Sunday, February 27, 2011

Interview with Harriete of Harriete Estel Berman

Since joining the Etsy Recyclers Guild team, I have admired designs from our fellow team member, Harriete Estel Berman. Harriete makes gallery quality jewelry and sculpture pieces. All of her jewelry is made from recycled tin cans. I would like to personally thank Harriete for taking time out of her busy schedule to give me an interview for our team blog.

When did you first start crafting/making jewelry?

Actually I have been working with metal since 1971 when I took my first metals class in college. From the very beginning I discovered my material, metal. Since then besides my BFA in metals from Syracuse University and MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University.

I supported myself for years with my technical skills working as both a jewelry and a silversmith doing repairs. Using my technical skills from silver repairs has given me the confidence that I can make quality work with just about anything.

Please describe your work in detail. What's your favorite type of crafting/design?

From 1980 to 1988 I made a series of domestic appliances that dealt with women’s roles in our society and social commentary. Scroll down on my sculpture page to view the appliances.

Since 1988, I’ve been working with vintage steel doll houses and recycled tin cans. That was 23 years ago, way before the current passion for recycling and thinking green.

How has your work evolved from your earlier work?

Early work was only sculpture and I only made a few pieces a year. Since about 1998, I have also made jewelry and Judacia.

Recently my use of recycled materials has expanded beyond recycled tin cans to include post consumer pencils, electronic waste, rulers, yardsticks, and plastic. Click here to view more recycled pieces.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from everyday life, advertising and our consumer society. Some of the pieces are actually named from magazine ads or television advertising such as "Nice and Easy, Even if Your Marriage Doesn't Last Your Color Will," Clairol Ad and Measuring Compliance.

Projects from recent years include work about our educational system inspired by surviving as a parent of two K-12 students - Pencil sculpture

Where are your products sold (online/stores)?

I sell a selection of pins and earrings at Harriete Estel Berman on Etsy, Object Fetish Jewelry at Harriete Estel Berman on Object Fetish and my own website.

In addition, I am experimenting with two trunk shows this spring. Past exposure for my work includes galleries, exhibitions, and museums.

What advice can you give other crafters/artists when selling their items?

I am committed to helping the arts and crafts community. Artists and makers can find years of advice, ALL FREE and available on line. They can read my blog where I provide words of experience on my blog Ask Harriete and the Professional Guidelines.

I also teach workshops and organize the Professional Development Seminar.
There will be a workshop near Harrisburg at the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen on April 9th and 10th, 2011.

There will also be a Professional Development Seminar in Seattle at the Society of North America Goldsmiths on May 28, 2011.

Information from past Professional Development Seminars is available here.


Last year’s Professional Development Seminar program about pricing continues to be an extremely popular resource. The PowerPoint Presentations by our speakers and the Question and Answer Discussion with the audience were recorded and combined with the Slide Share Presentation so that you can experience the presentations that our audience saw in Houston.

I recommend that you listen to the Slide Share PowerPoint Presentation first, then listen to the podcast.
GO TO THE Professional Development Seminar page on the Harriete Estel Berman’s web site or click here.


With a month long series including pricing variables, understanding overhead, indirect cost, cash flow and more when pricing your work. Find all these posts on ASK Harriete

Describe yourself in three words:

driven, energetic, creative

Is there is anything else you'd like to share with us?

Please consider sharing the resources in the Professional Guidelines at ASK Harriete with your fellow artists and makers to make our community stronger.

You can find Harriete online at the following places:

Harriete Estel Berman on Etsy
Harriete’s own website
Object Fetish

This interview was contributed by Heather of Texas Vintage Things.


Eco-Friendly Freckles said...

Wow, Harriete is so very talented; her creations are amazing! I upcycle tin and steel cans when making my functional works of art, but Harriete takes this to another level...she has absolutely breathtaking designs!

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