely distributed. The Internet really helps with that aspect of promoting your work, but it is important to maintain your focus and keep on working no matter what.

Hourglass Figure: The Scale of Torture
Recycled tin cans, battery motor, alum.
rivets, dial, screws.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
© 1994
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Sixteen years after completion, Hourglass Figure: the Scale of Torture is included in the book Makers: A History of Studio Craft.  I haven't seen the book yet, but this is really big news! You have to plant your seeds and nurture them. You can not wait for opportunities and invitations to show up, you need to create momentum by working all the time.

Pencils Sharpening System in the studio of Harriete Estel BermanI have been writing about a current artwork in progress involving a bell curve made from #2 pencils on my website and Facebook. This is the fourth year of working on this project, but I am really trying to finish it this year. When I have some preliminary photos, I will start looking for exhibition spaces.

There is no money that I know of for these big projects. Once in a great while, I get a little money to make a video or to speak about a piece. Big projects like this are time-consuming, drain my financial resources, drive me insane, fill me with self-doubt and torture -- it is not a picnic.  Yet this is what I see and must do.  It is my expression of art.

The next post answers the question: "How do you transport the larger work?"  Another real-world question from several readers of ASK Harriete.


This post was updated on January 19, 2022.

Consuming Conversation a series of 200 teacups construced from recycled tin cans.

Consuming Conversation © 2004
Teacup sculpture from recycled tin cans.
Handles are sterling silver or bronze.
This was the first photo I had for the
series and started promoting the series
through this image with note cards
and images. 
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Anticipating History - MAKERS: A History of American Studio Craft

41OiZd-LhGL._SL160_ Makers: A History of American Studio Craft is the only comprehensive survey of modern craft in the United States and the release date is July 13, 2010!

This book follows the development of studio craft media including fiber, clay, glass, wood, and metal from its roots in nineteenth-century reform movements to the rich diversity of expression at the end of the twentieth century.

Culminating after over five years of research and dedication from the authors, Bruce Metcalf and Janet Koplos, this book provides a college-level history of 20th-century craft. But there is no need to go to college for this class, as the book gives an in-depth perspective to inform your studio work. 

Many times craft is considered just a description of materials or techniques when in fact, craft can contain social and political commentary. As we enter the 21st century, the act of making or crafting by hand is in itself a social commentary.  When "makers" deliberately decide to make work in a time of mass-produced consumer goods, craft is not just a media, not just a verb, but a symbolic action. 


Increasing Quantity Diminishing Value a sculpture as commentary about our consumer society by Harriete Estel Berman
Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value
 Recycled tin cans, copper base
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
© 2001
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Due to the depth and range across so much media, this book is destined to be the consummate resource about the history of 20th-century craftwork.  By understanding the roots of craft media in the 20th century, both the makers and their audiences can more fully appreciate and recognize the value of craft in the 21st century.   

I've already pre-ordered a copy.  Personally, every time a UPS truck drives up near my house, my heart jumps out of my chest.  Is my book here yet?  I am so excited!  But then I go back to work  . . . anticipation is  . . . well, more inspiration until my book arrives. Can't wait!  And I have a secret to be revealed as well!!!! 


Increasing Quantity Diminishing Value a sculpture as commentary about our consumer society by Harriete Estel Berman
 Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value
 Recycled tin cans, copper base
 Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
© 2001
 Photo Credit: Philip Cohen


So far the best price I've found for Makers: A History of American Studio Craft is on  (Even better than the price I paid, Aw Shucks!!!)  In the interest of full disclosure, clicking on the link and purchasing a book will provide this blog with a few cents as an affiliate link.

This post was updated on January 19, 2022, to provide current links.

Grass closeup view of Increasing Quantity Diminishing Value a sculpture about the environmental impact of lawns.
Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value is about the environmental impact of lawns on our environment. Constructed entirely from post-consumer tin cans, this series of grass sculptures highlight the grass lawn as an ultimate consumer icon of American culture. Watch the video featuring the construction and motivation behind the Grass/gras sculpture on my website or YOUtube. 

April Flower Brooch in Honor of Earth Day


  Harriete Estel Berman's April Flower Brooch Flower PIN in red and yellow with Cheez Whiz and black center.
April Flower Brooch in Red and Yellow with  black Center    © 2010
Post-consumer recycled tin cans. One-of-a-kind pin.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman                   Photo Credit: Emiko Oye
SOLD   April Flowers Brooch pins are available for purchase. Please inquire.

This post was updated on January 13, 2022.

April Flower Brooch in Honor of Earth Day

Every day through the month of April I am going to post a new Flower Brooch in honor of Earth Day. Constructed from post-consumer recycled materials, each brooch is a combination of this spring's fashion focus on flowers and prints.

This post was updated on January 13, 2022.

April Flower Brooch Blue and Yellow constructed by Harriete Estel Berma from recycled tin cans in honor of Earth Day
Flower Brooch Blue and Yellow with Purple Center     © 2010
Post-consumer recycled tin cans.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman                   Photo Credit: Emiko Oye

Hey, I'm on TV working in the studio.

Eons of Exodus Seder plate by Harriete Estel Berman
Eons of Exodus    ©   2008
Recycled tin cans, Plexiglas, 10k. gold,
sterling silver and aluminum rivets.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Permanent Collection of the
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Our local PBS station, KQED produces a show called SPARK which spotlights local artists and their creative processes.  You can watch my 3 minutes of TV fame in a story about the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the exhibit “New Works/Old Story: 80 Artists at the Passover Table.”  The segment includes me working on my seder plate in the studio and talking about the inspiration behind this work.

If you want to catch the segment online it can be seen on the KQED website HERE.

I hope you get a chance to watch it!

Let me know what you think.


This post was updated on January 11, 2022, to provide current links.

Updates from Boris Bally

Here is an UPDATE from Boris Bally.

BorisBally A previous series of posts about late or non-payment from galleries/stores included an account from Boris Bally about his experiences. He would like to add this addendum from the "pen of Boris Bally":

Regarding IMEC

I was stunned today to discover a check (no note) in today's mail. I finally received payment from Luis at IMEC- in full! (there were no finance charges assessed, as I wasn't aware how long ago (since the 14 months or so- that I sent the work) the pieces actually sold (due to poor communication.) This is why I continue to dislike consignment with disorganized galleries- ugh! If Luis had paid me, or even communicated with me when I wrote my first note, I never would have thought to come forward with my story. 

Regarding Robert Kaylor, R Grey Gallery in Boise, Idaho

Yes, they finally paid the amount due and later (actually) paid me yesterday (!!)... for the final interest balance.. that they questioned (!!) 

So we are all squared away after months (of no communication).  They didn't reply to tell me they were paying the balance off.. otherwise, I may not have used them as an example.  Again, a small communication would have helped them.  Go figure!

It is a good lesson that a little communication goes a LONG way! Anyway, I want to thank you, Harriete, and Joan, for helping raise your voices in solidarity, and to give mine more range. In the end, who knows why I eventually got paid...? I am just really happy to end on a good finish and be DONE 'neatly.' THANKS a million!



This post was updated on January 11, 2022.