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Crafting Sustainability - Personal Sustainability, Professional Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability

Crafting Sustainability

Join us this Sunday, June 11 for the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild Metalsmithing Day!
10:00a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Bring Your Lunch

This is the first time in three years that there will be a Metal Arts Guild Metalsmithing Day.
This is held in collaboration with California College of the Arts with a focus on sustainability in metalsmithing.

Location: CCA (California College of the Arts
                     1111 8th Street, San Francisco, 94107.
Note: entrance is located at 455 Irwin St.

No registration is required. The event is free to everyone. You do not need to be a member.

Hear about simple and advanced efforts you can make towards more sustainable practices in your studio.
The demos and speakers will be lead by the following presenters:
Jack da Silva: Remote Teaching and General Eco-Friendly Practices.
Sharon Zimmerman: Ethical Marketing -Creating Better Experiences for your
Harriete Estel Berman: "Crafting Sustainability" 
Jennifer Hounshell: Will demonstrate mold-cutting.
Rikki Smeltzer: Make cast-able objects from common waste.
Dan Macchiarini: Learn recycling your “Matt-Carving Wax” drops and filing.

Come see the San Francisco Jewelry Metal Arts Studio at California College for the Arts 

Will I see you Sunday?





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

Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Photo Credit: William Shelander


Assistants, Assistance and Generosity to Complete the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace

The Black Plastic Gyre Necklace has been a marathon effort to complete within a tight timeline. It has taken the combined effort of many people.

Black Plastic Gyre Necklace in progress

I have been collecting black plastic for years but didn't have nearly enough to fulfill my massive vision because I avoid buying anything packaged in black plastic. However, through the generosity of people that know me personally, or through Facebook, quantities of black plastic started coming in. Some people gave me black plastic one piece at a time, others a bag or whole boxes of black plastic.  I couldn't have reached my goal without this help.

On Saturday, an entire box of black plastic came from Suzane Beaubrun that she collected from her neighbors. It provided a mind blowing variety of black plastic. 
I am both dazzled and dismayed at the vast selection of shapes and patterns -- both seductive and sinful at the same time. 

Even the employees from RethinkWaste in San Carlos sent an envelope of special shapes in black plastic.


I cut all the plastic shapes myself, but this consumed every available moment, day and night, for the past seven weeks.


IMG_20180219_152519127My studio assistant, Margo Plagemen (right and below) saw this project from beginning to end. She drilled holes into many of the black plastic parts and helped with threading the black plastic tentacles as we solved problems and refined the plan for assembly.

Margot Plageman assembling the Black Plastic Gyre Necklace

Early in the project, I was looking for additional project assistance for threading the individual pieces together.  Shoshana Phoenixx and Aliza Abrams worked as outside constructors at their shared studio in Oakland. 

Shoshana Phoenix and Aliza Abrams assembling black plastic
Shoshana and Aliza discovered my Facebook post seeking project assistance on the Facebook group titled Support Network for Artist Re-use Contra Costa (SNARCC).  This group is organized by RC Ferris. I am told that she is the "recycling queen" for Contra Costa County. RC Ferris also donated two separate boxes of black plastic. If you work with recycled or reused materials, check out the Facebook page for SNARCC. 

black plastic junkSince this "necklace" is going to be 24 feet long, I needed an assortment of odd black plastic spacers (i.e. junk stuff) and went to SCRAP in San Francisco.

Bottle caps, pen caps, black straws and all too common black plastic parts (diverted from their destiny as trash) were readily available.

SCRAP is an amazing resource for artists, craftspeople, teachers, or anyone looking for materials to reuse at affordable prices. They always have an amazing diversity of discarded paraphernalia from paper to plastic, tins, wood, fabric and more, that can stretch your imagination. 

For my family and me, a regular stop at SCRAP is always a destination in San Francisco because what they have in their building comes and goes. The prices are very low. Donations of materials, leftovers, surplus office supplies, nicknacks, and overruns from businesses and individuals in the Bay Area provide an astonishing range of scrap materials. When you pay for your jackpot from SCRAP, double the amount they ask for as a donation, and you still have a great deal.


My husband. Bill, is my home support.  He drove me to SCRAP while I "double-timed" and cut black plastic in the car. Bill also provided transport dropping off plastic in Oakland to Shoshana and Aliza and picking up completed sections. And toward the completion of the necklace, Bill helped by tying the knots (with his Eagle Scout knot expertise) so that the knots will be invisible and secure as one long Black Plastic Gyre Necklace. 

I am still cutting black plastic, but the finish line is fast approaching (or I am hearing the "bell lap" with the Winter Olympics in the background).
Shoshana and Aliza tell me they have finished their final two units. Knot tying and adjustment are scheduled for this week. 

Suzanne Ramljak, the curator, will see the Black Plastic Gyre necklace this coming weekend. YIKES!!!!!!!!!!  Next on the agenda is a shipping box and photography for the catalog. 

The photo session with Philip Cohen is scheduled for March 3, 2018.  The Pinterest board for planning the photoshoot is here. The plan for the final professional photos includes trying the necklace on a mannequin, and subsequently on two or three live models. I will document the photo shoot preparation with Phil Cohen so it can be shared in a future post. 

Stay tuned for updates on documenting the plastic trash on the street. I have written to Trader Joe's, Lyfe Kitchen, and the local newspaper hoping to gain some traction on eliminating the use of black plastic while I continue to collect black plastic trash off the streets, gutters, and sidewalks.

Thank you to everyone who has made a contribution to this Black Plastic Gyre Necklace.  

Plastic Contributors:

Suzane Beaubrun
Belinda Chlouber
Ellen Crosby
Melissa Durlofsky
Mary Ellison
RC Ferris Support Network for Artist Re-use Contra Costa (SNARCC), CA
Madison Guzman – RethinkWaste, San Carlos, CA
Martha Husick
Theresa Kwong
Roxy Lentz
Margot Plageman
Suzanne Ramljak
Aryn Shelander
Sara Sherman-Levine
Carolyn Tillie

Plastic Assembly:
Aliza Abrams
Shoshana Phoenixx
Margot Plageman
Bill Shelander

Additional Resources:
SCRAP, San Francisco



Related Posts:

"I Can See Plastic -- Everywhere"


Black Plastic Gyre Necklace - Jewelry Brings Awareness to Environmental Crisis



Remaking a Maker

James Carter metalwork photo credit by Hap SakwaMetalwork  by James Carter 
Photo Credit: Hap Sakwa

Recently, the noted jewelry photographer, Hap Sakwa wrote to me with a question about reinventing his future. With his permission, I thought that others may appreciate "listening in" to our here it is.

Question from Hap Sakwa: 

Hi Harriete, 

Sakwa 1970'sBowl by Hap Sakwa circa 1970's

Along the way, we've met a few times.  You may remember me as a jewelry photographer.  But, once upon a time, I was a 'maker'.  Now I'm a little of both, but more interested in 'making' again and of course the difficult task of selling.  I visited your website, as I knew we were kindred spirits - 3D cultural anthropologists. 

Sakwa sculpture1980'sSculpture by Hap Sakwa circa 1980's

So, here I am "Ask Harriete". Where does a reinvented artist show his work in a virtual world, where galleries seem to have been replaced by coffee shops?  I naively thought I could spring back to life like the flowers in the Carrizo Plain, using my previous resume as a bona fide artist with 'museum credentials' to launch my 3rd incarnation. HA!  It's like starting over......... scratch history. 

Thanks for looking and any thoughts would be very welcome.

Hap Sakwa

Reply from Harriete:

Sakwa 1990's 2Teapot by Hap Sakwa 1990's

Of course, I remember you and your work. You always took absolutely superb photos. 

Yes, in not too many years, the entire art /craft world has changed, or at least that is my impression.

I can certainly understand the sense of finding so much changed and becoming discouraged. I used to think that I knew the "recipe" for selling my art -- now all the ingredients are different, especially the traditional ingredients for art/craft fairs, wholesale, and high-end retail.  

Sadly, fewer and fewer galleries remain, especially those that would say "make the best you can and our job is to sell it".  Those days are gone, and I don't want the pressure to make "art for less" or do another theme show for less. 


Consequently, I have changed my approach in the last 3-4 years. I focus more on my silver repair business, Berman Fine Silverwork , for revenue. I do not compromise on quality. I do not work cheap. I prefer to keep my business small and manageable so that I can work on my artwork in between.

My artwork has to squeeze in between all my other responsibilities and jobs. That is nothing new but I make and create exactly, I mean exactly, what I want to make. No consideration at all to what will sell. Too much 'stuff" out there in the marketplace is focused on low cost. But it is extremely difficult to compete on price alone when so much is manufactured or even "made by hand" by third world labor.   Certainly, for me, it is quite unfulfilling to just produce work that is cheap or not aligned with my values.

Web-of-lies-bracelet"Web of Lies" Bracelet
 Harriete Estel Beman

I do recommend to follow your heart because you never know what may come your way.  For example, I recently felt compelled to prioritize efforts related to my political concerns as a result of the 45 administration. Much to my surprise, this different focus opened new networks and contacts and a couple of publicity coups with great visibility arose.  These were great opportunities. Not many artists or makers get to have their work featured on CNN.  I am very excited, but it was entirely unexpected.  I didn’t know anything would come of it. But as is my habit, I actually had photos of my work in progress and was able to show this work even though it wasn’t complete. Guess the old Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared." is working.

My secrets for success are not so secret:

  • A website dedicated to your artwork is a must. 
  • A social networking presence is also expected. Yes, at least four or five or more major social networking sites. Mix it up. Experiment. Think of it as brain exercise. 
  • Interacting within the social network to some extent is necessary -- but constant self-promotion with a "look at this work" is not cool. It has to be more like a "sharing" rather than a request. This may seem like a small difference but that is actually huge in the reception.
  • Focus on making work that is at least "good" to "great" first.
  • Look for opportunities without any expected outcome.
  • Create visibility by providing resources or opportunities for others. You could create some visibility with your new work, by offering “tutorials” on how to photograph work with a cell phone and achieve good results. That is just a suggestion.  I'll bet you can think of tons of ideas. Of course, there is no substitute for professional photography, but that has to be when the work is done and ready for the big world.



Vase, Hap Sakwa  circa 1990'sVase Hap Sakwa circa 1990's
Photo Credit: Hap Sakwa

REPLY from  Hap Sakwa: 

Hey, Harriete Berman............ thank you so much for a speedy reply and a great and thorough letter........... although, I must add that it was profoundly sad and disappointing. It's like starting over......... scratch history.

There was one piece of advice you offered that really rang my bell........... Do not make work to sell. Make work that is good to great first. The other 'stuff', I'm working on, but it's tedious and uninteresting. I do understand the requirements of the digital age, so I will do what needs to be done. I intended to struggle forward, making what I want and reaching out, trying to find an audience. I'm even doing the spring Open Studio here in Sonoma County. Even if the work doesn't sell.......... I want someone to see it. 

Sculpture Hap Sakwa 2017Sculpture by Hap Sakwa 2017
Photo Credit Hap Sakwa

I won't keep you but wanted to say thanks for your thoughts and advice.
Obviously not encouraging, but valuable wisdom.

Hap Sakwa Art 











This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.

Gender Inequity in the Craft Ceiling

Gender-Inequity-in the Craft Ceiling.
In 1972, Congress enacted Title IX.
  It's  ground breaking legislation prohibited "sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving any type of federal financial aid."  At the time, I remember the push back. The idea that women's sports programs in grade schools and colleges should be given an equal amount of money was a shock to the prevailing system.  Wide spread resistance arose from entrenched college football fans and athletic program managers. Gender equity in sports funding was mandated and eventually enforced -- from the very bottom dollar on up.   Ultimately women were provided with facilities and opportunities and finally encouraged to excel in  athletics.

Very few fully comprehended how this gender equity legislation would impact the sports world. In 2016, I watched the Summer Olympics with fascination.  Female American athletes won 27 of the 46 American gold medals. If the U.S. were divided into two countries, one male and the other female, those 27 golds for the women would tie them with Britain for the most from any country, put them one ahead of China, and (dare I say it) ahead of the American men and every other country.

Titleix-powerTitle IX made this possible. Title IX "revolutionize(d) women's sports at both the high school and college levels." Title IX provided the opportunity for women to excel, but it also meant a very real opportunity for women at all levels to participate in sports.

In the news, we hear about the "glass ceiling" in politics and business. Women still do not earn the same dollars per hour as men. Our first promising woman candidate for president lost to a man full of hot air and braggadocio.  Women are still not evaluated with the same standards as we evaluate male behavior.

As a woman who has witnessed the "feminist revolution" I sat in the audience at the 2016 ACC Conference "Present Tense", and was shocked that only two women received a College of Fellows Award alongside five men.

Gender Ineguity in the Craft Ceiling
ACC Awards of Distinction 1976-2016

I've thought about this for almost two months...but tonight I added up the numbers. From 1975 to 2016 (using published statistics on the American Craft Council website) there have been a total of 301 College of Fellow Awards of which only 117 were awarded to females.  Last I checked, that is significantly off the ratio of women to men in crafts.

This is a depressing statistic. Every conference in crafts that I have attended always seems to have significantly more of a female audience. It also appears that art education programs, and workshop programs have a higher percentage of female students. So, I wonder how the honoring of more men than women happens at the elite level of crafts?

Additional statistics:
SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award 
24 total awards  15 men, 9 women

34 total awards  26 men 8 women


Anyone familiar with wood, or ceramics? 

Any answers?

Any responses?

Any justifications?


This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.



Honesty at Gun Point, Kickstarter a Shot in the Dark

Guns-for-artistsIn March 2016 Boris Bally invited me to participate in an upcoming exhibition titled, "Imagine, Peace Now."  All of the artists were to be given an inoperable handgun and asked to make an artwork addressing gun violence in America. A previous post shared my artwork.

I have known Boris for at least 28 years (maybe more) and am a big fan of his work with recycled traffic signs. The range of Bally's work is backed up by exquisite craftsmanship, sophisticated aesthetic, bravado, integrity, work ethic and sometimes even outspoken opinions. Go Boris!


Picasso -Guernica
Guernica by Pablo Picasso. 1937. Oil on canvas.

Obviously I have the utmost respect for Boris, but beyond that, I believe, I BELIEVE,  I BELIEVE that artists and makers can send a message with their work. Indeed, some of the most famous artworks of history resonate with political and social messages.


Imagine-Peace-Now-logoIn this post, Boris Bally shares his experience putting together a show with a theme about gun violence.
It is always enlightening to hear from the voice of experience. Boris enlightens all of us about the challenges of an invitational and juried show, the lessons learned from organizing an exhibition, finding exhibition locations, and mistakes made along the way.

Putting together a show is in itself a noble effort and a time intensive commitment powered by passion. Boris raised funds through Kickstarter for a print catalog for the show.  A Kickstarter campaign is kind of like a Sisyphus challenge -- it seems endless and always requiring more effort.  There are many successfully funded projects, but it requires a great deal of support. Boris tells more about this too.


Imagine-Peace-Now-pinThank you to everyone who made a contribution for the catalog and the influential voice of artists and makers speaking out about a politically hot topic.  A dollar or five dollars may show the power of the arts to speak up about a life threatening issue.  If you can afford it, a larger donation gets a Kickstarter reward (left), but every dollar counts.  

Below my questions are in red bold followed by Boris Bally's responses. Included in this post are a selection of artworks to be exhibited in Imagine, Peace Now.

What have you learned from organizing this show?

Andrew Hayes

The show organization has lots of detail and complexity. An ongoing challenge has been to insist on following the original rules and guidelines initially set forth -- by treating all artists fairly and equally. Occasionally, this gets put to the test and it is a difficult decision. I am reminded that, by nature, artists don’t pay attention to the basic details: deadlines, artwork constraints and sometimes there is pressure to make exceptions to rules. This show is teaching me to be firm, yet diplomatic.





Did the work submitted for the show surprise you?

Hoss Haley

I am surprised by the amazing individuality and talent displayed in these pieces. So many angles -- the various approaches to the theme which is fairly narrow in scope but has so many strong opinions tied to it. However, the broad spectrum of quality astounds me.

Some of the better known artists have submitted what I consider a lazy stab at the topic and devoted little energy (I am withholding names -- it will become apparent when the show is on display). A few of the lesser known artists have given the project 150% and used their full creative arsenal with a lot of thought and energy in their pieces.

I am surprised how many METALsmiths have chosen to keep the gun as a whole, rather than to manipulate or reconfigure the gun’s materials. Certainly a big part of this was the barrier of working with a frighteningly ‘loaded’ (metaphorically) and often unfamiliar object.

Of course you love every entry, but did you hope that people would address one specific issue about gun violence rather than just use the gun parts for adornment or shapes?

Ka-Bloom by April Wood

I definitely do NOT love every entry. However, I was pleased by the range of topical involvement. Even adornment using gun components can make powerful statements with sensitivity, hopefully making people think about guns in a different way.

Surprisingly, no entry glorified guns despite the extreme range in severity of anti-violence statements. I did not want to censure anyone, rather hoping to engage and elicit conversations -- which hopefully lead to involvement and action. The work that spoke to me the most was that which worked off the actual statistics, or the specific gun laws and transformed these into art that helps viewers to comprehend the emotions, the flaws and the sheer magnitude of the issues at stake.


How did you find show venues?

Christine Clark

I wrote to many of the venues that hosted my first gun show. Several had changed leadership or were not able to meet a rapid deadline (my initial goal was to get this into a showing before election day). The first venue that signed on, The Society of Arts and Crafts, did so quickly, supportively, and without question. Fabio Fernández and Luiza deCamargo believed in my project given our history of working together in the past. After they signed on, Bob Ebendorf, Barbara McFadden and Gerald Weckesser made a strong case for the show at ECU despite the Director’s initial hesitations. I am so pleased to be able to open the show at the gallery and will be featured during the Materials Symposium where I initially made the big decision to move forward with IMAGINE.


What has been the hardest part about starting a Kickstarter Campaign to fund the catalog?
Christine-ClarkIt took at least two months to prepare the incentives (which are required) and to produce the video (very helpful). I interviewed several successful KS campaign candidates for advice. It took lots of planning to lay the groundwork of what I was asking for, how I would ask, becoming familiar with the platform, the incentives, the up-loading process and the rules. The most worrisome component was that KS lists in the rules that weapons are not allowed.

They would not directly answer my questions when I asked them, in advance, if the project to go on. They said, "just apply and you will see if it gets accepted.” That was very nerve racking -- should I put all this into something that they will later not accept?

The amount of mail I receive has been daunting -- SO Much from various PR firms that promise funding help. Also I have been writing non-stop begging folks for support. It is an uncomfortable position to be in, but on the up-side, it does benefit the artists in the show.

What do you think is important about a print catalog as compared to just a digital version? 

Safe House by Stephen Yusko

Obviously, both have their place. I am old-fashioned in believing that a print catalog circulates in different ways than digital. It ‘sits’ on tables and can be easily browsed without batteries or glare. The essays will provide for some interesting reading that will lay the framework for the show and the publication. A book becomes a collectible, an ‘artifact’ just like the physical works in the show. Books have such a rich history and I believe, still a place in the libraries of our homes / offices. A book becomes a ‘presentation’ of the content -- like an exhibition . . . and a nice way to view an exhibition if you can’t be there in person to get the real time show. But, if we do not get the funding for a print catalog, we will try to get funding to do the downloaded one. (still a big expense)

How did you even estimate the cost of the print catalog?
Stephen-Yusko-side-viewI didn’t want to create a low-end catalog again, after having done this for my first show, ‘Artists of a Different Caliber’ back in ’97. Been there done that. Thought I would see if we can get a major, museum quality book going, to give the show some extra credibility in the high-end art world. I still believe we can do this. Of course, all the artists in the show get a complimentary catalog and also a discount on initial orders of future copies.


What is a Kickstarter Campaign financial picture?
The $50,000 estimate for the KS campaign breaks down as follows:

  • $5,000   Kickstarter and Credit card fees lop off about 10% in fees, so now we are down to $45k
  • $13,000 getting high and low actual print costs (based on 2,000 copies @ 100 pages @ 8.5 x 11” with neat binding)
  • Roughly 1,100 catalogs would go to fulfill the donations on KS so we will have leftovers to give artists and to sell at the venues.
  • Our high estimate was $26k - we did have one for $86k but threw that out -- and lowest was $11k.
  • $6,000 our photographer gave us an estimate of $5k- $8k for reshooting the art (depending on the quality of what we receive -- all work -- or any work that needed to be reshot)
  • $3,000 our designer gave us a cost of $3,000 for the whole project, including the logo. This is a steal considering she will also be working with the photographer.
  • $1,000 video honorarium for KS/ advertising
  • $20,000 incentives costs for the campaign range (depending on quantity of pledges) between $15k- $28k. These are for producing the keychains, pins and platters, etc.
  • $2,000 padding-in case I screw up. (minimal payment for my time if I do not)

What are your regrets:

Linda Savineau

I wish I had not promised invited entrants would get their work included in the show, despite the jury process/ decisions. There were a few pieces that should not have been included due to major technical issues or minimal effort.

What are your hopes:
After the second venue, we regroup the show into a tighter, more focused grouping culling to perhaps 50 pieces to travel to a variety of venues. At that point, I would welcome new entries to ‘refresh’ the show while distilling the show to its most powerful examples.

To the readers of ASK Harriete, I ask, What is the power of art? Review the Kickstarter Campaign for Imagine Peace Now    It needed 31, 284 $1.00 donations. That is a lot.

But as an alternative, the catalog is fully funded with 6,257 $5.00 donations. That could happen in one day, with your help.  

What shocks me is the amount of money the NRA spends on lobbying and political campaigns. According to OpenSecrets, a site that tracks money in politics, the NRA spent $984,152 on campaign contributions during the 2014 election cycle. It also spent more than $3 million on lobbying in both 2013 and 2014. How much do you think the spending on the upcoming election? 

So can you give the cost of a cup of coffee so the arts can raise it's voice about gun violence?

(P.S. I'd like to add more information about the images but didn't have the title for all the artworks. Please feel welcome to email me with the titles.)

This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.



Someday I Want to Be Paid As Much As An Electrician

In an eloquent comment on ASK Harriete  John Rose says,

 "Demonizing workshop sponsors is fun and in some cases deserved, but in reality workshops are business partnerships between instructors and venues. They need each other. Instructors need an equipped, safe and maintained facility to teach in. Without qualified instructors the venues are just very expensive empty rooms."

"Both sides of this equation have expenses. You have quite rightly pointed out the hidden costs of the instructor. Building and maintaining a facility that will support metals workshops [any media really] requires no small amount of capital for real estate, equipment, insurance and staff to run it (just to name of few expenses).

The real issue facing us all is how to determine a fair price that students can afford/willing to pay..."

Harriete continues: I also heard a similar comment in some of the Facebook discussions. It isn't that I disagree or don't recognize the expenses of managing a facility.  There is no intention at finding the workshop sponsor solely responsible for the lowly pay for the Craft Master Workshop Instructor. The issues are multi-faceted and numerous.   So let's look at some of those expenses for running a workshop for some insights. 

The workshop sponsor pays the electrician, plumber, custodial fees, insurance, workman's comp, utilities, rent/mortgage, etc., all at the going rate. They don't negotiate and offer to pay a lower rate to the electrician because he/she loves the job or should love craft.   

The workshop sponsor contracts for graphic design, advertising, and promotions. How else can people find out about their remarkable programs?  They get a quote and pay the amount. The sponsor doesn't expect to get a discount or pay an especially lower fee because the graphic designer loves their program or supports the crafts.

Some workshop retreats offer food and housing.  Does the cook cook food for a reduced wage because they love craft? Did the organic farmer charge less for their premium quality vegetables because they love craft?  

So ....what is happening?

Actually I am not blaming the workshop sponsor.   I am blaming "us" -- the art and craft instructors for giving away our talents at discount prices.  The practice has become embedded into the culture.  The workshop sponsors have come to assume that the easiest negotiable expense is the workshop teacher.

The workshop sponsor is indeed running a business and has found a bargain deal in the person that is supposed to love craft more than money...the Craft Master.  Then offers the Craft Master the same wage from 30 years ago because they don't possibly expect more. After all, they really, really love craft and want to support the school, the participants, and the community.  

Hey, someday I just want to be paid as much as an electrician.


This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.


Someday I Want to Make as Much Money As My Baby Sitter

Someday I Want to Make as Much Money As My Baby Sitter

Dear Workshop Sponsor,  

I am honored to be invited to teach at your renowned program which is highly regarded in the arts and crafts community. 

Two days of travel (one day before and one day after) plus teaching for two especially long days all for $1,000 compensation sounds like a great opportunity.  This time away from domestic responsibilities and studio work will also relieve me of my established income sources.  Upon returning home, I will cram in some double time for another four days to catch up on all the obligations that were left unattended.  Sadly, I will miss my exercise classes, but no worry, the standing and demonstrating all day will provide a different kind of fatigue. 

The samples and projects expected in a workshop usually only take a 100 hours or so during the prior six weeks. No need to compensate for all the prep time. It is just part of the job.   

The location of your program is beautiful which will be great to see from the car window on the way from the airport. For my return flight, the uncertainty about getting back to the airport in time will be an invigorating experience. 

Auspiciously, this workshop may help pad my resume (I've only worked in the field for three decades).

Visting SlideShare 004The proposed trunk show is another great opportunity. Circumventing my gallery and asking for a 50/50 split probably won't have much impact since workshop participants expect a special workshop price. Discussing purchases may be a moot point, no one seems to be buying anyway. And by the end of the workshop, the students will have learned how to duplicate my signature techniques.  In the past, some participants have even said, "I love your work and want to make one for myself." 

My nurturing and giving persona must be gaining attention. Recently, another craft retreat in the mountains offered $500 for a week of teaching. I hear the studios are open 24 hours a day and the view from the studio window looks like a vacation photo. 

After careful reflection on this workshop proposal, and with the utmost admiration for your program, I must decline.  Someday, while continuing to ignore financial realities, I hope that artists and makers will make as much as my babysitter. 

Best Regards,

Domestic Diva with a B.F.A., M.F.A., two children, house, garden, and bills.

P.S. Sorry for the brevity of my response. I need to water the garden, sweep the floor, empty the dishwasher, volunteer for my neighborhood, make dinner, set the table, build Battlebots, and get dressed before my children and their friends arrive. 

This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.


Someday I Want to Be Paid As Much As An Electrician

I Love the Smell of Dykem in the Morning

"I love your work and want to make one for myself"

Why I Can't Justify Ignoring the Copycat


Several previous posts dealt with what to do if someone or some business is copying your work. Among the comments and responses to these posts and related discussions, more than a few artists and makers suggest that they would prefer to ignore the copycat (whether friend or foe) because the situation is too uncomfortable or too unlikely to reach an acceptable outcome.  The "originator" typically justifies ignoring their copycat with a rationale such as "I have moved on" or "I don't care so much about old work" or other similar justification.

I disagree with ignoring the copycat -- although I can also acknowledge the discomfort and uncertainty of outcomes.  But, I can not simply ignore the copycat regardless of the situation for two very fundamental reasons. 

1. Copies affect your income and reputation possibly devaluing both your past and future artwork.

2. Copies may be used in contexts that damage your reputation or trademark.  

Seeing copies of your artwork used in an advertising campaign, printed on t-shirts or sold at an undesirable venue may not be how you want your reputation exploited in public.  Use your imagination.  Would you want your work to represent issues, people, or topics that offend you? In a comment on a previous post by Cindy, "Art and photos may be used to advertise or promote businesses and causes that are in conflict with the artist's beliefs. It makes it appear they are sell outs or hypocrites because not everyone will know it was infringement and not a paid use." 

What if the copy impacts the value of your brand/trademark?  For example "Tiffany and Company sued Costco for the sale of counterfeit TIFFANY diamond engagement rings. "

Here's another example of how a copycat can affect your revenue from Natascha Bybee, Past President of the Seattle Metals Guild and reader of ASK Harriete. "I read an article about an artist being copied. I was very upset on their behalf, but sadly could not remember the name of the company. [Later] I saw "their" product at a craft show in December, but I didn't know if I was dealing with the originator or the copier, so I didn't buy anything and it made me have a more reserved attitude towards their booth. Since I couldn't distinguish between the two artists, I just avoided them altogether and would never recommend them." 

Video clips from Antiques Roadshow show several examples of the negative impact of copycats (shown below) where fakes, copies of the original, or outright forgeries impact the value of all the work attributed to an artist or maker.

Listen to the very end of each video segment to get the triple whammy full impact of how fakes/copycats affect value. Customer confusion is the relevant issue. It doesn't matter if the copy is not of the same quality, or the same patina, or finish, if it causes customer confusion the copy still affects the perceived value for all the work in that genre as buyers doubt the authenticity.

Charles-Loloma-BraceletsAn original receipt for this Charles Laloma Bracelet is considered "as important as the bracelet" because "there are a lot of fakes on the market." Any potential buyer will question every time, "Is this real? Or is it not real?" 


  Fake-George-ohr-VaseFake George Ohr Vase, ca. 2013 is made to deceive "by a person in the northeast who keeps producing them and selling them on the Internet. They appear, they are seen, and they are purchased by people who just don't know."

  Clementine Hunter PaintingsClementine Hunter Paintings, ca. 1980


  Fake-Remmington-Russell-BronzeFake Remington & Russell Bronzes



Let me know in the comments or privately  if you know of other examples. 

More personally, whether you sell your work online, from your studio, or in a gallery, a purchaser expects their purchase to be unique, worth the price, and a consummation of a special relationship with you.  If your customer finds a cheap knockoff elsewhere, they are going to feel ripped off.  The question of authenticity will raise doubts about your work and your reputation.  You may never know how many customers may withhold recommending you and your work to their friends.

What to do if you find a copycat copying your work.

  • Evaluate the situation carefully. Recommendations are in the post What is a Copy. Copycat?
  • If images are posted online, a simple "DMCA Take Down" might force the website to remove the images. This is easy to do and takes about 15 minutes and it is free. 
  • Contact the copier with the Initial Copycat Communication.
  • If the copycat work is shown at a gallery, write to the gallery.
  • Private and confidential will be your initial approach before taking stronger tactics.    

The suggestions in this post aren't guaranteed to work.  The point is that some diligence and effort may protect your work and your reputation by stopping copycats as soon as you become aware of them. Speaking out and addressing this issue is your first step.

Perhaps not every situation demands a full out response, but choosing to automatically ignore a situation can have some very negative consequences.  I believe that the recommended initial actions in these posts do not require extensive effort and have a reasonable chance to stop the copycat at an early stage before much damage is done.   

What do you think?


This post was updated on December 11th, 2021.

Handout for lecture given for the MBMAG

Lecture-Professional-Development-MBMAG-metalsmithsHere is the link to the  HANDOUT Download Handout-for-Monterey-Lecture with resources mentioned during the lecture for MBMAG.  

Listen to a recent
interview on Jay Whaley Blog Talk Radio about the upcoming SNAG Professional Development Seminar "Collector's Collections and You."  

Pot Luck and Hot Topics with MBMAG

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

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


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

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

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


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

You can also submit your topic request in advance (without raising your hand)? Write directly to me at [email protected] or leave a question in the comments. 

Or I can answer your questions anonymously.


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


Visiting SlideShare Offices in San Francisco

  Visting SlideShare 026

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

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

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

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

Visting SlideShare in San Francisco, CA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Promoting YOUR Art or Craft with SlideShare - Adding Audio!

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

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

21 Presentations = 140,726 views of PDS

Purple-Cow-ALL-6-presentations-verticalThree years ago I suggested recording the SNAG Professional Development Seminar at the conference.

The goal?

Share and keep sharing the information with the arts and crafts community beyond the one, live afternoon at the SNAG Conference.

Why share these presentations for free?

Because SNAG is dedicated to education.

Now, after three years and 21 recorded presentations, there have been over 140,000 views.


WOW!  Beyond expectations!

But it wasn't magic that made this happen. Lots of people and organizations made this possible with their hard work.

And special thanks goes to every speaker that allowed us to record their presentation and post it online.

Thank you to SNAG, the NEA, and MJSA for providing funding. Thank you also to Jeweler's Mutual for their sponsored representative  Tina Pint.

Every presentation
can be found online on:

the SNAG website, or
my website
view the presentations directly on Slideshare & YouTube.

Everyone is invited to share this information with their local or national art organizations.


Link to a single presentation or the entire group.


There is also an embed code for your website or blog (with appropriate links and attributions.)   



Please contact me directly through my website, Facebook, Google + if you need help or information.

The Professional Development Seminar was organized
over the past 10 years by Don Friedlich, Andy Cooperman, Brigitte Martin and myself, Harriete Estel Berman.


Contact Brigitte Martin or myself for suggestions of future topics.


Photography-In-Flux-Niche-Marketing-VerticalP.S. Just ask for the link to a specific presentation, an image or the embed code.


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

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

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

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

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




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

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


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

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






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


Talent is OverratedBOOK:  Talent is Overrated  by Geoff Colvin






Outliers by Malcolm GladwellBOOK:  Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell






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





Polymer Art Archive


ASK Harriete

PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES for the artists and crafts community

ImaginecreativityBOOK:  IMAGINE: How Creativity Works  by Jonah Lehrer

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

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


CREATIVEcommonsWEBSITE: Creative Commons Licenses 


UStrademarkOFFICEWEBSITE: U.S. Trademark and Patent Office

Combination3 Links

ORIGINAL DRAWINGS for the lecture by Aryn Shelander 

TRUST COLOR drawing by Aryn Shelander5




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

Related articles:

The White Tent's Credibility - Context Does Matter

The previous post The White Tent or the White Wall raises an interesting question. Is the value of art or craft defined by the context?

Here is one answer from an article in The Washington Post titled "Pearls Before Breakfast".

"MARK LEITHAUSER HAS HELD IN HIS HANDS MORE GREAT WORKS OF ART THAN ANY KING OR POPE OR MEDICI EVER DID. A senior curator at the National Gallery, he oversees the framing of the paintings. Leithauser thinks he has some idea of what happened at that Metro station. [Watch this video of Joshua Bell at the D.C. subway station if you missed the previous post.]

ELLSWORTHkelly-tiger-53"Let's say I took one of our more abstract masterpieces, say an Ellsworth Kelly, and removed it from its frame, marched it down the 52 steps that people walk up to get to the National Gallery, past the giant columns, and brought it into a restaurant. It's a $5 million painting. And it's one of those restaurants where there are pieces of original art for sale, by some industrious kids from the Corcoran School, and I hang that Kelly on the wall with a price tag of $150. No one is going to notice it. An art curator might look up and say: 'Hey, that looks a little like an Ellsworth Kelly. Please pass the salt.'"

"Leithauser's point is that we shouldn't be too ready to label the Metro passersby unsophisticated boobs. Context matters." end quote.

To go back to our craft fair White Tent:
With rare exceptions, the white tent at a craft fair does not add credibility any more than a subway or a restaurant.  The much hoped-for "value" context is lacking.

What is the impact of this lack of credibility?
I have been thinking about this for years, but now, re-examining the white tent in this series of posts has forced me to voice a very brutal reality -- if context matters, then we makers may have devalued our work by exhibiting at craft fairs, possibly to a point that it may never recover. The context of the craft fair has devalued craft media, regardless of quality. 

This isn't going to be a popular observation. I hear outrage....and hostility. My comment is not meant to devalue the art or craft work, nor make a judgment about quality.  I am describing the context . . . that the context of craft fairs has devolved into a branding gimmick for consumer audiences seeking to buy low-priced items.  Consequently, our handcrafted, thoughtful, unique objects are compared to mass-produced, low-priced goods.  This diminishes the perceived value and credibility of our work.

This issue has been compounded in recent years by the hard economic times. In sincere attempts to gain visibility and retail sales, makers are making less expensive items to sell work at lower price points. Two-dimensional artists are selling computer-generated prints and canvases using commercial reproduction processes to look like original paintings.  Likewise, three-dimensional makers shift their efforts to fabricate what sells.  Many decide to show only lower-priced items further reducing limited booth space dedicated to more unique expensive selections.

The consumer public is coming to craft fairs expecting "deals from starving artists" and prices comparable to cheap imported goods.  Craft fairs increasingly feature hobbyists who often price their inventory merely hoping to recover their material costs. Second careers and retirees may have "fun" making and selling but often seem to have less concern about making a living.

In an effort to increase interest in craft and raise attendance, the craft fair has pandered to the mass consumer market.  This is a huge mistake.

It is rare to find the discerning buyer or collector coming to a craft fair to buy the best from a maker or artist.  Most of the time the maker's or artist's "best" is not brought to the craft fair. Only a few craft fairs nationwide have been able to maintain the reputation of their event as a premium show. The rest are slowly diminishing in credibility.

Even established juried fairs are having difficulty filling show booths with top-quality makers. Top makers and artists are becoming less willing to invest three days in an exhausting, costly, and demoralizing event for people who come "just to look." More evidence that the context of the white tent is diminishing in value even to the makers themselves.

So sorry to say all this. I don't like to say negative comments without offering some recommendations....but it seems disingenuous to cheer "rah, rah, rah" and "sell, sell, sell" when the context at the white tent craft fair is losing value.

Is it possible to raise the status of the white tent, to change its context?  Or should we spend our time and effort in more productive channels to obtain the right kind of exposure and context necessary to sell our work?

Let's keep examining the issues. I have more thoughts.

Increasing quantity diminishing valuea
Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value
Post-consumer recycled tin cans, and copper.
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
7" height x 8" width to 2" (at narrow end) x 58.5" length
Close-up images are below.
Increasing Quantity, Diminishing  Value by Harriete Estel Berman
Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value
(close-up view)

Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value (close-up view) by Harriete Estel Berman 2side
Increasing Quantity, Diminishing Value (close-up view) 

This post was updated on June 17, 2022, to provide current links.

The White Tent or the White Wall.

KingsMountainArtFair2. Harriete Estel Berman at the S. F. Museum of Modern Art

SF Museum of Modern Art          King's Mountain Art Fair      

As mentioned in the previous post, on Labor Day Weekend I went to both SFMOMA and the King's Mountain Art Fair. Each of these venues offers a sanctuary for creative expression, a haven, a quiet experience to look at art, and a wonderfully tranquil environment.

Cathedral of Redwood Trees.The King's Mountain Art Fair takes place in a natural cathedral of redwoods.   In contrast, the  San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a modern building designed for and dedicated to the arts. Both venues are "destinations." San_francisco_museum_modern_art_am030309_1Everyone attending these venues immerses themselves in the surroundings, taking time to look and to see what there is to see. By being there, they are supporting the arts.

Both locations offered visibility for the artists, but I kept wondering ....what difference is there between the white tent of the fair and the white wall of the museum.

Alison Antelman White Booth inside viewThe artists in the white tents are reaching for visibility, credibility, collectors, and retail sales.  But the artists at the museum are visible, credible, collected, and purchased.

Was there any artwork or craft at the King's Mountain Art Fair with a future on the white walls of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
(or any museum)?

What would I think about the art in SFMOMA if it were hanging on a white booth at Kings Mountain Art Fair?

In the video below, Joshua Bell played Bach in the District of Columbia subway during rush hour. A few people stopped and watched this world-class musician "playing exquisite violin piece on one of the world's most expensive violins." Mostly he was ignored, earning a reported $32.17.

The point? Without the credibility established by a concert hall, the metaphorical white wall, he was just another artist seeking visibility with no credibility.  A quote from the article from Joshua Bell, "When you play for ticket-holders," Bell explains, "you are already validated. I have no sense that I need to be accepted. I'm already accepted. Here,[in a subway station] there was this thought: What if they don't like me? What if they resent my presence . . ."

The primary issue in the art world and in this post is that the white wall of the museum establishes credibility.

Would I recognize work at a craft fair that deserved to be validated by the white wall of the museum?

How apparent is it that a painting, drawing, print, or photograph belongs only at a craft fair?

What aspects or factors of an artwork (of any media) cause it to belong in a museum?

Do you (the readers of ASK Harriete) ever walk through an art/craft fair or SOFA, and ask this question?

In the meantime, do you have an opinion you'd like to share?

Alison Antelman Booth Inside.
Booth Shot of Alison Antelman's Booth.

This post was updated on June 17, 2022.


Ordinary, Extraordinary & Future of Craft

This Labor Day weekend I went to the King's Mountain Art Fair and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  The two venues provided both striking contrasts and similarities -- which raised questions that continue to reverberate in my brain.  The ordinary and the extraordinary coexist in both.  The absolute natural setting of an amazing redwood grove versus the man-made, credentialed establishment of a modern museum. 

Can you see the similarities and differences?

Kings Mountain Art Fair.

What issues do these photos raise?
The issues are varied and complex:

Is there a future for craft beyond D.I.Y.?

What is the economical model we are looking at here?

Can craft media makers make a viable living in craft media?

Can craft makers hope to achieve more than break-even? What is break-even?

Does selling at craft fairs reach your objectives?

Is there a future for craft fairs?

What is happening to the Galleries that sell craft media?

Will there ever be a craft media superstar?

Is it a bunch of baloney to say that making a living from craft is possible?

Does "handmade" have value anymore?

Should consumers pay what it costs makers to make?  

Can consumers be educated about why our work costs so much? Does it really matter?

In the next few posts, I intend to examine, discuss, and debate these issues.  Send comments and let me know your opinions, questions, and insights.


This post was updated on June 17, 2022.


Shipping Comparisons: Shipping Cost & Insurance with Common Carriers

Have you ever wondered which shipping company is best for shipping your work to an exhibition?

SNAG Professional Development SeminarPds_logo300For the SNAG Professional Development Seminar, Loring Taoka prepared a short presentation and an essential handout for comparing shipping costs. Download PDSShippingCostComparisonsLoring


For a shipping price comparison:

There are three different boxes.

Three different insurance values.

All boxes were estimated for shipping from Seattle, WA to Pittsburgh, PA.


Download the Shipping Comparisons handout.

Watch the presentation below.

Note: Shipping cost is not the only issue. Careful handling and availability of shipping insurance are also important considerations.  

Not all carriers offer insurance to the full value of the item (which is really misleading and irritating).  

Careful handling during shipping is important.  It is my professional opinion that UPS should only be used for production work where the objects shipped are replaceable. I do NOT recommend using UPS for shipping one-of-a-kind exhibition work.

USPS "Registered Insured" offers the best handling and full insurance.  This is my recommendation for all shipping.  Registered Insured is the least expensive option if the insurance value is over $1,000. It has the added protection of being a federal offense to tamper with USPS mail.



Related topics about shipping art or craft: HORROR STORIES: Packing & Shipping Recommendations for ARTISTS


Shipping Planning vs. Sh*t Happening

Shipping Boxes for Art or Craft Should Include Instructions


Boxes for shipping Art and Craft




Claims for Damaged Art or Craft in the Professional Guidelines


Claims for Damaged Work

Condition Report from the Professional Guidelines

DAMN! Damaged boxes! Claims for Damaged Work.

Preservation, Conservation - Design for Repair

This post was updated on April 2, 2022, to provide current links.

Professional Practices with Andy Cooperman and Harriete Estel Berman

Harriete  Estel Berman Andy CoopermanThe Academy of Art in San Francisco presented a program about professional development with Andy Cooperman and me (Harriete Estel Berman).  The program was co-sponsored by the S.F Metals Arts Guild.

Harriete Estel Berman talking with audience members after professional development programramWartThe program revolved around a discussion about survival as an artist and maker. The entire program was an hour and a half. It started with Andy Cooperman's 45-minute lecture about his work and recommendations for surviving as an artist and maker.


Then an 8-minute lecture about my work continued with additional resources for artists and makers.  Then Andy and I responded to Q & A with the audience. Here is the handout with links to the Resources and the articles mentioned.  Download HANDOUT 


This post was updated on March 17, 2022, to provide current links.


There is Still Time & Space to Prepare for Success

Are you looking for direction on your path to success?

Where do you want your work to go? What insights would you like to gain from my 30+ years of experience?  

Is your work consistent with your marketing? Are your images good enough to get you free publicity? Are your short-term and long-term goals an effective compass for success?

On April 28 & 29th, I taught a professional development workshop
at Revere Academy as part of their Masters Symposium in San Francisco, CA.

This is one of many workshops I have taught on this topic, but as times have changed, in so many ways they stay the same.  

One fact I can share that is still true and relevant. You must have a website.  Social media, and fabulous photography are only a beginning.

A website is more important than ever. 

Prepare for Success

Map of San FranciscoInternet Option
If you can't travel to San Francisco, Revere Academy is offering online participation at the amazing price of $79. It would be nice to see you in person, but if you need to stay at home while juggling the rest of your life, this is a way to listen in on your computer.

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Me on Pinterest
Here are some suggestions for topics:

Professional Development resources

Your 20 second commercial

Guidelines for a critique group

Identify your business model.

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

Pricing and fabrication methods.
   Pricing Structure
   Falcher Fusager’s Pricing Formula (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]

Professional Development Information - Live, Online, and In Person

Yikes"Pencil in" professional development to boost your career with free information.  Two opportunities, the first, an ONLINE interview, and the second, an in-person discussion in SAN FRANCISCO.

Andy Cooperman, Harriete Estel Berman, and Brigitte Martin in conversation took place on Thursday, April 5th, on ‘Metalsmith BenchTalk on BlogTalkRadio’ with Jay Whaley.
Audience members can listen to the archived podcast.

San Francisco
PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES: Questions and Commentary with Andy Cooperman and Harriete Estel Berman  
Monday, April 16, 2011.
(More information below.)


The details:

BlogtalkradioONLINE podcast with Cooperman,  Brigitte Martin, and me, Harriete Estel Berman as we open pandora's box of shipping problems and solutions. Originally broadcast on Thursday, April 5th we discuss the upcoming shipping topic for the Professional Development Seminar that will be held during the SNAG Conference.




SNAGlogoThe 2011 SNAG Professional Development Seminar program can be viewed online at any time. The original PPT slides with audio as presented at the 2010 Conference have had over 22,000 views! The program from 2010 has had nearly 10,000 views.! Find the podcasts and handouts with presentations on the SNAG website.


Professional Practices in San Francisco
GuestArtistSeries2012v2.72Professional Practices with Andy Cooperman and Harriete Estel Berman included a short presentation by Andy and myself. Then we will jump right into questions and answers by asking each other a couple of tough questions about the "road to success".

This event occurred on Monday, April 16th at the Academy of Art University
sponsored by the Academy of Art and the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild. 

This program was videotaped and will be available as a video presentation check back, and I will let you know how to find it.


This post was updated on March 12, 2022.

FACEBOOK Personal Profile goes Professional on KICKSTARTER

My experience using KICKSTARTER to finance a future video continues to be a revelation on many levels. The learning curve is demanding.

At the time that I wrote this post, one KICKSTARTER requirement is that you MUST link to your Facebook personal profile, not your business page. Yes, indeed, your Facebook Personal Profile is now professional as well. Keeping up with Internet technologies is always a challenge. 


This is what KICKSTARTER says:

"If you're a creator, it's a great way to let backers know a little bit more about you. It doesn't mean you have to accept random friend requests or make your entire profile public, but it's an easy way to show backers you're a real person. You can also adjust the privacy settings of your Facebook account to better control what new visitors see."

FACEBOOKprofileYour Facebook personal profile needs to be managed
as if you were cautioning your teenage son or daughter about what to post online. Everything seems to be moving to a level of transparency in the Internet community. Control of your privacy starts with what you post. And Facebook is never particularly private despite "privacy settings."

Recently, I heard that employers are asking for Facebook profile passwords. In other words, they want to "see all" about their prospective employees. While of course, you could say "no," if you wanted a job in this tough economy, wouldn't you say "yes?"

FacebookMy decision long ago was to keep my Facebook personal profile as a professional page. Everything posted on my Facebook is what I want everyone to see because privacy on the Internet is non-existent. 

Facebook is a great tool,      I participate on many platforms as a tool, but I make decisions about who to "friend."  I no longer accept anyone as a "friend" if they don't make art or craft or participate in the arts and crafts in some way. 


This post was updated on February 27, 2023 

Plant a Seed, Nurture Ideas, Time to Prepare for Blooms and Fruit

Pomegranate_TreeBefore starting the actual construction of a piece for an exhibition, I usually read, study, and research background of the topic or theme.  This prepares me for the intensive hours, days, weeks to months creating exhibition work -- in this example, a special Seder plate about planting, growth, nurturing, and realizing the fruits of our labor.

PomegranateThe theme for a past exhibition was Tu BishVat (a lesser-known Jewish holiday) celebrating the birthday of trees. This had me thinking about fruit trees as a metaphor for artists and makers.

There is a Biblical recommendation that newly planted fruit trees should not be harvested before the 5th year.  Thus Tu Bishvat is sometimes called the birthday for trees since this holiday is used as a demarcation for the passing of each year, a very practical recommendation for the future health and productivity of the tree.

If the tree is nurtured for five years before harvesting the fruit, all of the energy and dedication of the caretaker will be realized in the long-term health of the tree.  When the mature tree produces fruit for harvest, it will be more "fruitful" for many years. 

HB Seder Detail1pomegranatetreeThis is a perfect metaphor for budding artists and how they should nurture their creative output.

Artists and makers should take this to heart... I am really serious about this point.

I am concerned especially for emerging artists (of all ages) who expect their early creative pursuits to bear immediate fruit in both money and critical acclaim. A premature expectation for visibility and sales too often influences what is made and how it is made.  I hope they learn to overcome these common mistakes:

1.) Shallow roots. Demands from the marketplace can distract artists and makers from developing substantive skills and meaningful ideas. Sustained personal development produces the best fruit. 

2.) Grafting onto others. It is easy to take other people's ideas, styles, and techniques.  But copying what's been done before never develops the individual voice within each of us.

3.) Premature Harvest - Spending too much time promoting initial work instead of developing and producing more thoughtful, more meaningful work.  I am all for selling, but spending time trying to promote and sell premature work damages the long-term reputation of emerging artists and drains potential energy from more meaningful development and creativity.

I know my words are pointed.  I don't usually say "should", but in this case, it is warranted.

Trying to harvest fruit too early damages the core of creativity and dilutes the energy of individuals who could benefit from experiencing growth over a period of time.  Learning from experience and consciously seeking to improve quality should take precedence over immediate gratification.  Higher quality work may take a few years, but once established, it can be productively sustained for a longer period.


This post was updated on February 27, 2023.



How This Article in "American Craft" Came to Be.

Amercan Craft  Article  about Harriete Estel Berman sculpture from pencils about the impact of standardized tests on education

When I see something amazing happen for a fellow artist or maker, I wonder how it happened or what they did to make that happen.  Do you wonder the same thing?

Recently, my work was featured in American Craft Magazine -- two pages in the Craft in Action section about Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin. While there was an increment of good fortune, it was years of making, along with taking everyday actions that readers of ASK Harriete could implement for greater visibility for their work.

In this case, a quote of Louis Pasteur comes to mind, "Chance favors only the prepared mind."

Since I knew that this project was going to take several years, I started a page on my website very early in the project to document each stage.

Harriete Estel Berman web site about Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin

The website was updated frequently with pictures of work in progress.

Harriete Estel Berman drilling pencils for pencil sculpturecril Harrietedrilling

I also posted a link to this page on the home page of my website (shown below). The link was an eye-catching yellow of #2 pencils.

Harriete Estel Berman web site

While there are no guarantees for anything in life, the article in American Craft came about in part because of the ongoing four years of communicating each milestone of the project.  I took the time to give the project visibility on my website.

It seems Julie K. Hanus, Senior Editor of American Craft Magazine, is like many editors who "troll" the web for ideas, information, and new work whenever they have a chance. I heard the same comment from Marthe Le Van, Editor at Lark Books in the presentation she gave during the Professional Development Seminar.

The lesson learned here is that your website is a window to the world for people to see your work. While I use many other social networking platforms....your website is paramount.  Even though I would wonder how many people were looking at my website, all the work that I put into my website did matter after all!

Pencil  Point in pencil sculpture by Harriete Estel Berman

The article in American Craft happened because of hard work and my website!

Harriete sharpening pencils  for sculpture about educationr

My words of wisdom to everyone is that YOUR WEBSITE IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE TOOL to promote your work.

Learn how to update and maintain your website.

Update your website regularly.


This post was updated on February 16, 2022, to provide current links.


"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.

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.

Networking, Forging Communities, Connections, Opportunities


  Here I am as the "Applause  Lady" at a
  SNAG Conference. I don't normally
 dress like this, but it was fun.

Though I love the virtual world, there will never be a substitute for going to a symposium, meeting people in person, or listening to a lecture live. A serendipitous moment can change your professional future. It has happened to me time and time again. Make it happen for yourself.

With this in mind, here is information about a symposium in the S.F. Bay Area that took place on November 12, 2011, followed by links and brief information about the speakers. This symposium was titled "Forging Communities - An Intimate One-Day Symposium" and was sponsored by the Metal Arts Guild of San Francisco. I was one of the speakers.



Symposiumflyer_1000WEBForging Communities  An Intimate One-Day Symposium 
November 12, 2011 
Sponsored by the Metal Arts Guild of San Francisco

Metal Rising: The Forming of the Metal Arts Guild, San Francisco, California, 1929-1964 presented by Jennifer Shaifer followed by a conversation with Imogene Tex Gieling, merry renk, Florence Resnikov (founding members of MAG).

What does Success Look Like in the Jewelry World? with Sarah Turner, Brigitte Martin, Lola Brooks, Sienna Patti.

Professional Practices: Conversation, Questions, & Commentary with me, Harriete Estel Berman.  Tara Brannigan covered the symposium live via Twitter.

The Maker Faire Phenomenon – Engaging Community and the Next Generation of Makers with Dale Dougherty (Founder of Make: Magazine and Maker Faire).

The Extreme Craft Roadshow presented by Garth Johnson

This post was updated on February 11, 2022.




Is it fruitless to even think of creating something fast to get into a show?

A reader of ASK Harriete asks:

Is it fruitless to even think of creating something fast to get into a show?  My fine art pieces also take me a long time (months and months). 

3M & m Candy Dispenser by Harriete Estel Berman.72jpg The short answer is that it depends on the show and your situation. While I generally recommend to make great work and then find a show... there are occasions for which a smaller piece may fit both your long-term goals and the near-term exhibition theme.  For example, I created the 3M & m Candy Dispenser (right images) for such a situation.

A few weeks or a couple of months' notice to make a piece for an exhibition isn't much time,
but yes, sometimes the opportunity presented is worth a grueling crush to complete.

3 M & m Candy Dispenser back viewck-72
   3M & m Candy Dispenser © 2005
   Constructed for an exhibition based on
   using 3M products.
   Recycled tin cans, candy dispenser,
   candy, brass
   Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
   Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Here are my main criteria for deciding whether to participate in a show on short notice:

  • Does the exhibition include insurance?
  • Is this a quality exhibition space with an established reputation either locally or nationally?
  • Will the work be handled by professional art handlers?

  • Will the exhibition sponsor generate good visibility for the show with an audience that would appreciate my type of work?
    • Do I have a good/interesting idea for the exhibition theme?

    • Is the exhibition sponsor (or curator) a place (or person) that I would like to develop a working relationship with for the future?

    • Do I want to support the theme or organization sponsoring the exhibition?


  • MOST IMPORTANT: Do I have enough time to make an excellent example of my work including skillful execution and a thoughtful concept?

Below are more examples of work made for a special exhibition and why I made it.
Butterfly by Harriete Estel Berman

Butterfly close up view by Harriete Estel Bermantl
“Butterfly” by Harriete Estel Berman

This is my butterfly for the exhibition “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” at the Holocaust Museum in Houston. If you look closely, you can see the children playing. The Holocaust Museum Houston was collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies in an effort to remember the loss of children during the Holocaust. The butterflies will eventually comprise a breath-taking exhibition, currently scheduled for Spring 2012, for all to remember.

I decided to participate in this exhibition for three reasons:

  • The theme expressed a poignant resonance.
  • I had the perfect tin to execute my butterfly idea.
  • The project was small. I could make an exquisite butterfly in a week.

CERF Converse Shoe by Harriete Estel Berman

CERF  Converse style shoe by Harriete Estel BermanshoeLEFT

CERF Converse Shoe by Harriete Estel Berman TOP
CERF Shoe by Harriete Estel Berman
St. silver rivets and eyelets, electrical wire shoelaces, tool dip.
1.15 “height  x  3.5 “ width x 3.5 “ depth (including shoe laces)

My shoe is constructed from recycled tin cans from KIWI Shoe Polish and other tin cans. This shoe was made for CERF (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) as part of their raffle that was shown at SOFA Chicago 2009. CERF helps artists with financial emergencies.

I decided to participate in this exhibition for three reasons:

  • CERF is an organization that helps artists.
  • The raffle for the collection of shoes gets great visibility at SOFA, Chicago, and mail distribution of their postcard.
  • Their raffle method does not devalue my work (like most fund-raising auctions.)

Children Are Not Bulletproof by Harriete Estel Berman
Children are not Bulletproof  
© 2000    Harriete Estel Berman
Two pins and three wall mount elements constructed primarily from recycled tin cans; brass, 14k. gold-filled wire, vintage plastic, red satin ribbon.                          
64.25” height installed (Ribbon length rests on the floor)   x   4” width   x   2.25” depth

Two pins and three wall mounts were exhibited and sold as one unit.
Children are not Bulletproof is available for purchase or exhibition.
Close-up view below.

Children Are Not Bulletproof by Harriete Estel Berman_closeUP.nobackground72
Children are not Bulletproof  © 2000 Harriete Estel Berman

This was originally constructed for a political badges show at Helen Drutt Gallery.
I decided to participate in this exhibition for three reasons:

  • Helen Drutt asked me to participate. (It is hard to say "no" to people you respect or admire.)
  • Helen Drutt Gallery usually managed to get great visibility for many of her shows.
  • I thought that I could make a good piece within the three-month advance notice.

These were just a few examples. When there is an invitation or a juried opportunity, you have to weigh the pros and cons for each show, and then decide for yourself.

I have one more post in this series coming up... How Do You Find Exhibition Opportunities for Finished Work?

Do you have any more questions about this topic? Let me know.


This post was updated on February 9, 2022.

Children are not Bulletproof                                                             © 2000    Harriete Estel Berman

Two pins and three wall mount elements constructed primarily from recycled tin cans (pre-existing scratches and marks may be present); brass, 14k. gold-filled wire, vintage plastic, red satin ribbon.


64.25” height installed (Ribbon length rests on the floor)   x   4” width   x   2.25” depth

Two pins and three wall mounts sold as one unit.  Pieces may not be sold separately.     

NICHE MARKETING - 3 Presentations Offer Great Information

The Professional Development Seminar from the 2011 SNAG Conference was recorded and is available for listening and viewing!

Now you can see the same presentations and hear what our niche marketing experts had to say.  I enjoyed the real-time events but learned even more when I was editing the audio....and I think you will too! Here are a few highlights, (then scroll down for the presentation with audio).


Alexander Girard mid-20th century
dolls sold to adults were a stylistic
influence on Hilary Pfeiffer new line
of wedding toppers.
Photo from H.Pfeifer PowerPoint.

Our first speaker, Hilary Pfeifer, describes her "Bunny with a Tool Belt" line that keeps her going in this tough economy.

HPelephant Hilary explains that her childhood interests evolved into her wedding cake toppers sold on Etsy (left photos). She says these are among the few things that people keep and display in their homes after the wedding. Every one of her wedding cake toppers delights...check out success by looking at Bunny with a ToolBelt!


Next up, the Professional Development Seminar continues with emiko oye EMIKOWatch the presentation and take notes. No matter what your medium or style, emiko offers solid information that translates to success from gallery exhibitions to Etsy.

 Model  holding  bracelets made from Legos
emiko's TOP five tips
for Getting Your Business Out There!

1. Professional Quality Photography
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP for getting exposure for your business. First impressions are everything so why not wow people's socks off from the get-go!

Emiko oye lego necklace 2. Take Risks Don't Get STUCK: Balance
Even though you may sell a ton of one design in one style, don't get stuck just putting all your focus on making the same thing over and over. 

Emiko Oye exhibition necklace from Legos necklace Balance: I'm a staunch believer in making important exhibition pieces (right images) as well as production, ready-to-wear. The exhibition work definitely helps sell the production work and gives broader exposure.

Ermikooyetireearrings 3. Take Note & Be Accessible
Pay attention to how people respond to your work, feedback helps define your niche market. Be Accessible: means have a web presence. As I've said in my lecture, "If you aren't online, you don't exist". Get involved in social media with Facebook, Twitter, and  Crafthaus.

Emiko Oye jewelry on a model
  All jewelry (above right) by emiko oye
  from repuprosed LEGOS
  The Tire Earrings are included in new
  Lark book 21st Century Jewelry

4. Be Ready Set Go!
When opportunity strikes, you must be ready with line sheets, images, bios, and artist statements. Flickr and your website are great for being ready for the press.

5. Get Involved.
While we love to hole ourselves up in the studio and make to our heart's content, it's important to get involved in your community, local, & national arts organizations.



Our third Niche Marketing speaker, Deb Stoner, has a multi-prong approach to support herself which includes teaching workshops onStonermhbc#1-1992 eyeglass fabrication, custom designing, and fabrication for Donna Karan, along with her jewelry & photography. She keeps it fresh by being open to opportunities. Read the Handout Deb created for the PDS about Niche Marketing.  Download DebStoner_Final




The Professional Development Seminar was organized by Andy Cooperman, Brigitte Martin, and myself, Harriete Estel Berman. We had a strong program brimming with information and over 500 attendees but the Internet offers the opportunity to share this programming with a much larger audience.
ASKHarrietePinkBlack Please feel empowered to share this YouTube presentation or post on ASK Harriete with your fellow artists and makers (with proper attribution, of course).  
Our sponsors include the NEA, National Endowment for the Arts, MJSA, and SNAG.  Stay tuned for more presentations with audio from our PDS programming.
This post was updated on February 8, 2022.
ASK Harriete Pin for Harriete Estel Bermanerr

A Vision Beyond the Moment?

In July 2011, I was interviewed for an online e-commerce site called e-junkies. The website is no longer up but they had lots of practical and interesting information about e-commerce, trendy products, small business, and self-publishing. 


When I posted a link to the interview on Facebook, Alison Antelman commented, "This is a quote that I really like (from the interview), 'There needs to be a vision beyond the moment.' Well said!"

Password72 Do you have a vision beyond the moment?
Are you thinking beyond the making?

   Password Flower Brooch with glasses
   Post Consumer recycled tin cans
   Harriete Estel Berman  © 2011
   Diameter 3 1/8"
   Retail Price $425.


We makers typically love "making" so much that it is easy to forget the most important tool is our brains.  This is why the current knitting mania is driving me nuts ..... especially when justified with little excuses....the "pleasure" derived from the absence of thought and quips such as, "I can knit without thinking." blah, blah, blah.


ELIZABETHhOWARDThis post was prompted by a recent quote in the ACC series, Why I Make (which explores the human impulse to create).  Elizabeth Howard wrote, "When I switch on my knitting hands, I can take time off from the thoughts in my head.  Knitting - usually done haphazardly, without a clue what BOs and yos are - releases me from having to tune in (at that moment) to that always-chugging creative engine." 

My jaw dropped. This may appeal to a hobby audience, but I couldn't believe that this rationale appeared in an ACC publication. 

THE 'gOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLEY I don't want to paint knitting as the "bad guy," but this overt joy of mental separation from the making that is sweeping the craft world is just one example.  Other parallels are everywhere...IN ALL MEDIA whether working at the potter's wheel, weaving a basket, sanding wood, mixing a glaze, making handmade chains.  


  Page from Manufractured © 2009
  Recycled tin cans, steel dollhouses
  Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
   Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

It is fine if you just want to make, but many makers also want to see their work in exhibitions, shows, and books.  And that is the key, this higher level of recognition requires constant, active, thoughtful inspiration, not just aspiration.  

41+veDJYNuL._SL160_ If you enjoy sitting there happy as a clam because you are making, that is OK.   But without thought, the finished work will indeed have no vision....and I assure you....any editor, publisher, or exhibition jury will look at the work and see that it had no vision.

Here are a couple of suggestions for a "thinking while making:"


  • Plan the display of the work early. Anticipate success.
  • Construct the work so that it can be repaired if damaged.
  • Write down thoughts for your artist statement.
  • Keep the main objective for the work forefront in your mind
  • Experiment and take risks. Challenge yourself beyond "safe" work.
  • Think about the photo early while you make the work.*

My sincerest unapologetic opinion,


* The recent Professional Development Seminar at the 2011 SNAG Conference, photographer Roger Schreiber recommended that artists and makers think about the photographic documentation of their work sooner. This is especially important for fabulous photos. You can see a "preview" of the PowerPoint and audio of the Professional Development Seminar. (I am still fine-tuning the slide image transitions.) Your feedback is most welcome.

M2L_YellowFlowerScroll72. askH M2L_YellowFlowerScroll_bkah

Yellow Flower Scroll Doorpost Mezuzah
Dimensions: 7.25” length

This post was updated on February 8, 2022.

Forging Communities - An Intimate One Day Symposium for Networking and Information

The Metal Arts Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area is sponsoring a one-day symposium in November 2011 titled: Forging Communities.Symposiumflyer1


   NETWORK and meet new people,
   LISTEN to thought-provoking lectures,
   LEARN new ideas,
   SEE work that surprises and inspires.


Forging Communities has arranged
an amazing lineup of speakers.

The program starts with a bit of history with
Metal Rising.  Jennifer Shaifer studied the historical roots of the Metal Arts Guild for her doctorate! She will reveal the impetus behind the formation of the Guild, the work of its pioneering members, and the legacy of MAG in the American Modern studio jewelry movement. Jennifer is full of energy.  I know this will be an entertaining lecture.......definitely not a boring history lesson. This will be followed by a discussion with the founding members of MAG.

Then time travel into a roundtable  with Sarah Turner of Cranbrook Academy of Art, Sienna Patti of Sienna Gallery, Brigitte Martin of Crafthaus, and artist Lola Brooks as they discuss:
"What Does Success Look Like in the Jewelry World?"


Starting the afternoon:
Professional Practices: Conversation, Questions, and Commentary
with Andy Cooperman and myself, Harriete Estel Berman. This dynamic duo is ready and waiting for questions from the audience. Anything goes!!!!

The Maker Faire Phenomenon with the founder of MAKE Magazine and Maker Faire, Dale Dougherty.

The Extreme Craft Roadshow with Garth Johnson, founder of Extreme Craft, educator, and author.

This one-day symposium at the Oakland Museum of California is geared to the metals, jewelry, and maker communities. Lunch will be provided onsite.
Save the Date! 11-12-11
November 12, 2011

I will be there, and hope you will be there too!
Let's get together now and forge communities


Make your own name tag.  I am making five more so I have one in every color for every outfit.

This post was updated on February 5, 2022.


Promoting YOUR Art or Craft with SlideShare - Adding Audio!

 Jump right in
I am TERRIBLE about reading instructions.

I usually just jump right in, then sink or swim.  

The point is that there are many ways to learn.  Whatever works for you, one way or another, it isn't difficult to learn how to create really great SlideShare presentations with audio.

 Below is a presentation (found on SlideShare) with step-by-step instructions of what we have been covering on ASK Harriete in the three previous posts.

Here is what works for me.  Audacity is rather self-explanatory so I never read any instructions....or listened to any presentations, but perhaps it would be advisable.  Take advantage of the free software download to make your audio recording.

WriteYourselfascript My first step when adding audio is to write a script. While it is not necessary to read every word exactly, a script improves your recording significantly and eliminates a lot of editing. A script saves time!

Next, modify the PowerPoint (on your computer) to fit your script. I play my audio recording while I watch my PowerPoint. Testing on your computer saves time.

Are you ready?

Check  Quality images

 Check Great Recording

Check  Interesting content 


The final steps are 1, 2, 3:

1. Upload your PowerPoint to SlideShare
2. Upload your audio MP3 file to SlideShare
3. Synchronize the advancement of images with audio. This is very easy to do.

Are you ready to jump inSlideShare is a great site for creating professional quality presentations about your art or craft.

For example, I recommended that my daughter upload her portfolio and talk about her design objectives as a SlideShare presentation. What an easy way to have an online link for your resume as a new graduate on a job hunt.

 It's summer! Are you ready to jump into new ways to share your work with a larger audience? 


Just in is a review of the final steps to create your own audio recording.

FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS found here for a podcast tutorial.
Download the audio software. You are almost ready.

The final download is Lame MP3 Encoder. This information is further down on the same page.  See the image below.


AFTER you download both Audacity and LAME MP3 Encoder, you are ready to start recording with your headset/microphone.


It takes some trial and error to become proficient. The image above is what the Audacity editing software looks like on my computer. As you record, you will see the recording as the squiggly blue line.

With a little practice, you start identifying what words look like.  I am editing the Professional Development Seminar recording from the Seattle SNAG Conference.

It is interesting that you can start to see "uhmmmmmsss", "Ahhhhsss", and "annnnddddssss". They are called "audible pauses" and your recording will sound a lot better by editing out audible pauses, stutters, and external noises (like a cough).

This post was updated on February 5, 2022.

KISS ("keep it simple stupid") Presentations to Promote Your Art and Craft

A great SlideShare about your art or craft starts with a great PowerPoint!

PLAN IN ADVANCE to make your PowerPoint presentation amazing!

WHY are you making a presentation!  (Who is the intended audience and what message do you wish to convey?)



Do you want to share your work?


Copy of greeneyeonly

Do you want INVITATIONS for workshops or lectures?

Cutcard Considering that people may be watching your presentation on a variety of monitors.... some the size of a playing card, keep your text and graphics simple.....hence KISS "keep it simple stupid".


Find PowerPoint or Keynote on your computer, open it!~


The next post on ASK Harriete is about adding audio to your SlideShare.


If you don't know how to use PowerPoint, a final tutorial is below. It's a little dry, but it offers a good beginning. One more hint: if you are planning to UPLOAD your presentation to SlideShare, do not add animations or fancy slide transitions....they don't work on SlideShare.  

  • K-I-S-S is an expression often used in engineering and science to remind practitioners to avoid excessive complexity.  It derives from a principle known as Occam's Razor

This post was updated on February 4, 2022.

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

SlideShare is a great way to promote your art or craft.  The free online service provides easily accessible usage information such as the number of views on each of your SlideShare presentations.  You can allow viewers to download your presentation or opt-out.

I'd say you have nothing to lose, and much to gain! It is a great way to create a short lecture about your work, or insight into your special technique.

SlideShare is a FREE site for the basic service and this has worked quite well for me to experiment and build my skills with this new marketing tool. There is also a fee-based SlideShare if you want more information on traffic analytics.

Almost everyone’s computer comes with Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote. It is pretty easy to get started. All you need are great images for your digital presentation and you are on your way.

Do all your slide/image/text preparation in PhotoShop/PowerPoint/Keynote. You can not edit your SlideShare presentation once it is uploaded.  If you find any mistakes after uploading, you will need to fix the mistakes in your presentation and upload a new corrected presentation (replacing the old presentation). 

PowerpointBy browsing other peoples' presentations on SlideShare you will see that some create very effective presentations without audio! I did this for my first presentation. Create your presentation on your computer and upload it to SlideShare. Add text to your images or slides instead of audio. It is that simple!

Be patient with the uploading. Depending on the size it can take a while.


UPDATE 2014:

ADDING AUDIO to SlideShare is no longer possible.

To add audio... create a Powerpoint presentation with audio, convert to video and upload it to YouTube as a video. 

This is pretty easy to do. You really don’t need a lot of technical skills, just the risk-taking guts to experiment and learn from mistakes along the way. Your only cost will be a microphone and headset (if you don’t own one already.)

Purchase a microphone/headset combination at your local electronics store which costs about $50. (I did not buy the most expensive microphone/headset, but selected a basic option which has worked out really well.)

SOFTWARE for adding Audio:
To get started with your audio software first visit a site called “How to Podcast”. This will give you a step-by-step guide on how to podcast without breaking the bank. This is the home of the free podcast tutorial that will take your podcast from concept to launch -- and for minimal cost (brought to you by, Jason Van Orden, author of “Promoting Your Podcast”).  UPDATE 2022: The "How to Podcast" site appears to no longer be available.  NPR has an article titled "How to Start a Podcast, According to the Pros at NPR" that provides useful information.


The focus of this site is how to create a podcast, but essentially a podcast is just an MP3 file. You need an MP3 file to upload to SlideShare and synchronize with your slides. This site has all the information you need, but if you ever get stuck (it is sometimes really frustrating to learn a new technology on your own), just type your question into Google. This is how I find answers to my questions.

Audio Editing Software (Audacity) and Lame MP3 Encoder are both available online for free. There are free tutorials online too so you don’t need to spend any money on editing software.  The one I use is called Audacity. There is no need to buy expensive audio editing software when you are first starting out.

There are multiple pages of information, and even video tutorials to watch. While I don’t know how to use most of the options in the Audacity editing software, I can still create very acceptable quality podcasts and audio MP3 files.

Go to Audacity to get started.

That's it for today.
Next week, I will help you get started with a few more tips.


You have your assignment.
Get ready for the next tutorial.


This post was updated on February 5, 2022.

Promoting YOUR art or craft at ZERO COST with Professional Results

One of my favorite online tools for visibility was Slideshare. It was purchased by LinkedIn years ago, and then it disappeared.

SlideShare was a FREE site where you can upload PowerPoint Presentations.  You can add MP3 files to your presentation to have audio along with your visual presentation. SlideShare also works with Keynote. 

WebsiteCAdream My primary purpose was to create more visibility for my artwork and to provide additional content links for my website
An additional benefit was that many (and perhaps even most) of the people watching my SlideShare presentations were discovering my work for the first time.

Time marches on. Try something new every day, even if it scares you.

How to Build a Better Drop Shadow in Photoshop - A Step-by-Step Powerpoint and Handout

The recent Professional Development Seminar during the SNAG Conference offered an informative program titled "Photography in Flux." One of the pressing issues in art and craft photos is the growing popularity of the stark white background, often with a stylized shadow near the work.

ChristopherConrad1 As part of the Professional Development Seminar, Photographer Christopher Conrad prepared a Step-by-Step HANDOUT and PowerPoint for "How to Build a Better Drop Shadow" in Photoshop. Now both of these are available online for you to download and practice.


Step by step photoshop tutorial by Christopher Conrad for the Professional Development Seminar Both the PowerPoint and the Handout are step-by-step color images of this process in Photoshop. There is no complicated text, but beautiful didactic images so that you can do this yourself to improve the photographic images of your work with a soft and subtle shadow.

You can find the PDF handout on the SNAG website

Step by step photoshop tutorial by Christopher Conrad for the Professional Development Seminar

Below is the Step-by-Step Photoshop Tutorial as a PowerPointHow to Build a Better Shadow - A Photoshop Tutorial by Christopher Conrad


The issues surrounding the white background for art and craft photography were discussed extensively on ASK Harriete several months ago. You can find the posts about shadows below. Your comments are welcome either on this post or the previous posts. Your experience and opinions can help other artists.

Previous posts in the series Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos:
Side-By-Side Comparisons - the White Background, Can You Cut It?

Side-By-Side Photos - Website Backgrounds Should be Consistent

Side-By-Side Photos - Clean or Complex Backgrounds?

Side-By-Side Comparisons of Different Photos - the white background. Trendy or Technique?

Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images?

The photographers are revealed!

This post was updated on February 4, 2022.

Side-By-Side Comparisons of Different Photos - the white background. Trendy or Technique?

Sleeperhoneystevieb The white background in the photographic image is the "new" look. When discussing a white background, we are talking about pure white...absolute white....#FFFFFF in HTML or Photoshop. You can see this in the left photo and below in photos 1b., 2b., and 6b.

We are NOT talking about a graduated white, with foam core "white," or "almost" white as shown (to the right below and below in 3b and 4a). Test2aJ Hall 12-09_9867

White photographic backgrounds are a stylistic influence from Europe and facilitated by the availability of photo editing technology like Photoshop and FotoFuze. (If you haven't looked at a FotoFuze online demo, you should!)

The super white photographic background with the "fake" shadow starts with pure white photographic background during the photoshoot but is facilitated with photo editing software. It is almost impossible to get a pure white any other way. The tool, i.e. the technology, has become a style.  

One advantage of the white background is that it is really easy to remove the art or craft object from the background for print. Thus the layout for postcards, books, or magazines can depart from a grid format with a smaller investment of time or skill.

Another factor is that white is the default background for many social networking sites like Facebook (the largest photo-sharing site on the Internet), Flickr, Etsy, and other online marketplaces.  They make the photos look attractive. There is little or no demarcation between the edge of the photo and the site.  White background images generally look good to great on these sites.

In contrast, white background shots do not look so good on websites with dark backgrounds.  My previous website was a spectrum of greenish, grey backgrounds. I consciously did not want a white background website.  And I must admit that pure white background photos did NOT look that great on my website. 

SleeperhoneysteviebOn the negative side,  I don't think white backgrounds show all work to the best advantage.  Some work just doesn't look that great on pure white with high contrast between the work and background.

For example, the dark wood in Andy Cooperman's jewelry (left) doesn't look as attractive on a stark white background. The grain of the wood becomes a focal point demanding more attention than desired by the maker. (See photos 1b. and 2b. below.)

A major concern with white background shots is that the shadows and reflections on the background look fake.  Some people who like the white background also like the artificial shadow. This "artificial" appearance is part of the new and trendy style.

oRBIT BLACK AND wHITE iDENITY nECKLACE BY HARRIETE ESTEL BERMAN White backgrounds can also make the work look like it is floating thus the necessity of the shadow to prevent the white or light area of the work from being lost or melting into the background (such as in the photo to the right and 7a. below). Notice that the white cord of the necklace gets lost in the background. 

What do you think about white background shots?

Photos pertinent to this discussion are shown below.


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.

Image 6 a.                            Image 6 b.
AskharrieteBerman_4.7.07Back_72AskHarrieteOreoIMG_7919_web 1000x

Octagonal 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.

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.

This is another post, in the series titled:
Photographic Comparisons Side-By-Side

Previous posts include:

Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images?

The photographers are revealed!

More posts in the series are coming...


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.


Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images? Side-By-Side Comparisons of Different Photos

Patc hwork Quilt, Small Pieces of Time by Harriete Estel Berman
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces of Time
©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman
vintage steel dollhouses
Dark background example
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen.

The previous post, The Photographers Revealed! Photograph Comparisons Side-By-Side showcased a series of images as a comparison of different backgrounds.  ASK Harriete will evaluate these comparisons from several directions.  Two consensus opinions have already stood out: first, one type of background is not effective in every situation, and second, YES, you are being judged by the style of the photographic images!

Cover of 1990 Summer issue of Metalsmith Magazine with a yellow photographic background.
Patchwork Quilt, Small Pieces of Time
©1989 by Harriete Estel Berman

vintage steel dollhouses
1990 Cover photo for Metalsmith Mag.
Photo Credit:
Philip Cohen.

Image backgrounds are becoming a stylistic issue (or "trend", if you want to call it that).  In fact, the choice of backgrounds for a photographic image may even be placing your work into a "category" of the art or craft world.  This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think there is ample evidence.


Octagonal Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed from recycled tin cans.
Octagonal Bracelet
Harriete Estel Berman © 2001
Recycled tin cans
Graduated background with reflection
Photo Credit:
Philip Cohen. 


Multiple observations were formed
while I was studying the previous post, comments by readers, and in discussion with Brigitte Martin and Andy Cooperman (as we prepare the
Professional Development Seminar).   Now there are too many remarks for one post.

Oreo Cookie Unlock the Magic bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman is constructed from recycled tin cans.
Oreo "Unlock the Magic
 ©1989 Harriete Estel Berman
Recycled tin cans, 10k gold, brass
Photo Credit: Steven Brian Samuels



My plan is to discuss the pros and cons for each type of background:

- White
- Graduated
- Black
- Colored

Each photographic background will be discussed, one per post, over the next four posts.  If you have a comment, write your comments below or email me directly as the posts continue.  


This is the third post, in the series titled:
Photographic Comparisons Side-By-Side

Previous posts include: The Photographers Revealed.

This post was updated on January 24, 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.

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. 

Hiring Your First Employee - a book review .

If you have ever considered hiring additional help for your work in the studio, this book is for you.

51dZgYTDCgL._SL160_ Hiring Your First Employee, A Step by Step Guide by Nolo Press, answers nearly every question from beginning to end in the employment process.  It covers everything from job descriptions, job postings, and interviews to the more exacting issues involving taxes, withholding accounts, and workman's compensation.

Even though I have had people working for me for over 15 years, I still learned quite a bit more information that was effective and helpful.

My usual test for buying a book is if after reading the entire book (borrowed from the library), I come to the conclusion that I need to have the book as a convenient and ready reference in my future activities.

The layout of the chapters and subsequent information is very effective.  It starts out with Chapter 1 "Deciding Whether to Hire an Employee." This is a really important question to decide whether your "help in the studio" is an employee or an outside contractor.  The I.R.S. takes this issue VERY seriously. A lot of artists try to slide by or "fudge" this situation. Personally, I don't think the risk is worth it. (Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about employee vs. outside contractor to learn more.  It is usually very clear one way or the other. 

Start Career Pay Day Pin by Harriete Estel Berman suitable for a budding career.
   Start Career  Pay Day          © 2010
   recycled tin cans
   Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
   Pin available for purchase.

Subsequent chapters cover pay rates, employee benefits, workman's compensation, withholding, and taxes.  All the practical issues that employers need to consider. I personally thought that Chapter 5 "Getting Ready to Hire" about job descriptions and finding employees was new information for me.  (I have always found my employees by word of mouth through the local Metal Arts Guild.) Chapter 6 then goes through screening applicants and the interview process. Our society has become so litigious that we all need to be extra careful in this regard.

There are several charts and lists of state-by-state lists of specific requirements. That was great. Just read what you need to know and move on.  Personally, I think that if you are considering hiring help in the studio or already have an assistant, this book should be your next investment to put your mind at ease.

CLICK ON THE LINKS in this blog post or sidebar to find information about purchase. At the time of this writing, has the best prices (including used books), but this book Hiring Your First Employee may also be available through NOLO Press as an electronic book.

Stay tuned for more blog posts related to hiring assistants for work in the studio. Share your experience hiring employees or ASK Harriete a question.

This post was updated on January 13, 2022.

Purchase of this book from is an affiliate link and helps support this blog as a resource for the arts community.    

Looking Forward to the New Year

Champagne_bottle_GR Looking forward to the New Year, I thought a quick post about upcoming events and topics in the coming year would be appropriate.

Upcoming soon...a sample Cease and Desist letter for anyone to use when someone copies your work.  More information will be appearing in my Opinion article for Metalsmith Magazine soon.

Podcasts about my work.  I am learning how to create podcasts and how to put short lectures online with audio.  I am really excited about learning this new skill which is remarkably easy with free software.  You can listen to my first experiment at the following link. I'd love to hear your feedback about this new professional resource experiment.

CLICK HERE for a presentation about my chocolate pot Obverse Obsession.



California Dream © 2005
Recycled tin cans, Pentium chip
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

An exhibition of my artwork is coming this February at the Loveland Museum, Colorado.  Forty (40) boxes were shipped to the museum a few days ago. (Can you imagine how much work it was just to pack up this much work? A peanuts blizzard and cardboard box marathon!)  On Saturday, February 13th, there will be a lecture by Liz Quisgard followed by a panel discussion with all the artists. 

The Professional Development Seminar at the SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) Conference in Houston is coming up March 10-13, 2010.  If you are not planning to attend the entire SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) Conference March 10 - 13, 2010, you can pay for just this PDS seminar on pricing your work).  The first presentation is by Bruce Baker speaking about "The Art of Selling". The morning continues with "Not Just Another Pricing Lecture: A Dialog about Pricing Your Work" with Marlene Ritchey, Guido Schindler, Jennifer Trask, Kiwon Wang, and Francesca Vitali. This will continue with an informal discussion during lunch.  While the SNAG Conference is generally focused on jewelry, metal arts, and design, this information will be applicable to a wide range of media AND the speakers represent a wide spectrum of viewpoints.

Also at the SNAG Conference, I am working on a new program titled, "A Smaller Conference Experience."  Everyone is invited to a more relaxed setting for individual introductions and conversation before the pin swap on Wednesday night, and an informal lunch discussion on Thursday with the Keynote Speaker Caroline Broadhead and the Thursday morning speaker Beverly Penn. Bring your own lunch, grab a chair and join our conversation. Space is limited to 75 people. Please come and say your name, "hello", and tell us what kind of work you do.

Portfolio Reviews at the conference. If you are interested in a short conversation offering insight about your work and discussion about reaching your professional goals with gallery owners, curators, or experienced artists, then stay tuned for the opportunity to grab a portfolio review slot.


Recycle © 1999
The California Collection
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Recycled tin cans, wood, milk bottles,
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

This year begins for me with an intense focus on finishing artwork that has been "in progress" for quite a while.  Finally, I am completing a whole group of work that has taken me more than two years.  To the left is one piece in the series.

Stay tuned to my website, Facebook, and Flickr where new images will be published in the coming weeks and months. If you aren't already my friend on Facebook, this is a great way to stay in touch.

Looking forward to the New Year and all it holds for our professional development.

I write this blog for my readers. Let me know what you want to hear and learn in the coming year.

Best Wishes for the New Year,


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

For this post, Andy Cooperman is the guest author for ASK Harriete. In response to recent posts, online discussions and conversations related to the Professional Development Seminar, Andy Cooperman asks all of us, "What do you mean by "Success"? You are welcome to post your comments in response. 

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


  Andy Cooperman
  Photo Credit: Don Farver

A friend and colleague once offered this bit of wisdom (I paraphrase): “It’s not always about making a living in Craft.  It’s really about making a life in Craft”.  This is certainly to a degree true-- and validating.  But recent posts have got me thinking about what we mean when we say “making a living”, “supporting ourselves” or simply “making it” as a craftsperson, maker, or artist. I am curious about what we mean when we talk about being a successful artist.

Are we talking about financial independence?  Selling enough of our work or services to pay studio overhead, rent, or mortgage payments on our home, apartment, loft, or condo without a second income from another job?  Are we including in this definition health care and insurance payments, paying for transportation, food, and taxes?  Does making a living in craft extend to raising children (if we have made that decision) and paying for their education?  Do our studio incomes allow for travel, entertainment, and luxuries such as cable, dinner out, and nice clothes?


  Andy Cooperman with a torch in his studio
  Photo Credit: Kim Cooperman

I have supported myself making one-of-a-kind jewelry, working as a commission and custom metalsmith, doing some repairs and limited production, and, increasingly, teaching workshops, seminars, and classes (which have yielded the benefit of occasional sales).  I chose not to have children but I do have a nice home and don’t want for much.  The fact that I have a partner who does have a career and a stable--but not stellar-- income and who has been incredibly supportive about my choice of profession has no doubt and to no small degree allowed me to make a life in Craft.  But the studio pays its own bills, puts some money towards retirement, and covers my half of our expenses as a family.  Still, as I get older, I wonder if it will be enough.


 3 Brooches ©  2009  Andy Cooperman
  Right to left:  “Slab”  (sterling, 14k, 24k),
“Potter” (burl wood, sterling, gold),
“Sleeper Cell”  (burl wood, stain, sterling,
 gold leaf)
Photo Credit: Doug Yaple

It’s important to remember, I think, that all things are not equal when we talk about the realities of rent and the cost of living.  The Seattle area is an expensive place to live and if I were starting out right now, I’m not sure that we could afford to establish ourselves here.  Fortunately, we got in a little bit ahead of the curve housing-wise, but it is still a costly place to live.  There are less expensive places, to be sure.  I understand that we all live within limits.  This is simply reality.  But if we choose where we live based primarily on affordability (due to our choice of career) and it is not where we really want to be can we truly say that we are successful?


 ”Bauble”  neckpiece © 2008
Andy Cooperman
  Carved copal, bronze, sterling, gold
 Photo Credit: Doug Yaple

Are “success” and “making a living” two different things?  There are many artists and makers who have achieved fame, whose work is published and whose names are well known but who support themselves financially through other means.  This is certainly a success on one level.  There are metalsmiths and craftspeople who don’t care at all about this type of notoriety but are driven by a love of making and sell enough work to allow them to keep making more work and maintain a lifestyle that they are comfortable with.  They may or may not have a car, a television, their own home, or great shoes. They may no doubt define themselves as successful while others might question their definition based on their own needs and lifestyle choices.  And there are those jewelers who like what they do but see it more as a business: a job or a profession that allows them to support their families or themselves and do the things that they are really passionate about.

  ”Masonic Ring” © 2009
Andy Cooperman
  sterling, gold, copper, carved copal.
Photo Credit: Doug Yaple

So I’m wondering:  How do we characterize success?  How do we define “making a living” from what we do? What is your fantasy of a life in Craft or Art? Is it a money thing?  Have the things that you wanted from life when you began your career as a maker remained the same?  (Mine haven’t.)   If you are embarking on your career do you think that there is a possibility one day that you may not get the same charge from making as you once did?  Can/will you make enough money to compensate for that possibility?

What do people really think?  Let’s have a frank discussion.

Andy Cooperman


This post was updated on January 5, 2022, to provide current links.

Why go to Conferences? Are they worth it?


A question from an artist and reader, 

"While reading the ACC Conference lecture reviews, I was wondering how the conference is affecting you as an artist?" 

Good question! I'll bet other people are wondering too! Similar questions arose from a few other readers wondering if it was worth the expense (conference fee, airfare, hotel) to go.  [I don't include food because most of the time I don't eat at restaurants but instead find a grocery store for fruit and yogurt. A latte is my conference treat!]

The answer is a considered "yes, yes, yes." These conferences are an investment in my professional development and definitely worth attending (as long as it isn't adding debt to the credit card).  Beyond the expenses, I don't give up time in my studio lightly.  I also miss my exercise classes and come home to a mountain of mail and "things to do" just like everyone else. This always delays my return to the studio for more days.

Three things mostly, meeting new people, listening to thought-provoking lectures, and seeing work that surprises and inspires.  While none of these things are automatic or guaranteed to happen, it is dropping myself into the unexpected and being open to new ideas. To borrow the words from the TED Conference web site: "Every so often it makes sense to emerge from the trenches we dig for a living, and ascend to a 30,000-foot view, where we see, to our astonishment, an intricately interconnected whole." (If you aren't familiar with the TED Conference lectures, I recommend them highly.)

HARRIETErobWALKER72 Meeting new people is the most refreshing and positive aspect of every conference.  Even though I am a little fearful of or somewhat dislike having people pierce my personal space bubble, I force myself to make an effort to sit next to a stranger.... or ask someone to sit next to me at lunch that I barely know, or talk to a new person on the bus or at the show.  I have to repeat this gutsy effort over and over. However, even one such meeting may make the entire conference worthwhile.  You never know if this person is looking for just your kind of work, planning a show, or following a similar path.


Pattern Pillow #2 © 2004
copper, oil paint
18" x 18" x 5"
Artist: Megan Auman

For example, a couple of years ago, Megan Auman approached me requesting that she speak about Web 2.0 for the Professional Development Seminar (Savannah FLYER 2008) at a SNAG Conference. I was mystified about why I or any other artist should even consider participating in 2.0 sites like Facebook or Etsy  (or a blog for that matter) when I already had a website.  Well, we (Don Friedlich, Andy Cooperman, and I) listened to her ideas and decided to include her program about 2.0 for the PDS.  After the SNAG Conference (March 2008), I came right home to join Etsy, Flickr, Facebook and to start my blog all in about two weeks! She and others opened my eyes about all that was happening, will be happening, and could be happening on the Internet.

Natalie "Alabama" Chanin
Speaking during the ACC Conference

Exposure to new information is my second reason to go to conferences. Lectures are always a gamble.  Much of a lecture may be the "same old, same old", but if you listen, you will likely realize after six months or a year that a kernel or nugget might inspire a new way of thinking.  At a SNAG Conference organized by Gary Griffin many years ago, he included a lecture on "tin men." This lecture opened up a whole new world of ideas for me that has inspired 21 years of work. All from that one lecture.

The recent 2009 American Craft Council Conference was intense and provided a broad spectrum of information. I learned from speakers I'd never known before, about books they have written, references to movies, blog sites, and tons of other resources. It might take me months or a year to follow through, buy the books or get them from my local library. Since Heath Ceramics is not all that far away from where I live, it is definitely on my "to-do" list. Rob Walker and I met in person for the first time after over a year of correspondence. It only intensified my interest in his writing both in the New York Times Magazine and his blog.


Harriete working in the studio
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

How this will all blend into my work is another story. My work is very labor-intensive.  It will take at least a year or more to finish my current projects, and another year or more to work on upcoming planned projects.  So, two years from now, maybe something from the Conference will inspire new work. Who knows, maybe a person that I met might want to show my work. All of these things are like a slow cooking stew, you need to add the right spices and let it simmer. 

The third reason that I go to Conferences, seeing new work, doesn't happen the same way every time. At the SNAG Conferences, there are multiple exhibitions specifically for the conference.  Many times going to a Conference is the first time I visit a city and realize that I want to go back as a family vacation to explore. 

So as you can see, going to conferences (no more than once or twice a year to stay within my budget), whether local or far away, is one very effective way to expand my thinking, move out of my treasured daily routine, and discover surprises.   The uncertainties always seem a bit intimidating, but my reflection after every conference has been rewarding and sometimes life-changing.     

The 2010 SNAG Conference is coming!

Conf2010_logo_4CThe upcoming SNAG Conference is already accepting registration. During the Conference, I will be organizing a way to make the Conference a smaller place with more ways to meet people.  Start saving your money and plan to go to a Conference in 2010.

Volunteer to help me with the "meet and greet" conversations. Get to know some new people.  Volunteer, I could really use your help. Listen to the unexpected and have an experience that enriches you for an entire year. I will be doing the Portfolio Reviews. Sign up early for a free Portfolio Review with gallery representatives, curators, and successful artists in the metals field.

I am also organizing the Professional Development Seminar with Andy Cooperman and Don Friedlich. Pds_logoletterhead The Professional Development Seminar in Houston, Texas, is planning three hours of concrete information from 9:00 am-12:00 pm on Friday, March 12, that will change the way you approach your work and the way you do business. At 9:00 am, Bruce Baker will present ‘The Art of Selling’, and at 11:00 am he will shift to ‘Not Just Another Pricing Lecture: A Dialogue about Pricing Your Work.’  We will continue the conversation during lunch from 12:00-1:30. Bring your lunch so you don't miss a moment. Learn strategies for success.

Harriete Estel Berman

This post was updated on January 5, 2022.


ACC Conference - an adventure in blogging

I'm off to my adventure at the ACC Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I will be one of the official SNAG bloggers posting my experiences along with initial reviews or opinions of the lectures presented at this national conference.


Eons of Exodus
recycled tin cans, 10kgold,s/s rivets
Artist:Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Collection of Minneapolis Inst. of Art

With the conference starting in just a day or so, I am filled with anxiety and some trepidation.  Why am I leaving the comfort zone of my home, my studio, my exercise classes, and my everyday routine for the torture of an airplane seat and three days of blogging responsibilities?  Is it worth going to? Why am I doing this?



The simple answer is that I need to create new experiences for myself.  Despite these discomforts (or because of them), I know that some positive insights will come out of this experience.  Call it brain exercise or mental stretching, but everyone needs to try going to some kind of conference once in a while. I have heard that some people don't go to the SNAG Conferences because they aren't fun. Are you kidding?  It's not the fun you should go for, but the growth that you can acquire.

Maybe some people think these events are fun. I don't. Going to a conference lets (or forces) you to be exposed to the unexpected, meet new people, and listen to the lectures. The outcome is always unpredictable.  Sometimes a lecture topic may sound like a dud, but the speaker turns out to be exceptional.  Or the lecture topic may seem really interesting and the presentation skills of the speaker are disappointing.   The variety of conference events may be a mixed bag, but upon reflection afterward, I have always gained some professional contacts or artistic insights.

Eons of Exodus
recycled tin, 10k gold, and s/s rivets
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen
Collection of Minneapolis Inst. of Art

While I am in Minneapolis, I do plan to take advantage of the resources in the area.  My scheduled excursions include visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Art to see my seder plate "Eons of Exodus" on display AND listen to my literary "hero" Rob Walker, author of Buy In, The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. Rob Walker is a speaker at the American Craft Council Conference and one of many reasons that I decided to attend.

Stay tuned for daily posts (maybe even multiple posts per day). Saturday's program covers Web 2.0 marketing and hopefully it will be very enlightening.  We can only speculate on what the panel has to say. Did you read my previous posts about marketing, 2.0, and artist gallery relationships? If not, please read this information and send me your opinions and ideas. 

In particular, if you have a question or two to ask the speakers and panelists, what would you ask?  Let me know and I will do my best to find out the answer to your questions.


This post was updated on December 28, 2021.

Online Marketing Tips: Gallery + Artist Collaboration and Affiliate Commissions


When starting my website in 2003, I was concerned, "What will my galleries think?"  I was a bit afraid of stepping on their bailiwick.  But I was also thinking, "Why am I working so hard to develop my website to market my work online?  Isn't that the gallery's job?  Isn't that a major part of why they earn their 50% commission?  Now I'm taking responsibility for a significant portion of the marketing and promotion of my work in addition to the concept development, creation, and fabrication."

Black and White Identity Earrings
Recycled tin cans, sterling silver wires
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman

The Internet enables any artist or maker to accomplish a key marketing task, i.e. publish and distribute a "virtual portfolio." And almost anyone, especially buyers, can find and peruse an artist's website with relatively little effort. Like it or not, the time is past when galleries were the only practical way for clients to find artists and makers. 


The Internet has dramatically changed the dynamics of the relationships between the artist, gallery, and buyer.   In previous posts, I have discussed how galleries will continue to provide unique capabilities and play a vital role in the art business community.  But it is time to recognize that the economic relationships between galleries and artists must adapt as well


Chinese Lettering Earrings
Recycled tin cans, sterling silver wires
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman



Why change?  Because everyone benefits.   A web of links is more effective in marketing, promoting, and ultimately attracting buyers.  If buyers find what they are looking for by clicking through from one website to another, then each contributing website should be rewarded.  The monetary incentives should encourage such links. 


Pepsi Women Earrings
Recycled tin cans, sterling silver wires
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman

Artists and galleries mutually benefit from a synergistic relationship. The gallery and the artist need to link together in every possible way.  The mutual benefit is that buyers are more likely to find the work that they will purchase. But realistically, if both parties are working to attract buyers through their respective Internet marketing and promotional efforts, how should the commissions be divided?  The incentives for greater collaboration need to adapt to this new reality.  

Next Tuesday this discussion will continue with Part 2. Online Marketing: Gallery and Artist Collaboration- Considering Affiliate Links with four possible scenarios for compensation when establishing affiliate links. 


Nutrition  Earrings (green edge w/check)

Recycled tin cans, sterling silver wires
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman



What do you think? I'd like to hear your opinion about this discussion. Either leave a comment or email me directly by CLICKING HERE.


This post was updated on December 28, 2021.

Online Marketing - Gallery and Artist Collaboration




Galleries have traditionally been the primary conduit for buyers to find quality art and craft. The galleries were responsible for marketing and promotion as well as supporting a physical retail space to show art and craft. Artists and makers typically felt ill at ease in such marketing efforts (with the exception of wholesale/retail shows) and preferred to devote their time to the studio.

The Internet has changed the equation - permanently. 

Identity Complex Mirror          2002-2004
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

One of the new realities is that artists and makers CAN market and promote their work via the Internet without gallery representation.  Potential buyers CAN find artists and makers without gallery vetting. The days are past when clients can only find an artist exclusively through a gallery. 

However, in an age of information overload, galleries still offer authoritative credibility regarding the merit of represented work.  For the client, galleries also offer expert guidance, appraisals, and insight well beyond the mere display space for viewing.  For the artist and maker, galleries offer skilled promotion and reliable sales support.


Identity Complex Mirror          2002-2004
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

But the Internet is a multi-lane highway connecting many destinations. So here is a radical idea . . .  Artists and galleries need to work together in their marketing efforts.

Huge opportunities are lost when galleries and artists don't act as a team to fully benefit from their respective resources.

Artists need to have their own websites for credibility and visibility. Galleries need to use the Internet more effectively to showcase all the work for which they are responsible. An exhibition should no longer be presented to the public as one image on a postcard or one page on a website. With minimal expense, the entire exhibition can be posted as an online catalog of the show.

Galleries and artists can both be more effective with online marketing.  Improved SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one goal, i.e. a bigger "web" of links (more links earn a higher rating).  SEO can drive more traffic to the websites of both the gallery and the artist. 


Galleries can benefit by linking to all artists' inventory and exhibition pages.   Artists should email and post on their websites any relevant gallery link such as upcoming events, openings, exhibitions, juried shows, etc.  

Likewise, artists can benefit by helping galleries link to any new resources such as newspaper reviews, magazine articles, open studios, or selection into books.

Identity Complex Mirror          2002-2004
Recycled tin cans.
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen



Both parties need to trust that purchases generated as a result of either website will be positive and boost credibility, visibility, and revenue.


If a customer arrives at my site via the gallery's website and purchases work from my site, hopefully, we can work out the appropriate commission for the gallery. 


Commission strategies need to be reconsidered.  This is an area that needs a lot more discussion.  For example, the websites for both the gallery and the artist could set up affiliate links that pay commissions in both directions.  There are many other mutually rewarding scenarios that encourage ongoing collaboration.  We need to adapt to a new future. 

Yes, there are areas of overlap that will need negotiation. But realistically, was there ever a time without issues to discuss?  I expect to revisit this topic in the near future.

Like it or not, the multi-lane highway of the Internet is going to get bigger and better.  A collaborative effort can be mutually beneficial.

Do you have any ideas or comments?


This post was updated on December 27, 2021.

Online Marketing Tips: Easy Links Directly to Your Content

TenenbaumJWhose Woods These Are 200905281_0
"Whose Woods These Are"
Joan Tenenbaum
Photo: Doug Yaple

Recently Joan Tenenbaum emailed a link to me regarding her upcoming exhibition at Stonington Gallery in Seattle, WA.  Using email and links to specific online content is a very effective way to promote your work to a large audience.  This is also a good example of cooperative marketing between the artist and gallery – and both benefit.  So far, so good, but after following the links and instructions in the email, I would like to offer some constructive suggestions to both the artist and to the gallery.  The rest of this post will focus on suggestions for every artist.  Suggestions for effective links on the gallery website will be the focus of a subsequent post.

The Plan   In her email, the artist, Joan Tenenbaum only included the link to the gallery's Home page along with instructions to look around the site for the Calendar of Events page to find her work.  Seems innocent enough.

The Reality   As the recipient of these instructions, I reread the instructions, clicked on the link, and had to look around the Home page to find and click on the Calendar of Events link, and look around the new page (and not see Joan's work anywhere, take a deep breath to quell my mild frustration and uncertainty, only to eventually realize I had to scroll down for more content, still not see Joan's jewelry, scroll some more, and some more), and finally find Joan's segment announcing her exhibition.  I briefly enjoyed a small sense of victory from my excursion into cyberspace and discovery of Joan's content in this labyrinth.  

Admittedly, all this took less than 60 seconds.  Not really so bad, but on a typically hectic day, I and perhaps most other people would easily have given up and moved on to the next email.   This was asking too much for the casual reader and brought this post's topic to mind. 

An online link should take the viewer directly to the target content....not nearby, not the general area, nor with additional instructions to follow. In a successful online marketing campaign, you want to avoid any possible misinterpretation, mistakes, or inattention.  Help people get to the exact location immediately with ONE CLICK.

It is not a difficult task and here is HOW TO LINK DIRECTLY.

The exact URL link to Joan Tenenbaum's inventory photos looked something like this:,%20THE%20DEPTH%20AND%20BREADTH%20OF%20A%20FIFTY%20YEAR%20PASSION

Wow!  That looks really long and scary, but there are some easy options for including the appropriate link in your web correspondence. 

The first option    I noticed that Joan's email was an HTML email (such as Outlook or Outlook Express.) which allows a user to create a link in the email as a hyperlink text LIKE THIS . To do this, use the "hyperlink" button on your HTML email toolbar (it looks like a small chain with an image of the world behind it).  Click on the button, put in the text you want to use, or highlight as the link. In this example, I typed in "LIKE THIS".  Then in the next box add the hyperlink URL (the long, scary character string) which will be hidden in the actual email.  If you do this one time you will know how to do it forever, and it is super easy to do.

The second option    Go to and make your own hyperlink to the target content.  I created this one for Joan quick and easy.  Anyone can do this for free.  When you are on the site, paste in the long hyperlink text. Then CLICK the button that says "Make a TinyURL",  and voila, a short and tiny URL is ready in an instant.  Yes, really that quick!

Many people are sending emails without direct link addresses. It is really frustrating, looking all over a site, trying to find the appropriate path to some specific image or content, move to another page, go back, try another path . . . sometimes I get interrupted or just don't have time and then I forget to go back and look around. 

Hopefully, everyone can now help their audience click directly to target images or content.  This can surely improve your marketing effectiveness.

If you have any ideas or questions for ASK Harriete,  just write to me any time! Just CLICK on the Email link here or at the top of this post under my photo.


This post was updated on December 27, 2021, to provide current links.

What if a show has no insurance?

Extinction Book
Judy Hoffman

Dear Harriete,

Would you put your work in a show that has no insurance? Would you try to get your own, or do it as a group? Or send lower-priced work? Or just pass?  I'm wondering what to do about an invitational show at a local arts center.

Judith Hoffman


I have frequently been asked this question.  For me, whether an exhibition includes insurance or not is always a deciding factor about whether I show my work or not.  The exhibition space must have insurance or I will not send my work to a show. 


Harriete working on the Pencil Project
Metal Arts Guild display at Maker Faire

There have only been a few minor exceptions to this rule such as when I was at Maker Faire with the local Metal Arts Guild.  At Maker Faire, I was standing right next to the display, all the work was in a very heavy locked case, and I showed less important work.

Insurance during shipping is a related matter.  You can buy insurance for shipping from the shipping agent.  I try to use the U.S.P.S. (United States Postal Service) if possible for shipping my work.  At the post office, it is easy to either purchase insurance or send the work registered mail, insured for better handling.  Unfortunately, they have size limitations for the boxes they will handle.

Alternatively, the exhibition sponsor might have insurance that will cover the work while in transit.  Check with them in advance before shipping your work.

Make sure that arrangements for return shipping are handled in a similar manner.  Personally, I do not consider shipping work by UPS acceptable for one-of-a-kind art or craft. Check in advance how the exhibition sponsor plans to return your work.

It is always your responsibility to pack your work carefully and professionally so that it will arrive safely.  Shipping companies DO NOT accept responsibility for damaged items - even if it is insured -- if it is not packed properly. Stay tuned, there will be a new Professional Guidelines topic about Packing and Shipping Art and Craft in the coming months.  In the meantime, if you ever need it, there is an excellent Professional Guidelines topic titled, "Artist Checklist: Claims for Damaged Work."


This post was updated on December 27, 2021.

Email annoucements - Are yours effective and professional?


Sample postcard announcement
Front and Back are combined

In this day of modern technology, it is acceptable to send an announcement by email. This can save money on printing and postage, and save trees. It is common for many people to have a larger list of email contacts than traditional mailing addresses. So sending out an announcement via email is definitely the way to go.  But far too many artists are making errors, I mean HUGE ERRORS, in the way they approach sending out email announcements.


DO NOT send an email with no text and only an attachment. Create an abridged version of the information and personal note in the body of the email. If you don't introduce yourself with a friendly note about who you are and the basic information included in the attachment, many people are not going to open an unknown attachment due to fear of viruses or spam.

Do not simply send two images of a scanned postcard (one of the front, one of the back).  Instead, take full advantage of Photoshop (or another image editing program) and create a special internet version of your announcement with images and the information. This one item can be sent as an attachment. 

Try to make your email attachment as small as possible. Try not to send larger than 1 MB or 2 MB images. The best option and most professional is to send your attachment as a PDF.  PDF automatically compresses the file size of the attachment.  Most important, PDFs do not carry viruses and are safe to open. Your intended recipient will feel much more comfortable opening a PDF attachment.

I couldn't add the PDF to this blog, but a high-quality PDF with images was slightly over 1 MB which is acceptable.

If you can't create a PDF, pay attention to the attachment file size.  As an example, I took an old announcement postcard, scanned both sides, and combined them as one image (see example image above).   As a TIF at 300 dpi, it was 23MB (which is too big).  When reduced to 72dpi and 8" x 10" it was 1.16 MB.  As a JPG at 72dpi using the SAVE FOR WEB option and compressed to 80%, it was 171KB.  A small file is a very courteous option to send as an email.

TEST YOUR EMAIL FIRST before sending it out to your entire mailing list. Do a few tests to yourself first, then to close friends or relatives. Ask them in advance how the email looks when it arrives in their mailbox with their specific computer or email program. Make sure it is working, especially if you are new at using a newsletter template or HTML EMAIL.


This post was updated on December 23, 2021.