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Harriete Estel Berman
San Mateo, California
Harriete Estel Berman creates jewelry, sculpture, Judaica & installations from recycled materials [http://www.harriete-estel-berman.info] and author of the Professional Guidelines[http://www.harriete-estel-berman.info/profguidelines/profguide.html]
Interests: Professional Guidelines, Professional Development Seminar, ASK Harriete, recycled materials, thinking and acting green, environmental issues, composting, Sociology, marketing, 2.0 marketing,
Recent Activity
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I am thinking about Boris's statement. "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." I see both sides now. My first assumption that the whole gun was scarier isn't really true. Parts of a gun, a slice or a trigger can still carry a powerful message. Creativity really is an art more than a science. One principle can not apply to all situations, and nuance can make all the difference between good and great interpretations. Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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Putting together a show is in itself a noble effort and a time intensive commitment powered by passion. Now Boris is trying to raise 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. Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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Labels or not labels is not a new debate, but I think a few issues come to the fore. 1) Should artist-made jewelry have a label with the artist name in an exhibition or gallery? 2 What is the solution to an attractive label? 3) As a jewelry artist would you express your opinion to the gallery or exhibition that displays your work? 4) What is the value of discussing this issue? Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2016 at Ask Harriete
Thank you George, I fixed the mistakes.
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Marketing and display is an essential role for artists and makers. If your display does not effectively sell your work then it is costing you a lot more than you think. Yes, it is another hat that artists and makers have to wear in addition to the "create, research, create, pack, sell, create, ship, create...order materials, keep records, create." I have written a great number of posts about effective display issues and ideas. http://askharriete.typepad.com/ask_harriete/display/ In addition, I have a Pinterest board focusing on ideas that are relatively simple and light weight. Many of these ideas would translate to improving your display consistent with your art or craft. https://www.pinterest.com/harriete/display-is-everything/
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Roxy, Thanks so much for your comment. I agree with you completely. After this past weekend, my position on this particular issue is stronger than ever. Those purchased displays come with a connotation of commercial jewelry. While some people may think that this is something that the customer is accustomed to looking at, I think it sends a cheap and commercial message. Artist made jewelry need to differentiate itself from commercial jewelry. We are not in the same market. We can not compete in price. We don't want to compete in the visual vocabulary of commercial jewelry. We need to send the message "think different" from the very second the customer is looking at our booth or work on display in a gallery. Our display (not the jewelry) is the first thing that our potential customer sees. Harriete
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Recently, I viewed jewelry on display at multiple galleries. Seeing so many in a short time allowed me to compare and contrast the quality and effectiveness of different display approaches. The inconsistencies of the jewelry displays remind me of the ancient Indian tale of the blind men describing an elephant. The elephant in the room -- or more specifically the "elephant" in this post -- is the lack of standards for quality jewelry display. Putting all good intentions aside, there are some pretty clear display standards that merit universal implementation for the display of artist made jewelry. Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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This week I'm flying to Santa Fe, NM for an opening of an exhibition at Tansey Contemporary curated by Gail Brown. I am honored to have my work included in the show which is titled: An Exuberance of Color in Studio Jewelry. Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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Even the smallest adjustment to your juried submission may make the difference between success and less than optimal outcomes. I've seem this over and over. So improve your jury submission with the best possibly strategy and planning by using these great resources. Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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The Internet is making a pivot to mobile viewing. Now I am taking the huge step in creating two, yes two whole new websites.With adaptive web design layout, the content should automatically reformat to be tailored for any desktop, tablet or smartphone screen dimensions. These first three tips will help you with your website of the future. Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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In February, Boris Bally invited me to participate in an exhibition about "changing society's views about the dangers of handguns." Each artist was given a disabled hand gun to use as part of the artwork. This post shows the artistic vision from the beginning to the photographers vision of the final photo. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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I'm kind of in a funk deciding what to make next and been listening to a lot of negative voices inside my head and from other people. Why do I do this? Why do I try so hard? Why do... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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So why is the Craft Master paid a low 30 year old rate? 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. So ....what is happening? Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2016 at Ask Harriete
Excellent point from Helen. In addition, a workshop instructor is paid as an "outside contractor." Out of your total payment for teaching a workshop you need to pay your self-employment expenses such as insurance, health insurance, social security, Medicare, and income taxes. There are no paid sick days or paid vacation days either. Our payment has to take ALL our expenses into account. At this point, I am wondering if my suggestion of $1,500-$2,000 per day is sounding like enough?
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Shaktipaj, "I am mad that we don't pay our Craft Masters a 21st century wage." Your are right craft industry magazines and workshop do hire the workshop impostor for less. I have written about this in a post titled: The Color Blind Paint Salesperson and the Workshop Imposter http://askharriete.typepad.com/ask_harriete/2013/04/workshop-copying-gets-ugly.html The only thing I can suggest is that you write to the editor or workshop impostor about this issue.
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Grace, I am suggesting $1,500 - $2,000 per day for the Craft Master PLUS expenses. This is what I think is the MINIMUM for the time and prep in sharing a lifetime of experience.
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Thank you John for your comments. Yes, I understand the entire picture. Talking about this publicly and recognizing the problem is the first step. I understand that the workshop sponsors have no revenue without students, however as scary as it is...I think we have sold ourselves cheap. In this case the "we" is both the Craft Master and the workshop sponsor. The Maker Faire (in San Mateo) has exploded with attendance year after year, and they charge $45 at the gate. Entire families spend what I think is a lot of money to look and learn about "making." The TECH Shop has locations in San Francisco, Menlo Park, San Jose, Detroit, East Coast and opening new locations. It is not cheap to belong or pay for a day, month or year. They are exploding with "making enthusiasm." The point being is that the craft schools have sold themselves cheap. The experience economy is growing. It is the only part of the craft economy that is growing. We can decide to be part of it. But I am mad that we don't pay our Craft Masters a 21st century wage and hire "craft impostors" for the same amount with no distinction. Time to speak up. Stay tuned to future posts where I may be committing professional Hari-Kari.
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I am honored to be invited to teach at your renowned program which is highly regarded in the arts and crafts community. This time away from domestic responsibilities and studio work will also relieve me of my established income sources. The 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." Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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This sounds like a bad situation. The insurance company will require documentation to support the value of the lost painting. This documentation will have to include records from the artist (or the artist’s gallery) that he/she has sold similar paintings for the amount of money = to the stated value. It could be a cancelled check or invoice from previous sale. The insurance company will not accept an opinion without documentation of sold works. In this example, a history of selling in the marketplace is necessary. Hope that helps.
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Recently, I wrote a post about "the Intersection between CAD/ CAM and craft." With further reflection I'm trying to add some clarity and extend the interpretation of my message.The question is whether tools and technologies add to or enrich the intent and appearance of your work? The deliberate choice of a technology or technique can elevate the meaning. The technique, tool, or technology is effective only if it is consistent with your aesthetic or purpose. Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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Sometimes you simply have to try your hardest, work day after day. stay up late night after night, and then pull an all-nighter because if you don't try, nothing will happen. And if you do try your absolute best.... you will at the very least create a possibility. The Gemini Battlebots I helped fabricate will be on broadcast television!!!! Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2016 at Ask Harriete
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Recently, I was a guest worker at Radicand in an effort to help my son, Ace, fabricate his BattleBot. Harriete can cut sheets of aluminum and file them close to CAM perfection, but should I cut six sheets? Where is the role of CAD/CAM in our craft work? Harriete can cut sheets of aluminum and file them close to CAM perfection, but should I cut six sheets? Where is the role of CAD/CAM in our craft work? I am a huge advocate for craft and hand made, but seriously question why we should be hand crafting in those situations when machines can do the work faster and cheaper. This is especially true for multiples. Is "hand made" purity an absolute attribute when technologies could help us be more productive? Are we disloyal to hand made if we consider using fabrication technologies that can help us be more cost effective? I love making by hand, but their is a place where we should be working smarter and faster when the machines can do it as well as (or better than) we can.0 Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2016 at Ask Harriete
Kathy, I have worked at the TECH Shop before. Worked there as a guest for one day (a week ago) on the Gemini Battlebot. [ https://www.facebook.com/geminibattlebot/?fref=ts ] I don't have those images yet. I think the TECH Shop is wonderful, just amazing. They offer tools and equipment that is too large or expensive for individual purchase. My personal opinion is that the laser cutter is over used, and that people need to learn more tools that the TECH Shop offers. (Lots to say on that at another time.) The TECH Shop also has problems...which were really aggravating for a person accustomed to working in their own shop. The TECH Shop needs more task lighting at every piece of equipment and table. I really had a hard time seeing with lights 30 feet over my head (at night.) Only the upstairs had adequate lighting with both task lighting, sky lights and overhead lighting. The fact the all the tools are used by different people was also a challenge. I can't imagine the maintenance with inexperienced people using tools. The water jet went down...and caused serious delays for this project...but all this happens at professional shops too. I figure for every 4 hours in a shop, there is one hour of maintenance. That is what happens in my shop with just me or my assistant working. Still I think the potential of the TECH Shop is great. Harriete
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Recently, I adopted a new role in four days of intensive fabrication to assist my son in the fabrication of his Gemini Battlebots. We worked at the fabrication space for Radicand. Could I translate my metalworking skill to another realm? Would you like to see more fabrication shots of the Gemini Battlebots? This post takes my craft skills to a new realm. Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2016 at Ask Harriete
Sara, Thanks for your comment. Indeed, health insurance is very expensive, but after this experience, I realize that it has to be a priority. Health insurance and car insurance has to come before other choices because an accident would be so financially devastating you might never recover. One brief second could have huge consequences. In another example, I had a Discover card payment due the week after the accident. It was only $37 dollars due. But because I missed the payment, They added $25. penalty, plus $1.37 interest and the next bill had huge interest. Until I able to pay attention to the mail, and financial issues....the cost was ridiculous. And that example only started with $37 due. Fortunately, I was able to explain the situation, and had a good payment record. Discover took off all the charges and interest. This wouldn't be so easy to fix for everyone. All I am saying is that experience has shown me that car insurance and health insurance really has to come as a top priority. If your art/craft business doesn't provide enough income for health insurance/car insurance, than another job with benefits is necessary. The business of art and craft is not going to get any easier or more lucrative in today's market. If life can throw in a "triple whammy" everyone has to be prepared. Insurance isn't optional in today's world.
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