Juried Opportunities Feed

Opportunity vs. Vanity Scams

"Congratulations.  You have been nominated as a participant!"

Today another "opportunity" arrived in my mail box.  Really!

Magazine-Front-Cover-ScamThis opportunity was for a "FRONT COVER 4-page feature" of my work.  And if I act quickly, the standard $3,500 participation fee for the FALL issue will be discounted to only $2,500! The email continued: "This unique opportunity can assist you in creating the necessary exposure for your process and practice by getting your work where the targeted demographic can see it."

BEWARE!!  Such opportunities ARE NOT unique. But, unfortunately, far too many questionable "opportunities" are offered to artists and makers who are all too eager for a chance to gain visibility for their work.

I recently saw another "opportunity" circulating within the arts and crafts community with a polished, refined website. The website shows beautiful work.  However, not all the images on the website are actual participants.

The email was very clever suggesting that the recipient was "nominated" for participation. [Wouldn't you feel complimented?]  Participation on the website includes publication in an attractive book which you are not required to buy.  [Watch out for this trap because participants often purchase the book to see their work in print.] The book fee becomes an additional source of income for the sponsor in addition to the entry fees.

Envelope-with-nomination-3In my opinion such "opportunities" show all the hallmarks of a "pay to play" vanity ploy.  These internet versions of "Who's Who" books should realistically be called "who cares?".  This is no more than a web version of a vanity gallery. I get upset to learn that numerous artists and makers are being exploited because they so desperately want visibility for their work.

Here are some red flags for future reference:

  • Fees are paid to an international account. 
  • The "prize money" on this site is not specific.  
  • They offer a certificate which is completely worthless. Who cares about a certificate?
  • An bonus offer for postcards is baloney. You could print those yourself. 

Before you hand your precious money to any third party, pause for a little introspection.  With a little thought, I would bet that you could easily use that money much more effectively to create your own visibility. 

And that is the point .... create your own opportunity.

Join the organizations that you know support artists and makers like you.  

Volunteer to organize an exhibition with a marketing campaign and website.

Print your own postcards and mail them out.

Start a newsletter or blog with quality content.

Envision more. Get professional quality images of your work. Get the standard shots and try a dramatic experiment. 

Submit your quality images to magazines that are appropriate for your work and your audience.

Optimize the images so they look great on the web. 

Work on some search engine optimization for your own website with simple methods that really work. To this end, I will be sharing simple SEO tools for artists and makers.

Put your money where it is an investment in your commuity instead of some random organization's pockets. 

Tat Roach Flower Pin Brooch from recycled tin cans and plastic by Harriete Estel Berman

Tat Roach Trap Flower Brooch is one of my favorites. Made from recycled tin cans and post-consumer plastic waste by Harriete Estel Berman  is says everything about making from old to look new again. 

Committing or Conquering Self-Rejection

Eco-Arts-Awards-FinalistDue to a recent turn of events, I am elated, but have come to a realization about my earlier thinking as well.  

Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin has been selected as a finalist for the Eco Art Awards in the category of "Repurposed Materials in Art and Design." With this selection comes professional acknowledgement, and being one step closer to the prize money. That is all good and wonderful, but what I am also all too aware of is, I almost didn't enter.

Right! I almost committed "self rejection."

Tom ProfileI think that is why Tom Muir's recent comments in his interview on the Jay Whaley Blog Talk Radio especially resonated with me.

Below is a short MP3 portion taken from the recorded podcast. Tom Muir talks about entering shows and the impact of self-rejection. [This is the first time I've tried inserting an MP3. Try a click. It should play. It worked for me. Let me know if you like this feature.] 



Below is an edited text excerpt from the interview:

Jay Whaley:
"You enter a lot of competitions every year don't you.

Tom Muir:
"I do, yes. I usually enter 12 or more competitions most years.

Jay Whaley:
And you encourage your students to do that too.

Tom Muir:
"Yeah, I sure do.

Jay Whaley:
"It seems to me that you are even delighted by your rejections.

Tom Muir:
"Well, I don't know about delighted, but I have a good sense of humor about that. I had two years in my career where I was rejected from every single exhibition I entered. So I do encourage my students to enter. I think it really helps them resolve their works and take their work much more seriously."

"The other thing that we have seen........ students feel that they could never enter something and get accepted, and then when they see the actual show or see the catalog, they say gosh ...I could have gotten into that. Well you could have but you didn't enter. So it is kind of like a self rejection."

"One year I took all my rejection letters and I covered my office door with that....to show that it's not such a bad thing to get rejected. You could enter those same works in another exhibition the next year and maybe win best of show in a much bigger competition."
Repair,dec10,rejectletters 038
My folder of reject letters (above) for just the last few years. I save them for the I.R.S. as documentation of my professional efforts.

In another example of conquring rejection consider this story from Kate DiCamillo, currently National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, a two-year position to promote children's literature through the Library of Congress. 

It took her six years before she published her first book.  She received 450 rejection letters before a publisher finally agreed to publish her work. She kept a notebook of every submission, and rejection. She says, "if there is any message that I can give in that respect, it's persistence and not giving up on your dream."     

So the next time you are considering entering a juried show, "don't self-reject."

If your work fits the requirements;

1. Use the TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book or Magazine;

2. Enter the show!


FYI Tom Muir will be speaking at the upcoming Professional Development Seminar 2014 titled "Collectors, Collections and You." Don't miss it!  

Eco Arts Awards Semi-Finalists

The semi-finalists for the Eco Arts Award for "Repurposed Materials in Art and Design have been announced.  The category title was suggested by juror Lloyd Herman.


Trashformations: Recycled Materials in Contemporary American Art and DesignLloyd Herman is the author
of an early book and exhibition on re-purposed materials titled Trashformations: Recycled Materials in Contemporary American Art and Design.

The Eco-Arts entries were due in November. I entered this juried competition which is always a high risk, unpredictable and competitive proposition. AND.... am very pleased to learn that my work was selected as one of twenty semi-finalists. 

After spending some time looking at the list of finalists, there were many names I did not know -- even though I've been working in repurposed materials for over 26 years. Here are some of my favorites. 

Alysia Fischer – Suspended Resources Eco-Arts-mtp_alysia_fisher_scrimm_detail

This is an innovative use of recycled rubber by Alysia Fisher. The photos of her work capture the ethereal essence of her work. Essentially they are curtains or divider screens for interiors.  After looking up her work, I realized that a design blog had picked up her work (as I had seen it before. ) This is definitely a testament to the quality of her photos. Read more about her work based on her background as an archaeologist and anthropologist.

Larry Berger's chest (below) is another Eco Arts Awards semi-finalist. Titled, "United States Rulers" 


Cabinet dimensions are 42" ht. x 35"W x 13"D.

Larry Berger says, "Its name comes from a ruler that on one side lists all the U.S. Presidents. That ruler is mounted on the top of the door frame."  This cabinet was selected as a finalist (annouced January 8, 2014.)


After looking at more work on Larry Berger's website, I couldn't resist sharing another image of  his furniture - a vintage dresser (shown below) covered with rulers. I love the way he uses the rulers to further embellish the dresser in a decorative manner. 

33"ht. x 48"W x 20"D


Bonnie Cohen -- is an Eco Arts Award semi-finalist for this mosaic Pillar of Light. It is wonderful that humble materials can evoke such a spiritual feeling.


"Pillar of Light“ Ark Wall designed by Bonnie Cohen is a 25-foot glass mosaic that includes the Holy Ark doors."  This was annouced as a finalist January 8, 2014.)


Water is an important eco issue. In many places of the world, access to clean, affordable water is a serious problem.   


Deanna  Pindell - We All Share the Same Water is another Eco Awards semi-finalist. View images of her completed project designed to improve an existing stormwater runoff system. While the theme is inportant, the photos of the finished project seem ineffective at making an strong impression and the use of repurposed materials seems irrelevant.  


"Fission 999" is Boris Bally's entry as a semi-finalist in the Eco Arts Award Repurposed Materials in Art and Design." Constructed in Maryland on a parking structure, Bally uses his signature material - recycled traffic signs. This permanent installation was commissioned by Danac LLC (Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA) by Artists Circle Fine Arts for their new MRIS garage building. 


Designed by Boris Bally and HUMANUFACTURED® (hand-fabricated) by him and Project Manager Rob Boyd, assisted by Brandon Bruzzi over an eight week period.  "Fission 999" was completed October 21, 2013.  

The 999 pieces of tile flutter gently in the wind, occasionally making sounds as they gently touch the concrete cast walls of the structure's stair tower. Reaching approximately 44' above the ground, the piece is 14.5 feet wide x 28 feet high x 2.5 inches deep.

In his work with recycled gun parts, Boris Bally has a second entry as an Eco Arts Award semi-finalist with "Brave 4" using gun-triggers, gun-bolts and gun-barrels* (steel) and brass shells, mounted on stainless cord, 925 silver. The weapons were courtesy of Good4Guns Anti-violence Coalition, City of Pittsburgh, PA. (This necklace was selected as a finalist Janurary 8, 2014.) 


Boris  Bally complements technical skill with important content, and he really knows how to design meaning into every last detail (shown below in a different example).



To wrap up this post, this is my entry in the Eco Arts Awards, Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin. It was announed as a finalist selection January 8, 2014.)Berman-Harriete-Pick-Up-Your-Pencils-Begin

This monument to the pencil as a creative tool is a metaphor for the enormous impact of standardized testings on educationThousands of used #2 pencils were sent to me from all over the world, and threaded together to fabricate this bell curve of pencils. 


With a thickness of one pencil, the ephemeral curtain hangs from the ceiling moving with the slightest breath of air – yet the room-size installation stimulates interaction and discussion. The involvement of students, teachers, artists and individuals (in contributions of pencils and labor to assemble) united their voices regarding the impact of standardized testing on education and the arts. 


Pencils are used to fill bubbles on standardized tests, yet are also artistic tools of creativity & problem solving allowing the freedom to make mistakes, erase, and try again. 


The repurposed pencils in the curtain and yardsticks at the bottom are symbolic for how standardized tests measure students, teachers, school and curriculum. But standardized tests only measure quantitative content and skills that can be answered via a multiple choice question. In contrast, the arts teach creativity and problem solving -- skills needed for the 21st century. Find more information about the five year fabrication process, installation, and de-installation on my website. 

Below is a list of semi-finalists in the Eco Arts Awards. The finalists were announced January 2014.  Enjoy doing your own research into the depth of repurposed materials.  If you have a favorite could you share some thoughts in the comments? 



Creative Commons License
Harriete Estel Berman by ASK Harriete is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.askharriete.typepad.com.

RECYCLE Art Without Waste Opportunity

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


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

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

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

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

RECYCLE fruit crate by Harriete Estel Berman

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

Call for Entry - 500 Metal Clay Jewelry

Lark Books has a new juried opportunity for an upcoming book titled:  500 Metal Clay Jewelry.

Rie Nagamo Bean Necklace
Organic forms: 'Beans Beans' by Rie Nagumo IMAGES COURTESY OF JUN-GIN 

Entries must be submitted by April 26, 2013
via Juried Art Services. Click on the link above for more information.

Below are links to resources  and information that may assist you in your application:

CamerarawThe most important ingredient for any successful entry is amazing photos. The Professional Guidelines has a GUIDE TO PROFESSIONAL QUALITY IMAGES. Read  and understand how important the photographic image is to furthering your career.  

ASK Harriete has a whole series of posts about Quality Photographic Images .

Philip Choen photographerCohen2One of my favorite posts is a step-by-step image based tutorial with a helpful demonstration for  “Lighting Shiny Surfaces for Quality Photographic Images” by my photographer, Philip Cohen.

Philip Cohen Photographic  tutorial for lighting reflective surfaces.Images
Above is one intermediate step from a step-by-step photographic tutorial on lighting reflective surfaces by photographer Philip Cohen.         

Use the  TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book or Magazine
from the  PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES document as a guide for your application.

Alyssa Endo photograph of a  photo shoot.qua

Hope this information helps and good luck with your application. If you have any questions, why not send me your photos with the description and we can review them for a post on ASK Harriete?


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:



  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
, 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.



Ubran Jewelry Pearl Necklace
,   Artist: Lisbet Bussche

Beads can be tiny.  


Beads can

also be  



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

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.

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?

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.

Exhibition Opportunities for Metalsmiths

Push Yourself Flower Pin by Harriete Estel Berman constructed from recycled tin cans.  Two opportunities for exhibiting work with online and gallery exhibitions are listed below.

But before you apply, . . .
You could improve your application by reading one document in the Professional Guidelines;
TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine.



1) “Ferrous”- A Cooperative Exhibition between Velvet da Vinci Gallery (San Francisco) and Crafthaus (an online social network of artists and makers).

2)  "Holding Place: A Repository of Containers and Vessels"

MORE INFORMATION about both exhibitions is below.



Ferrous_logo_v2Ferrous -  Steel, iron, and pig iron: materials used by mankind for thousands of years. The Chinese were already making pig iron by the late Zhou Dynasty (1122-256 BC) and the usage of iron (Berlin Iron) in jewelry has been well documented.

Velvet Da Vinci Gallery and Crafthaus are joining forces to create a new exhibition of jewelry that brings ferrous materials into the contemporary realm. We are looking for artists from all countries who create jewelry in ferrous materials (iron, steel, stainless steel, and other iron alloys) or incorporate ferrous elements into their jewelry work.

There will be a catalog of the exhibition produced by Velvet Da Vinci with an essay by Jillian Moore. All participating artists will receive a complimentary copy. Additional copies can be purchased via the gallery.

Open to everyone. Crafthaus membership is NOT required!! International entries are welcome.

Exhibition dates: March 6 - April 6, 2013

Simultaneous exhibition at Velvet da Vinci Gallery, San Francisco, CA and Crafthaus.
For more information about FERROUS go to Crafthaus. 
Share this link with your friends: http://crafthaus.ning.com/group/ferrous



Holding Place: A Repository of Containers and Vessels by Metalsmiths Around the World

Illy COFFEEPOT by Harriete Estel Berman.One of the axioms of mathematics is that the container must be greater than the contained. Prove us right!

Ganoksin is pleased to announce its third annual International Online Jewelry Exhibition. This year's theme will be "Holding Place: A Repository of Containers and Vessels by Metalsmiths Around the World".

The exhibition is open to all metalsmiths, professional and amateur, advanced and beginner, around the world. All metal containers and vessels are eligible for entry. Examples include, but are not limited to, pill boxes, vases, bowls, pitchers, lockets, prayer boxes, and memento mori.

As this is an online exhibition the work will only be seen via the photographs metalsmith submit. It is therefore vital that these be in focus, on a neutral background (preferably not textured), and do an excellent job allowing the viewer to really see the piece and the workmanship involved. Any photographs not meeting exhibition standards will not be used, and the submitting metalsmith will be asked to re-submit the entry with a higher quality of photographs. Works will be juried by the curator and director.

The exhibition will be curated by Beth Wicker, Co-President of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths in the United States, and Adjunct Instructor at Northeastern Technical College in South Carolina. The Director of the exhibition is Hanuman Aspler, founder of The Ganoksin Project, the world's largest internet jewelry site.

Entries are accepted from now until January 15, 2013

Details and entry information is available.
Share this link with your fellow makers:


3 Books, 3 Opportunities to Submit Your Work

This post is old... and the opportunities are long gone, but you still  need to still keep looking for new opportunities.  Upcoming books provide superb opportunities for recognition.  Submit your work right away.  Details and entry forms are below.

  • Having images of your work published in a book generates free publicity, broad visibility, and long-term credibility.  These benefits are certainly worth investing some time and strategic thinking. Do not wait....you may forget, and early entries often have an advantage.

To improve your submission consider reading these resources:

Top Ten Tips for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine

Juried Submissions: What information do jurors really take into consideration?

Photo Comparisons and Descriptions - Now Optimize Your Submission

Strategic Thinking When Applying to a Juried Opportunity

Photography in Flux- Guidelines for Photos of Your Craft

Modern Judaica - Book images and text

 A recent book Modern Judaica by Jim Cohen was published in 2023. It included nine pages about my work, but it took more than three years for this book to come to fruition. The book included examples of my work from the past 20-plus years. That is why you have to keep working and keep looking. There is no instant success.  PXL_20230129_205313092


This post was updated February 27, 2023

The value of being in a juried exhibition or book is the free publicity, broad visibility and long term credibility.  These benefits are certainly worth investing some time and perhaps a little money.

EcoArts Awards - A Competition Opportunity for Everyone

EcoArtsIf you have ever wanted to promote ecology while expressing your artistic expression, here is an opportunity to weave both together. 


All ecology-minded artists, artisans, and makers should submit their works to this upcoming competition.

Eco Arts Awards is calling for entries in 6 creative categories:

  • Fine Art,
  • Photography,
  • Literature,
  • Short Videos, 
  • Songwriting, &
  • Functional Art/Repurposed Materials in Art & Design.

Awards: $1,000 cash for the first place winner in each category.

Final Entry Deadline - midnight, November 30th, 2011

The entry fee per work is $30. Winners will be notified no later than April, 2012.

For more information, visit their website.

Recycle (above) is a series of necklaces and bracelets fabricated from post consumer plastic waste.  By taking materials from the waste stream of our consumer society, these pieces transform the mundane into the extra-ordinary.
Recycled Fruit Crate by Harriete Estel Berman about recycled plastic waste.

Recycled Necklace from Recycled Fruit Crate by Harriete Estel Berman about recycled plastic waste

Recycled bracelets from Recycled Fruit Crate by Harriete Estel Berman about recycled plastic waste


More information is below about the environmental messages behind my work.

These extra-ordinary bracelets also represent a very serious message about the overabundance and waste in our society.  Just think about the quantity of the trash that we throw away every day.

Most plastics are not bio-degradable or recycled. In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal *points out that only a small percent of PET beverage containers are recycled.  The recycling rate hasn't kept up with the growth of plastic-bottle use over the past 15 years.
"Coca Cola is wrestling with low recycling rates, rising prices for used plastic as demand from China has grown, and headaches tied to curbside recycling programs. So low is the supply of recycled, bottle-grade PET that its price is about 10% above that of virgin PET in the U.S., according to Coke and recycling industry executives."
"Due in part to the woes at the Spartanburg plant, Coke has about 5% recycled content in its plastic PET bottles today, down from 10% roughly five years ago. PepsiCo Inc. says it has 10% recycled PET content. Both rates pale with recycled content in aluminum beverage cans, which stands at 68%, according to the Aluminum Association."
"Not many bottles are recycled in the first place. The U.S. recycling rate for plastic bottles made from PET, typically derived from petroleum, was 28% in 2009, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources. That compares with a recycling rate for PET plastic bottles of nearly 50% in Europe.  In California, which recently strengthened bottle-deposit rules, 68% of PET bottles were recycled last year."
Think about all the plastic that is not recycled! The recycling rate for HDPE used for milk bottles, shampoo bottles, and similar containers is even lower!    

We contribute to the problem unconsciously in so many ways due to a lack of awareness. Tons of plastic are thrown away every day filling our landfills with materials that do not fully decompose but turn into microparticles of plastic. Plastic is contaminating our oceans, sea life, and waterways. The solutions are not easy. But the issue is acute and most people don’t even know about this problem.

Harriete Estel Berman

*Esterl, Mike. "Plastic Bottle Recycling Is In the Dumps", The Wall Street Journal, Friday, August 19, 2011., Marketplace section pages B1-B2.

Photo Comparisons and Descriptions - Now Optimize Your Submission

The previous post answered a question from Lora Hart about what information jurors really take into consideration.

She also sent several photos for comparison. Today we will look more closely at the photos and the photo description. There are several issues to look at here.

Compare and contrast these photos. How does the quality of the photo affect your opinion of the work?

What do you think about the inclusion of technique within the photo description?

Lora Hart Communion PhotoLHart Lora Hart Communion MarshaThomas

.999 Metal Clay, Mica, Photograph, Pearl. Kiln fired, riveted.
Left Photo by Lora Hart.
Photo by Marsha Thomas.

The photo left was taken by the artist.
Unfortunately, the lighting reveals the "wavy" surface of the frame. This is distracting and the least attractive part of this pendant. From a technical standpoint, a frame like this should be cut from a silver sheet or sanded to a smoother appearance (before riveting).

The completely centered pendant and background look a little rigid and static. The pendant is sinking into the background.

In the professional photograph on the right by Marsha Thomas, the spot of light on the lower right gives a strong shadow below the pendant. This clearly delineates the pendant, giving the pendant a presence and lifts the pendant off the background.

The extra lighting also makes the photographic element glow with a richer color. Since the photo is an important part of the composition, this extra emphasis is important.

While a photo description (above) as written by Lora Hart would not get the artist eliminated, it focuses too much attention on the techniques.  This is intended to be constructive criticism to stress how important words can be in representing your work.

The photo description should include ONLY materials. Including "kiln-fired", and "riveted" in the photo description is unnecessary.  I do not recommend including any fabrication or technical information in a photo description (unless it is required).  Even then, a requirement for technical information is usually a separate box on a juried application.

The term photo in the description seemed a little unclear to me. I looked at the image and wondered why the photo had a brown tint. It was only after discussion with Lora, that she realized that she forgot to include Mica in the description (I added this later).

After we cleared up this issue, it brought something to mind. If a juror is confused about an image, it brings the work closer to a rejection. In this example, I didn't understand why the photo had a brown tint. Only after two emails, did Lora and I clear this up. During a real jury situation, communication with the artist is not an option. If anything in the photographic image of your work isn't explained in the description, most likely your work is out. Don't use the term mixed media for just this reason.


Lora Hart Eidyl PleasurePhotoLH

Lora  Hart Eidyl PleasureMarshaThomas

Eidyl Pleasure.
Copper, .999 Fine Silver, Pearls. Hydraulically Pressed, Kiln Fired, Sewn.
Left Photo by Marsha Thomas.
Photo by Lora Hart.



The photo taken by the artist on the left seems a bit out of focus. In a competitive jury situation, an out-of-focus photo is usually an automatic "decline".

So sorry to be so blunt, but if the photo isn't in focus, it sends a message that the artist/maker is:

  • not professional;
  • they are not focusing on their art  or craft;
  • the maker does not have professional quality photos because they don't care; and if the artist doesn't care, then the juror doesn't care;
  • = Decline.

Another problem with the photo on the left is that the color is lifeless. The completely centered pendant within the photographic frame looks somewhat flat and dull (especially in comparison to the photo on the right).

In the professional photo (on the right) by Marsha Thomas, the spot of light on the pendant and the background gradient helps to highlight the pendant. The focus is clear and sharp. The color of the copper looks luminous and rich. The metal shines. I like how the point of the pendant points diagonally into the corner which creates a more dynamic image. The pearls extend this movement into the corner of the frame filling the entire rectangle format of the image.

The photo description should include only the materials, no technical process. 
Do not list technical process unless it is required information. I am not as familiar with other media, but jewelry/metals people seem overly focused on technical processes and it becomes a boring crutch. Skip it. Nada, never include any processes in your photo description. The only thing people or jurors want to judge is the final work, not how you made it.

Take out terms such as "Hydraulically Pressed, Kiln Fired, Sewn" from the photo description. This goes in a box for process or technique, not in the photo description. Avoid discussion of technique unless it relates directly to the theme.

NEXT PHOTO comment:

sterling silver, .999 Metal Clay, pearls,
silk. Fabricated, kiln-fired, sewn.
Artist: Lora Hart
Photo Credit: Marsha Thomas

Lora Hart's ring (to the left) only has one professional-quality image, so there is no comparison photo.   But  I do have a comment. The top of the ring and the background are too close to the same value.  I wish that there was more contrast between the ring and background, either the ring had a little more light on it, or the background was a lighter color.


I would add the term "ring" to the title as in Conquistador Ring. Adding a clarifying word makes it very clear when the juror is looking at the work.

Of course, in this case, it is very obvious that this is a ring, but sometimes rings don't look this obvious. The same goes with a bracelet, pendant, necklace, teapot, book, cabinet, etc.

Hope this information is helpful. Do you have any photos like this to compare for ASK Harriete readers? Photos you took yourself and then had the same work re-shot by a photographer.

Thank you Lora Hart for sharing.  This has been a great comparison to review.


This post was updated on February 11, 2022.

Juried Submissions: What information do jurors really take into consideration?

  Sainted Memory
  Sterling silver, fine silver, brass, found
  object. Roller printed fabrication.
  Artist: Lora Hart
  Photo Credit: Marsha Thomas

Dear Harriete,

The post on your CaFE jury experience was particularly enlightening. I'm wondering if you could write a post regarding what types of information jurors take into consideration other than good imagery/photographs and the actual piece itself?

If everything else was there, would the lack of backup information lessen the chances of acceptance? If the required guidelines were somewhat less than stellar, would a great resume, bio, or artist statement raise the possibility of inclusion?

Lora Hart

In most juried situations the artwork is definitely the primary consideration. More specifically, the jurors are not looking at the artwork in person so the photographic images are THE primary method for evaluation. This is why the quality of the photographic images is so important.

Lora Hart sent two pairs of photos for the same work. How does the quality of the photo influence your decision about the work?

Lora Hart Communion PhotoLHart Lora Hart Communion MarshaThomas

.999 Metal Clay, Mica, Photograph, Pearl. Kiln fired, riveted.
Left Photo by Lora Hart
Photo by Marsha Thomas

IF the juror can’t “read” the photographic images well enough, or the photo isn't good enough for any reason, the juror may look to the supporting information including the description, dimensions, or statement for further insight. Therefore, the quality of the information and the writing can be important, but usually secondary.


LoraHartEidyl PleasureMarshaThomas

Lora Hart Eidyl PleasurePhotoLH
Eidyl Pleasure. Copper, .999 Fine Silver, Pearls. Hydraulically Pressed, Kiln Fired, Sewn.
Photo by Marsha Thomas.
Photo by Lora Hart.

Also, be sure to follow the instructions for the information requested. If required information is missing (for example, dimensions are required, and there were no dimensions, or a statement is required and there is no statement), this would definitely be sufficient grounds for "decline."

If a juror is on the edge about a decision, an artist's statement may influence the juror's decision toward "yes" or "no."  So, your statement should avoid fluff, artspeak, and meaningless emotional verbiage. Express concrete ideas and clear descriptions that may not be apparent in the photographic images. (Read a previous post on ASK Harriete about Artist Statements.)

For a themed based situation:
On the other hand, for a themed juried situation, the statement may be much more important as the art or craft will be evaluated on how well it specifically addresses the theme.  An artist statement that addresses a theme or expresses ideas in the work may have more impact.

sterling silver, .999 Metal Clay, pearls,
silk. Fabricated, kiln-fired, sewn.
Artist: Lora Hart
Photo Credit: Marsha Thomas

The statement that accompanies your work should specifically address the theme of the exhibition. Too many artists use a general statement about a body of work that does not directly relate to the specific images submitted. In addition, avoid discussion of technique unless it relates directly to the theme.

I would say that a bio or resume is rarely a factor in a juried decision. Typically, the resume is not part of a juried application. If for some very unusual reason a juror decided to look at a resume, what they would want to see is past influences and how a person has applied themselves with dedication and effort. (Read a previous post on ASK Harriete about resumes.)  Do not inflate your resume, do not double list shows, do not include workshops as education -- just the facts without exaggeration is all that is needed.

In conclusion, there are a couple of issues that are total turn-offs. One is excuses (such as, "you don't have much time," who does?)  Another turn-off is a one-word or one-sentence statement or a statement such as "My work speaks for itself."  If the juror is looking at your statement, the work obviously did not speak loud and clear, and you just shot yourself in the foot.   

Next post: a discussion of these photos and the photo description information.

Compare and contrast these photos. How does the quality of the photo affect your opinion of the work?

What do you think about the inclusion of technique in the description with the photo?


This post was updated on February 11, 2022.

Behind the CaFE Curtain: Submit Images Early to Improve Your CaFE Application

Cafe corny Submit your images early to CaFE!

Submit your images early to any juried situation!

Alarmclockred I have long held the opinion that the simple act of submitting images early to a juried situation can be a significant factor in a juried situation.

After my experience with CaFE, this opinion is stronger than ever. 

On CaFE, the images were reviewed in sequential order - no option. The order appeared to be the order that people submitted their images.

Every time that I looked at the images, I had to start from the beginning of ALL THE IMAGES and look through EVERY image, no skipping ahead, no fast forward.

Winning the Race with Time Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman What this means is that the jurors will be “fresh” when they begin the review process. They may be looking at early arrivals first and be more open to the work shown. After a few hours and a few hundred images, the jurors will have seen a tremendous amount of work including a lot of very good choices suitable for the situation.

Winning the Race With Time by Harriete Estel Berman Just Imagine....how would you feel if you had to look at 1,000 images, or 3,000 images? 

In a different situation (not using CaFE), the sequence is likely the same. If the exhibition sponsor has been organizing the images as they arrive in an effort to keep them neat and organized, the early submissions will be closer to the beginning and last-minute arrivals will be at the end.

Winning the Race With Time by Harriete Estel BermanCUR72 For this reason, if at all possible, avoid sending in your prospectus and images at the last minute before the deadline.

This principle of submitting your work early to any juried situation is TIP #9.  PLAN CAREFULLY TO MEET ALL DEADLINES from the TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Craft Show, Book, or Magazine. 

Improve your artistic and business success by following the  Professional Guidelines.


This post was updated on February 11, 2022.

Winning the Race With Time Brooch by Harriete EStel Berman72 Winning the Race with Time Brooch
Harriete Estel Berman

Behind the CaFE Curtain: Tips to Improve Your Statement Information

Cafe cafe curtain For jurors, the text on CaFE (callforentry.org) is miserably difficult to read. It is white text on black background, one of the worst possible combinations to read on the Internet.

To illustrate the experience (as best as I can remember), the rest of this post will be white text on black.

A few suggestions to improve your CaFE Artist Statement are included, but the principles suggested here could be used anytime. 


There is one more very important issue regarding statements for a blind juried situation such as CaFE.


DO NOT include your name in the statement or as a closing signature. The jury is supposed to be evaluating the work without the identity of the maker/artist. Including your name in an artist statement for a juried situation that is supposed to be "blind" or anonymous is absolutely inappropriate.  Although I have rarely heard of anyone being formally disqualified for breaking this rule, I can assure you that it doesn't help to be openly identified as rude or uninformed.

Justice I hope these suggestions enhance your application on CaFE. Applying these formatting suggestions to any artist statement could also be an improvement. While images of the work submitted are the most important factor, an informative artist statement may influence the juror's decision.

Stay tuned for a few more suggestions for improving your application on CaFE. A few readers have also asked a couple of questions and issues with jury submissions to be discussed in upcoming posts.


This post was updated on February 11, 2022.

CaFE, Behind the Curtain: Challenges for a Juror Using CaFE

In the previous post, I described two challenges using CaFE from the Juror's perspective. There were more challenges for the jurors.

CaFElogo2 From my experience as a juror, CaFE offers a sub-quality jury review. Jurors and artists need to know. CaFE needs to change!

Reading this post, voicing your opinion, and the power of the marketplace can be a voice of change.

Juror Challenge #3.
Image review is a nightmare.

Forward Image review was possible in three different methods - all bad! When reviewing images in the "Preview Slideshow" mode, "Thumbnail Scorecard" mode, or the "Slideshow Scorecard" the juror could only go forward. The juror could only advance the images on the monitor to the next images.

The impact was that you looked at the images submitted early (the ones at the beginning of the review) over and over, and over.  The images at the end of the slide review were seen fewer times.

Back-button Eventually, almost by accident, I finally realized after the jurying was over that the left and right arrows on my keyboard could be used to go back and forth while in the "Slideshow" mode.  But in the "Thumbnail" mode, you have to use the BACK button.  Not even the same button. There were no explanations Back or indications for these options on the screen.

The other juror had the same problem. Neither of us figured out the keyboard options for reviewing the previous images. There are no clues or cues on the screen for how to look at a prior image. For comparison, Flickr and Facebook albums have arrows, next or back, buttons on-screen near the images.

Juror Challenge #4.
Scorecard was confusing.

Cafejuryresults The review for the scorecard was effectively encrypted, i.e. hard to decipher and confusing.  Images were described by a 6 digit number. There were no options for sorting the jury ranking of the submitted images.  Also, the scorecard did not include a thumbnail of each image to remind the juror which six-digit number was which image. 

HarrieteGLOWINGFANThe juror is presented with a scorecard with columns of 6 digit numbers (above right image) How would you feel as the juror?  How can you possibly remember an image by a six-digit number? Talk about burning the brains of visually-oriented people. 

I went to the trouble of transferring the scorecard data to an Excel spreadsheet, re-ranked the images by the score column, and reviewed my results. It probably took me longer to review my preliminary selection than it took for initially ranking the work. Bad, bad, bad news for jurors and artists.

Juror Challenge #5.
Artist's statement

100 wordsGR The artist's statement on the application form is for one text statement only, and it is not associated or tied to the images. Thus a statement for each image was not available. 

The impact was that the artists' statements seemed generic and not specific to the images. The artist's statements were not informative. I will tell you my recommendations for getting around this in future posts.


The juror review took hours and hours; much longer than necessary due to ineffective and inefficient handling of the content.  I reviewed work on successive nights from beginning to end, looking at every image at least once each night so that they would be fresh in my mind.

Balance-scale-unbalanced In the big picture, it is the greatest of honors to be asked to make juror decisions.  I respect the process and take the responsibility very seriously.  In this event, I tried very hard to provide my best decisions, but I also came to realize that this CaFE system has room for improvement, to put it mildly. The lack of intuitive interaction caused uneven review which offends my sense of justice. I am enthusiastic about using the Internet, but the current structure and interface of this online service is a hindrance to the arts and crafts community.

If we don't talk about this out loud, it will never be fixed. I hope I am not blacklisted forever for revealing this disturbing little secret.

CaFE needs to improve its site, or I recommend finding another method for reviewing images.   

Justice_statue The next posts on ASK Harriete will cover recommendations for artists and makers to improve their chances of selection if your artwork is juried on CaFE.


This post was updated on February 10, 2022.

CaFE, Behind the Curtain: Insights as a Juror Using CaFE

CaFElogo2 I had the opportunity to be a juror for a show. The jury submissions and review used CaFE, an online jury review service.

While I have used CaFE as an artist many times to submit my work for a juried situation, this was my first time as a juror using this service.

Today's post will reveal the "behind the scenes" difficulties and challenges for a juror using CaFE. Future posts will continue with concerns and suggest options for artists to improve their juried application on CaFE.

First, let's start with my overall assessment of CaFE, then a detailed explanation.

CaFE does a great disservice to the artists, makers, and jurors. The website does not offer what I would consider the minimum features.

Justice The formatting /programming for this online service is below the current standards for social networking and photo viewing such as Flickr or Facebook. I have not used other online jury review systems, but I think there is definitely room for improvement in CaFE.One-star-rating copy If I was giving the CaFE website a review it would get one star." 

CaFE is a market leader in the online jury review business which is why the issues listed below bother me so much.

Juror Challenge #1.
Reading the information and statement.

WhitetextonBlack The information presented to the juror was white text on black. White text on black is a nightmare. (Don't use this color scheme for your website, blog, or any social networking format). White on black is hard to read, unpleasant and tiresome. 

If the text information is influencing a juror's decision, the formatting of white text on a black background isn't helping your chances of selection. White text on black isn't artful, it's antagonizing.

Juror Challenge #2.
The images are surprisingly small.

BLACK white EARRINGS by Harriete Estel Berman I would have liked to look at an image that filled my screen. I mean maybe 1,000 by 1,000 at 72 dpi or even BIGGER!

As a juror, it would be nice to be able to click on the image and get a larger view, or magnifying window. This was not possible.

The images that the juror looked at are much too small. I am not talking about the "thumbnail images". I am saying that the jurors are looking at images that were 500 by 500 pixels or smaller to make their decisions.

CAFEimageBLKborderedge Some are even "less", because if the image was not square to use up the 500px x 500px, the maximum dimension was 500px in one direction.  Consequently, any remaining area was just "fill" (for example, the right image using my work as a guinea pig).

There was no way to even look at a bigger view either. That was it! This is hardly ideal and a real downside to using CaFE. 

CaFE management says they are working on an enhancement to display images at a maximum of 700 x 700 pixels. This is a little bigger but not full-screen. That would be an improvement, but in my opinion, not enough. This issue really offends my sense of justice. Juried decisions should be based on larger photos!

Justice_statueI have three more challenges with CaFE, but am not going to overwhelm you in one day. The next three Juror "challenges" (image review, the scorecard, and the Artists' Statements) will be described in the next post. 

After that ASK Harriete will take several posts to review how artists can improve their CaFE submissions.

Stay tuned.


This post was updated on February 10, 2022.     


Strategic Thinking When Applying to a Juried Opportunity

  The value of being in a juried exhibition or book is the free publicity, broad visibility, and long-term credibility.  These benefits are certainly worth investing some time and perhaps a little money. 

When applying to a juried opportunity, some strategic thinking will improve your chances of selection.   I recommend that you review the TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine in the Professional Guidelines.

Spice_mod2BThink about how your work can be interpreted within the theme and plan your work accordingly.

Begin by carefully reading the purpose and goals for the exhibition, show, or book. 

Analyze the statement with your own creative interpretation.  The most important point is... don't rule yourself out because of any initial impression that your work doesn't fit perfectly.  Instead, try to construe how any of your work could fit the stated premise with a little creative interpretation.  This may seem like a challenge but here is what I mean in this case. 

Spice_mod4B I often look up the meaning for every word in the title, theme, and description in a dictionary and online. 
Look for interpretations that you have and haven't considered. WRITE DOWN YOUR IDEAS.... every one of them. This gives me a range of possibilities to provide some focus areas without being too limiting.

Then, if I don't have a match in mind yet, I do an online search of my local library system to identify some topical books.  I go to the library and walk through the stacks near the identified books looking for new ideas.  Sometimes I will take home piles of related books to look even further.  Yes, I will sometimes invest hours in my research and thinking.  

Spice_mod7B Extensive research may develop alternative possibilities for the opportunity, but don't look at other artists' and makers' work.  Look at "primary sources" especially if you want to make something outside the usual expectation or forms. Think about an unusual format or design or content.  Redefine the usual parameters.

Design. This is a really important word to me.  What does the word "design" mean to you?  I think of many possibilities:

  • repetition of forms
  • repetition of elements
  • ornamental design
  • graphic design
  • aesthetic design
  • modern design
  • rectilinear design
  • ethnic design
  • native American design
  • architectural design
  • holloware design
  • CAD-CAM design
  • furniture design
  • industrial design

Can you add to my list?
Please do in the comments for this blog post. BermanBookManCreation
"And There Was Light" book hold spice box

Artist: Harriete Estel Berman

Mezuzah2 MOCK-UPS AND MODELS.  I often make 3-D mock-ups prior to a sculpture using recycled cereal boxes. My son will sometimes do CAD drawings from my cardboard models.  This time invested in making models reveals plenty of issues and improvements to help the final work stand out.

  Pear Mezuzah © 2011
  Post-consumer recycled tin cans
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
  Following the precept of Tikkun Olam

Novel structures, interesting appearance, and original concepts. Showing your artist’s voice in a truly creative object will serve your work. Innovate with different kinds of different shapes, sizes, arrangements, purposes, and imaginative designs.

Repeat this process. Practice this way of thinking regularly to submit to other juried books and exhibitions. It does take a little extra effort but it will improve your odds of selection. Although you never really know how jurors will react, you do need to help the jurors find a reason to select your work above other submissions.  

And the most important action is APPLY, otherwise, you have zero chance of being selected for the book, show, etc.

Good luck with your application.    


This post was updated on February 8, 2022.

New Opportunities to Submit Your Photos - Follow This to Improve Your Chances of Success

There are opportunities to submit your work to upcoming books -- right now, but first below are some tips and links to help improve your chances. 

Consider reading the previous posts on ASK Harriete about photographic backgrounds.  The series isn't finished but I didn't want to wait any longer to let you know about these opportunities to use your fabulous photos!
NEXT, MORE TIPS can be found in the Professional Guidelines which include three specific topics to improve your application:

TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine. 

Working with Digital Images Effectively

GUIDE TO Professional Quality Images

And finally, when submitting for a publication, this is NOT the time to experiment with unusual colored or textured backgrounds.  To avoid getting a "NOT ACCEPTED" notice, stick with the conventional white, black, or graduated backgrounds. These "tried and true" standards reliably produce more "acceptable" images for a wide range of situations.

(Click on the links provided for more information.)

1) Humor in Craft,Schiffer Publishing, curated by Brigitte Martin

2) Showcase 500 Rings, Lark Books, curated by Bruce Metcalf

3) The Bead and Wire Jewellery Designer’s Bible, Download Information Pack (BDEA) UK by Renata Graham Note: The deadline is very tight, January 31st, so send samples of your work ASAP if you are interested! Preferably only new work. The information is not clear about what size photos so I recommend 4" x 6" x 300 dpi.

Humor in Craft was published and has won multiple book publishing awards. If you are interested in craft objects from sculpture to jewelry I highly recommend this book for hours, days, and weeks of entertainment and interesting observations.


Showcase 500 Rings can be purchased on Amazon.


This post was updated on January 27, 2022.

The Bead and Wire Jewellery Designer’s Bible, by Renata Graham

In summer 2011 quarto Publishing will be delivering this forthcoming title world wide, and we are currently looking for a wide selection of bead jewellery and beadwork to feature throughout the book.

Each featured artist will be credited in full and receive a complimentary copy.

Please see attached for further details.

Note the deadline is very tight, 31st Jan, so send me samples of your work asap if you are interested! Preferably only new work.

The photographers are revealed! Photograph comparisons side by side

Today's post reveals the photographers in side-by-side comparisons of photos of identical content with different backgrounds.

Here are some issues to consider:

Does one background really fit all work?

Does the color of the background contribute to the emotion or vocabulary of the work?

Does one background work for all situations such as online marketplaces, social networking, jury review for shows, books, and magazines? What about your website?

In a side-by-side comparison of two images by two different photographers, how much original content does the photographer add? Are we seeing the creativity from the photographer or skill? Who do you think owns the copyright of the image?

What about the reflection of the work? The shadow? Do these add a foundation for the work? Or are they a distraction?

Are we becoming influenced by what can be done in PhotoShop?  Has PhotoShop as a tool, become a style?

What other issues come to your mind when you look at these images? You're welcome to comment about the photos so that your opinion can be included in future posts.

On Thursday's post, comments and discussion will begin on the topic.

Disclaimer: The images in this post may have been cropped or re-sized in an attempt to make the objects in the photos a similar size for side by side comparison.  The merit or demerit for leaving more or less background space around the object will be discussed in another post as a separate issue.

Image 1 a.                         Image1 b. 
The brooch in the above photos is “Sleeper Cell” © 2009  Andy Cooperman. Burlwood, sterling, gold leaf, stain. The left photo is by Doug Yaple. The right photo is by Steven Brian Samuels.

Image 2 a.                             Image 2 b. 
The brooch in the above photos is “Potter” ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Burlwood, sterling, 18k, stain. The left photo is by Doug Yaple. The right photo is by Steven Brian Samuels.

Image 3 a.                         Image 3 b.  
Test1aJ Hall 12-09_9887
Test2aJ Hall 12-09_9867
Pendant in the above photos: Black Heart ©2009 Jennifer Hall  Sterling silver, silk ribbon. Both photos by Doug Yaple.

Image 4 a.                          Image 4 b. 
Test4aA Cooperman 6-09_3008Test3aA Cooperman 6-09_3052
Ring (above) ©2009 Andy Cooperman. Sterling, gold, copper, copal amber. Both photos by Doug Yaple.

Image 5 a.                         Image 5 b. 
Necklace in above photos by Marcia Meyers.©2009 "Homage to Sliced Green Pepper",  reticulated silver, sterling, and coral. Both photos by Doug Yaple.

The next photos compare similar items on different backgrounds.
Image 6 a.                           
Image 6 b.
AskharrieteBerman_4.7.07Back_72AskHarrieteOreoIMG_7919_web 1000x

Octangonal Bracelet ©2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (left image) Photo Credit: Philip Cohen. 
Oreo "Unlock the Magic" © 2009 by Harriete Estel Berman (right image) Photo Credit: Steven Brian Samuels.

In the images below, the two necklaces are not the same but very similar.  "Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace 1 and 2" © by Harriete Estel Berman.  I did my best to make the images the same size, but obviously, the photographers chose different angles for capturing this necklace. Which approach do you like better? Does the shadow or reflection work more effectively?
Image 7 a.                         Image 7 b.

Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace #2 (left image) by Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Steven Brian Samuels.
Orbit Black and White Identity Necklace #1 (right image)by Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen.

As a result of a comment following the previous post about the use of "colored backgrounds" in photographic images, I have added the images below. The photos below are predigital. Yes, the left photo was actually photographed on a yellow background.

Image 8a.                                Image 8b.
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces of Time ©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman (left and right images) Photo Credit for both images: Philip Cohen.

In the third post in this series on Thursday,  I will discuss the difference in backgrounds, angles, lighting. Does the color of the background contribute to the emotion or vocabulary of the work?

The world of photography is changing rapidly.  Is your photography up to date? Is it an effective tool?
• Are you being judged by the style of your images?
• How much post-production is acceptable and who should do the work?
• Current trends in background and composition.
• The model or the pedestal?
• and much more……

These issues and more will be discussed at the Professional Development Seminar titled, Photography in Flux: Technical Issues, Media and Style.


Philip Cohen, Photographer
Oakland, CA.

Steven Brian Samuels, Artist/photographer
New Jersey.
Phone 845.300.9693

Doug Yaple Photographer
Seattle, WA.

This post was updated on February 5,  2022.

Where Do I Find Opportunities to Exhibit My Work?

"Where Do I Find Opportunities to Exhibit My Work?" is one of the most frequent questions that artists and craftspeople ask.  CAFElogo copy It's hard enough to make the work, and then spend more time looking for opportunities to exhibit. ASK Harriete has answered variations of this question, such as a previous post titled How Do You Find Venues for Your Work, but here is another idea, REGISTER with online jury sites like Cafe'.


HAND PICK & Win Flower Brooch by Harriete Estel Berman
  Pace HAND-PICK & WIN Flower Pin
  Post Consumer recycled tin cans
  © 2010  Harriete Estel Berman
View the entire collection on Flickr.

The recent newsletter emailed from Cafe' prompted me to write this post.  I found several opportunities for myself and friends not otherwise on my radar screen. Here is what Cafe' says on their registration page.

"CaFÉ provides artists with an easy-to-use system to create a profile with contact information, upload digital images of their artwork, and apply to a number of open calls for entry at one time. There is no cost to register your profile and you can update it at any time by going to "My Info".


HAND PICK & Win Flower Brooch(back view) by Harriete Estel Berman is jewelry constructed from post consumer reycled tin cans.
    Pace HAND-PICK & WIN Flower Pin  
   (back view of pin with hallmark)  
   Post-consumer recycled tin cans
   Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
View the entire collection on Flickr.

Registration is FREE, do it now!!!! It only takes a few minutes. After you register, you can receive their newsletter listing new opportunities. 

In the future, as you respond to juried opportunities, the photos that you upload can be saved on the Cafe' site for you. This way you can access them again for the next opportunity. The downside is that CAFE' requires your photos to be uploaded in a specific size (eliminating any advantage that horizontal shots have over vertical) and resizing your images for Cafe' takes extra time.


Meteor Fruit Crate and three bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed from recycled tin cans
  Meteor Fruit Crate -California Collection
  © 2009 Harriete Estel Berman
  Three-dimensional fruit crate label
  constructed from post-consumer recycled
  tin cans, custom made wood crate,
  handmade paper, three bracelets.
  Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Do you know of any online Jury sites that you would like to recommend to other artists?

Why not list them below in the comments?

Help yourself and other artists:

  • JOIN (yes, pay membership dollars) to a select number of artist organizations that fit your work. Most likely they will regularly send out emails and newsletters to their members. Support the organizations that support artists like you.
  • REGISTER with online jury sites like Cafe
  • SHARE opportunities with friends and they will share with you


This post was updated on January 21, 2022.
Meteor bracelets by Harriete Estel Berman fit in the Meteor Fruit Crate display as a commentary about the California economy. 

Three Meteor  Bracelets from the Meteor Fruit Crate
California Collection
  © 2009 Harriete Estel Berman
Bracelets are displayed and sold with the three-dimensional fruit crate label,
and wood crate display.
MATERIALS: Post-consumer recycled tin cans, handmade paper, recycled cardboard, s/s rivets, brass tubing, wood. 
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Plan Ahead If Hand Delivering Your Work to an Exhibition.

Remember Me by Harriete Estel BermanImagine you are hand-delivering your work to an exhibition.  Most likely you'll walk in to deliver your artwork and won't know anyone there.  Then you hand your art and craft to a total stranger, and everyone is busy and excited. The staff may be inexperienced volunteers, but all are thrilled that you are participating.  Ultimately, you turn around and walk away.

Whoa, Nelly!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you get any documentation that you dropped off your work? Could you possibly remember who you spoke to during that frenzied morning?


Reality Studded with Thorns Hides the Front Door from the Street by Harriete Estel Berman
Reality Studded with Thorns Hides the
Front Door from the Street 
Multiple frames fabricated from recycled
tin cans and vintage steel dollhouses.                   
18" height x 20" width x 5" depth
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Before you go, be prepared.  Make two copies of your documentation BEFORE leaving your house (or studio) with your artwork. This could be an Inventory Record, Condition Report, Exhibition Contract, or one-page Invoice. Upon arrival at the drop-off location for the exhibition, hand both copies of your paperwork to a representative of the Exhibition Sponsor and have them sign one copy and hand it back to you before you leave. The other copy stays with the work.

Print the representative's name on your copy of the paperwork.  Ask to see their driver's license if you have any uncertainty. (Discretely make a note of the person's appearance, so you can remember in case there is a problem.)

This is your only proof that the work was delivered to the exhibition sponsor and to a responsible person. Don't just leave your work without this level of documentation that your work was delivered and received. 


Reality Studded with Thorns Hides the Front Door from the Street close up view by Harriete Estel Berman
Reality Studded with Thorns Hides the
Front Door from the Street
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen


Frankly, a well-run exhibition should have all this paperwork ready, anticipating your arrival. If so, fabulous! You can feel very comfortable that this exhibition is going to be well organized. You'll sign each others' papers and everyone will be satisfied.

Unfortunately, all too often the exhibition sponsors are not this well prepared.  And if you didn't bring your own copies of this paperwork, it is too late. By bringing in your own paperwork, you have a "backup plan."  I believe in preparing backup plans before a crisis.

Your level of preparation will make you look like an experienced professional. You are the artist that is going to have a good night's sleep instead of nightmares about lost work.


P.S. Don't forget to read the previous posts about preparing the boxes for your artwork. These principles apply even if you are hand-delivering your work.

Shipping Boxes for Art or Craft Should Include Instructions
Tips on Packing Your Art or Craft for Shipping to an Exhibition

This post was updated on January 21, 2022.

Evaluating a Juried Exhibition Prospectus. Is it worth it?

In the previous post, we discussed entering juried exhibitions in the post titled "Should I enter jury shows? Usually, a juried show provides great exposure for your work and your professional reputation.  However, the next issue for artists and craftspeople is to determine from the prospectus whether a juried exhibition is going to be worth the investment of your time and money.

Study the prospectus. Use the Professional Guidelines topic, Juried Exhibitions, and the Exhibitions: Artist Checklist in reviewing a show’s prospectus. If the prospectus leaves you with unanswered questions, call or email the exhibition sponsors.  Glasses

Here are the most important questions to ask:

Does the exhibition have insurance? If there is no insurance during the exhibition, don't enter. That is my bottom line. If insurance isn't mentioned in the prospectus, then email or phone the exhibition sponsor and ask directly. There is no justification for not offering insurance during the exhibition. No exceptions.

Does this show fit your work, media, style, concept? I am going to be very frank. Not every juried exhibition is a perfect fit for everyone. It's a big waste if this show doesn't fit your professional objectives or your work. I am all for s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g a theme, but if your research indicates that the exhibition sponsors or the jurors are not a good fit for your work, be realistic, and decline. For example, if the jurors are into traditional landscapes and your work is abstract figurative work using glitter and gumballs, this is not a good fit. 

Dimensionalweight Will the exhibition sponsor pay for return shipping? While this may or may not be a deal-breaker, consider how much it will cost you to ship your work before paying the entry fee or spending time filling out the application. Many juried exhibitions will pay for shipping in one direction (or at least cover return shipping up to a fixed amount), but shipping across the country or internationally can be very expensive, and it seems to be getting more expensive all the time.

White gloves for carefull handling of your work. Is the show sponsored by an organization such as a non-profit exhibition space or museum with professional staff to unpack and install the work? Sorry to say, but shows sponsored by academic institutions or artists groups often have students or inexperienced people handling the work. This often results in problems. Your packing and installation instructions are going to have to be superior to protect your work from damage.

Follow the TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine from the Professional Guidelines to make your entry more successful.

The next post will offer helpful tips for packing and installation instructions on your shipping box to protect your work.


This post was updated on January 19, 2022.

Consuming Identity is a sculpture by Harriete Estel Berman. While it looks like a chair, it is not functional. It hangs on the wall as a discussion about consuming to create an identity in our consumer society.
Consuming Identity             © 2001            Harriete Estel Berman
Constructed using recycled tin cans; stainless steel screws, aluminum rivets, sterling silver rivets; fabric seat cover with black ribbon applied in a UPC pattern. Available for purchase of exhibition.

Chair hangs on the wall.
51”  height of chair back
10.5” back width
19.5 front width
10” depth

Should I enter jury shows? Words like "museum" and "juried" intimidate me.

Harriete...I have been asked to submit to a juried show. It's pretty exciting...but scary.  All the work and the shipping ...the prospectus is pretty daunting to a self-taught artist like me. 

Mary Anne Enriquez
  "21st Century Fusion" coat and 3 accessory
  ensemble (includes the woven boot spats.) 
 Materials: 98% recycled household trash
  Artist: Mary Anne Enriquez
© 2009
  View information about her outfit on Flickr.

     Are juried shows worth the effort and trouble?  How can they help an up-and-coming artist?  Can you give some reasons for going through all the motions?  I guess I am scared off by the words "museum" and "juried" show. 
     Thanks.  Great things have been happening to me and my art career as I follow your advice! 

Mary Anne

Juried shows provide a great experience for you and exposure for your artwork.  A definite way to climb up the professional art ladder.  In addition, you never know who might see your work.  Such shows can launch your career forward, but even so, it usually takes years to establish a name and a reputation for your work.

Keep documentation of your participation in each show and update your resume. Shows held at non-profit exhibitions spaces and museums are definitely better resume boosts than shows held at galleries. This is not to say that galleries can't put together interesting shows. It's just that a gallery's focus on selling may influence the selection of work.  Museum and non-profit exhibitions seem to show more interesting and unusual work.

Most academic undergraduate or masters programs don't teach their students about entering juried shows, although they should. Consequently, being self-taught or inexperienced should not hold you back from applying and participating at this level of exhibition experience.

The Professional Guidelines offer several documents about how to enter juried opportunities with more confidence and success. My first recommendation is to use the TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine.

Here are the TOP TEN TIPS.
TIP #1. 
TIP #2. 
TIP #3.
TIP #4.  
TIP #5.
TIP #6.
TIP #7. 
TIP #8. 
TIP #9.  
TIP #10.

This document also includes an appendix with additional information:
Appendix I   Sample Contact Sheet
Appendix II  Where can artists learn about juried exhibitions, craft shows, books, or magazines to submit their work.
Appendix III  A word about publicity

Read the entire TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine for more comprehensive information.  

Additional Professional Guidelines documents titled, Juried Exhibitions and the Exhibitions: Artist Checklist, may also be helpful in reviewing a show’s prospectus before you decide to enter. Success is within your grasp with careful planning and preparation.

Stay tuned next week for more issues involved with entering juried opportunities.


This post was updated on January 19, 2022.


Liquid Wrench Flower Brooch  by Harriete Estel Berman
Recycled post-consumer tin cans
Diameter 4.25”    This pin is SOLD.
 View the entire series on Flickr or Facebook.

IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES of Jury Selection - A Peak Behind the Curtain

Alison Antelman, President of the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild and recent juror, has offered her insight as a juror at Sun Valley Museum of Art (Previously the Sun Valley Center for the Arts) in Sun Valley, Idaho. The previous post on ASK Harriete described her experience in a jury review process. In this second post by Alison, she suggests ways to improve your chances of being selected in a competitive juried environment "following obvious guidelines and structure will increase our chances of being selected."Alison Antelman working at her hydraulic press in the studio.

The opinions expressed by the author, Alison Antelman, in this post are hers and hers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASKHarriete or Harriete Estel Berman. No endorsement or refutation is implied.

Here are a few observations from my experience that may improve your chances of being selected in a juried situation:

Booth shots matter.  It surprised me how much booth shots matter. It turns out your booth gives a cohesive placement of your work. If you submit images of welded sculpture and your booth displays wood furniture, there will be questions about what you plan to show and this may cost you a spot in the show. Booth shots should match your current work--so no, you can’t reuse that old booth shot with artwork from an old collection. I recall one booth shot where the artist’s work was in question, but one look at the booth shot drew an ooooh!!!! The photographic image was gorgeous and that person got in.

misspelled word Spell check your text including artist statements, descriptions, brand names of machinery, locations, and any other details that you submit. If it comes down to the wire with two award-winning artists who create similar work, the one with misspelled words gives the excuse the jury needs to make an otherwise difficult choice. Don’t simply trust your computer spell check, have a friend read your statement for errors.

100 words

On the subject of artist descriptions (in this case, it was 100 characters read aloud), some descriptions were too technical. While technical descriptions to a certain degree are important, make sure the average person with only some knowledge can understand it. For example, wheel thrown or slab built pottery, or hand-painted glaze with hand-carved details can be understood a little more easily than cone 10 or glaze numbers. Don’t bother with platitudes like, “my work is beautiful” or other flattery to one's work. Use your allotment of words to help clarify how the work was made. Descriptive sentences like, "Not manipulated in Photoshop,”  or “hand-sewn from original designs/patterns,” helps indicate to the jury that the work is original, not an inkjet print or that the work is 100% your craftsmanship and not made from store-bought parts or kits.

Photo lights Most of you know this already and you’ve read it again and again; pay a professional for the photographic images of your work. Professional photographers have the photo lights and set up that you don’t have. They’ve spent the money on the infrastructure to professionally light and shoot your work, and have the experience, the lenses, and the consistency. Pay them, don’t do it yourself…unless you are a professional photographer. Hire a photographer specializing in your kind of artwork and media. A sports photographer is not an art /craft photographer.

Bad Earrings photos Of all the images I looked at, jewelry had the worst images on average.
  I saw at least 20 pairs of earrings (in one image) photographed on a towel that was possibly sitting on the hood of a car. I saw earrings where the ear hooks were hooked into a cable knit sweater. Never use textured backgrounds or wrinkly fabric. Use the entire piece in the shot, fill the frame, no partial art shots or close-ups that look cool, because the jury has no idea what they are looking at. These are not art shots, they are jury shots…keep it simple, close up, and in focus.

Applicants are always told that the image order is important. I did not feel that this played a big role in the jury process. I never heard from any juror a complaint about how image #1 should be #3 and so forth. We viewed them all at one time with 3 on top and two on the bottom. I did not feel that image order affected an entry one way or another.


Antelman Tourmaline Crystal Ring
Tourmaline Crystal Ring
Alison Antelman
Photo Credit: Eric Smith

For me as an artist, craft shows and their application processes are one big shoulder shrug of clicking the submit button and hoping for the best. Being on the other side of this process was insightful, educational and also made me realize that with all things being equal—don't take it personally if you are rejected, but do everything possible to be accepted.
Alison B. Antelman


Thank you, Alison. BOTH of your posts have been very insightful.  In addition, I want to recommend reading the TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine in the Professional Guidelines.  The documents Exhibitions: Artist Checklist, Juried Exhibitions, and the Exhibition Contract may also help decide whether you apply to a show. Learn more about the impact of math in jury ranking with the Comparison of Jury Ranking System.


This post was updated on January 19, 2022.

DOING THE MATH OF JURY RANKING SYSTEMS? - the numbers never lie.

Curtain blue
There are many different ranking systems that jurors can use to score work for selection during a jury system.

A ranking system for a single juror can be as simple as
YES, NO, or MAYBE.  Yesnomaybe

When more than one juror is involved or there's a large number of entries, a numerical ranking system is the most efficient way to select the best works. 

The Professional Guidelines recommend a ranking system of 1 – 7  (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), as the most practical and useful ranking system for the judging process and effectively differentiates results.

Jurors should consider “1” as the lowest score and  “7” as the highest score in the ranking system.  Jurors should be encouraged to use the full range of the 1-7 ranking system when evaluating the images (or work) submitted for the jurying.

Unfortunately, some people may suggest a scoring system that removes the middle number from a 1 – 5 system (e.g. eliminating the “3”) and uses only 1, 2, 4, 5 to supposedly “force” a selection outside of average. I took note in the previous post that the jurors in that experience were advised to use numbers 1-5 to score work and to avoid, if possible, the number 3.  Jurors tend to use the middle range of numbers when scoring work because each piece viewed is rarely the best or worst that the juror has ever seen, i.e.close to "average". )

However, a scoring system that removes the middle number (e.g. eliminating the “3” from a 1-5 system and using only 1, 2, 4, 5) actually increases the likelihood of ties (regardless of the number of jurors).   Mathematically, there is no difference between 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1, 2, 4, 5 since the number of sums (outcomes) is identical.  Using fewer score choices simply increases the possibility of ties. 

In other words, by eliminating a scoring choice, there are fewer possible total scores. Balanced scale bar

Honestly, I am not really a math person, but I live with two super math people. My husband and my son! They have exposed me to more math than I really care to know and helped prepare the Comparison of Jury Ranking Systems in the Professional Guidelines.

This document is only on my website! If you want to read the explanation of the math behind jury ranking systems, please read the whole document. If you need help understanding the document ask a math person....but start using 1-7 to review all jury situations. Numbers don't lie.

No matter what ranking system is used, the jurors should be encouraged to use the full range of numbers to rank the images.

Tell everyone you know!!!!!

Every artist can be an instrument of change. Make sure that every organization that you know adopts 1-7 as a jury ranking system.

Please consider sharing your experiences and comments about jury ranking systems.


P.S. Tomorrow's post from Guest Author Alison Antelman will offer advice about how to improve your chances of being accepted in a jury situation.

This post was updated on January 19, 2022.




How the Jury Chooses Work - Peak Behind the Curtain of a Juried Selection

In today's post, Alison Antelman, President of the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild offers some insight into her experience as a recent juror at Sun Valley Center for the Arts (now Sun Valley Museum of Art) in Sun Valley, Idaho. This first post describes the jury review process, Wednesday's post describes the math behind jury ranking systems by Harriete. Thursday's post by Alison itemizes how an artist can improve their chances of being selected in a competitive environment. She says, "I want the message to come across that, while we throw our applications out there and hope for the best, following obvious guidelines and structure will increase our chances of being in the pool that is selected---because it's very easy to rule applicants out."

Note: The opinions expressed by the author, Alison Antelman, in this post are hers and hers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASKHarriete or Harriete Estel Berman. No endorsement or refutation is implied.


Over 700 applicants sent five images of their work and one booth shot through the Zapplication digital online jury process for a national juried show, Sun Valley Museum of Art in its 42nd year. Digital projectors illuminated six images on a large screen in the front of the room. We also had our own Macbooks for viewing the same images and voting.

On the first day, we viewed all of the images by category; ceramics, paintings, mixed media, textiles, etc. Then in the second round of viewing, we looked at the projected images on the screen and voted on our computers (our computers also had smaller images of exactly what we saw on the screen).

We scored between 1 and 5, with 5 being the highest, and were told to try to have a strong opinion instead of giving every artist scores of 3. There were no names associated with the images, just categories. In addition, a 100 character artist statement was read aloud to us. We were allowed to ask questions or pause before going to the next image.

As a metalsmith, I ended up describing certain metalsmithing techniques to the other jurors such as forging and repousse'. Other jurors were able to describe the difference between several types of printmaking like monoprints and reductive woodblock printing. We got through the entire lineup on the first day and the scoring tally was left for the art center staff, who worked on it through the evening.

The second day was for eliminations and balancing out the show. The art center staff scored each entry with a break-off point for each category. For example, in ceramics the break-off score may have been 21, so all those entries scoring under this total did not get in. Entries above 21 were still in the "running" at that point.

We went through by category again to look at all of the accepted artists. Then with the next break-off point of scores, we went through the waiting list and could add an applicant to the accepted pile.

BalancedsJURY Once again by category, we discussed those in question in order to eliminate a few more entrants. With the idea of a well-balanced show, we tried to eliminate work that was similar to already accepted work. For example, between four artists who paint landscapes with diffused light, we would go back and forth. Their statements were read aloud and we would look more closely at booth shots. We asked ourselves, " Are the jury slides representative of what is shown in the booth? Is the work truly hand-crafted or are they buying parts? At the end of this grueling period, we ended up with our accepted list of artists and those on the waitlist.

I’ve always wondered…do the jurors really see all of those images? How can one person view 700, 1000, 2500 entries? I am confident that I saw all images many times. Some of the artwork really stuck with me. We were given breaks and healthy food.  We stopped if a juror had to use the restroom, so no one was left behind. Given the number of applicants, the best you can do is take the time to honor the applications, with the care, critique, and professionalism that you'd give in a job interview.

Alison B. Antelman

Thank you, Alison, this has been very insightful. The next post from Alison Antelman on Thursday may improve the artist's chances in a juried situation. In addition, I want to recommend reading the TOP TEN TIPS for Getting Into a Juried Exhibition, Show, Book, or Magazine in the Professional Guidelines.  The document Exhibitions: Artist Checklist and Juried Exhibitions, Exhibition Contract may also be helpful in deciding whether you apply to a show.

If you are interested in learning more about numerical ranking systems to review images, read the document Comparison of Jury Ranking Systems on my website. There are many different ranking systems that jurors can use to select work.

When there is more than one juror and/or a large number of entries, a numerical ranking system can be an efficient way to select the best works.  The recommended system is to use numbers 1-7. Jurors should consider “1” as the lowest score and “7” as the highest score in the ranking system.  Jurors should be encouraged to use the full range of the 1-7 ranking system when evaluating the entries (or work) submitted for review.

Read the entire document to learn the impact of using 1-5 to review work. The answer may be shocking!!!! 

Occasionally someone suggests removing the middle number from a 1 – 5 system (e.g. eliminating the “3”) and to use only 1, 2, 4, 5 to “force” a selection outside of average (as suggested above).  However, using fewer score choices actually increases the possibility of ties (regardless of the number of jurors).   Mathematically, there is no difference between 1, 2, 3, 4 and 1, 2, 4, 5 since the number of possible sums (or outcomes) is identical. 

Most artist types (I include myself among this group) do not embrace math sufficiently to fully understand the impact of various numerical ranking systems such as 1-5; 1,2,4,5; or 1-7.  I had a lot of help in creating the Comparison of Jury Ranking System in an effort to inform the arts community.  I will talk about this more tomorrow.

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