NomineeHarriete Estel Berman
Nominee Pronounsshe/her
Nominee Phone(650) 274-1781
Nominee EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
Nominee Address657 42nd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94403-5059
United States
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Nominee Website
Nominee Resume or CVBerman-Harriete-Estel-5page-resume2024.pdf
Additional Information 1Links-to-Craft-In-America-JEWELRYvideo.docx
Additional Information 2Berman-Harriete-Estel-Ornament-Magazine-article.pdf
Additional Information 3Berman-Harriete-Estel_Berman-Manufractured.pdf
Work Sample 1Work Sample 1
Work Sample 2Work Sample 2
Work Sample 3Work Sample 3
Work Sample 4Work Sample 4
Work Sample 5Work Sample 5
Describe how the nominee fulfills the criteria for the IMPACT Award. Maximum 5000 characters.

Recycling is not just a consumer responsibility – for me it is both a lifestyle and my professional identity. As a recycling advocate since 1980, my artwork is made entirely from post-consumer recycled materials. The use of recycled tin cans, or post-consumer waste is the foundation for creating jewelry, Judaica, and sculpture. Humble materials destined for the landfill are reinvented with my extensive metalworking skills for political, social and environmental commentary. My artwork has been published in over 45 books and is in permanent collections of 16 museums.

In Silicon Valley from the California Collection, the bracelets are fabricated from recycled tin cans and computer waste. These bracelets were designed to fit in a custom designed display to present the jewelry more prominently with context. Consummate craftsmanship honors my academic education and professional experience, together with ongoing messages about sustainability and the waste of our consumer society. When I first started working with post-consumer tin cans in 1988, many people considered it to be “metalsmithing heresy” to forsake silver and gold. My work is not about the value of the materials – instead, the post-consumer materials and images reflect more accurately the values of our society.

“Recycle”, from my California Collection, was the first example of my jewelry fabricated from post-consumer plastic waste. It was first shown at a SNAG Conference exhibition. People were in shock. “Only you Harriete” they said to my face, as they expressed their astonishment of my jewelry constructed from HDPE plastic milk containers taken directly from my recycling bin. The necklace converts to two bracelets.

Since then, my experiments and exploration of Jewelry constructed from recycled post-consumer plastic has continued from bracelets to a larger statement about the impact of plastic in our environment. “Black Plastic Gyre Boa Constrictor Necklace” is 26-foot long, suffocating, and symbolic of our environment drowning in plastic waste.

In an earlier example where sustainability is expressed in both the material and the concept, my “grass” series exposes the American obsession with lawns.
In “grass \’gras\” -- a lawn-size sculpture measuring nine feet on each side (81 square feet in total area), the 32,400 blades of grass were individually cut by hand and assembled from recycled tin containers. The sheer size alone comments on how the environmental impact of this artificial landscaping monoculture. Twenty-four years later, in 2024, there are finally conversations in the news about the environmental impact from herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides that runoff into our water ways and aquafers, while mowers and blowers spew exhaust. Here is the link for more information about this installation.

For the past 10 years I have been working on a series titled, “Ten Modern Plagues”, which offers updated perspectives and interpretations of the ten Biblical plagues specifically highlighted during the Seder service. Each of the modern plagues in this series highlights a current global problem created by humans in recent history that will persist indefinitely and impact future generations. Several of the modern plagues impact women specifically. Three examples are Blood – Water and the Need to Provide Clean Affordable Water; Darkness - Lack of education for girls and women; and Killing of the First Born – Killing of newly-born Girls and Violence Against Women.

The most recent piece of the Ten Modern Plagues, (almost finished); Hail: Climate Change. (This is not a professional photo.) in included here. This is another example where the use of post-consumer materials, recycled tin cans, is only one aspect in my commitment to environmental sustainability and socially responsible practices.

My fabrication skills and techniques continue to evolve and innovate despite the humble materials. The use of post-consumer materials focuses attention on how individual actions can improve our environment through recycling – and perhaps, even more importantly, encourage everyone to actively pursue sustainable practices. Our oceans are getting clogged with the detritus of our consumer society, we are ingesting microparticles of plastic, warming temperature of our oceans impacts the entire world.

In a final comment about sustainability, I am a strong advocate for the survival and sustainability of the metalsmithing craft. My metalsmithing business repairs and restores silver from past generations. I have worked hard in the past to establish sustainable business practices with the Professional Guidelines and my blog ASK Harriete.

How can we make our work more relevant to the values of our society? For me, the exclusive use of recycled materials is one way that people can relate to my work in a society becoming more keenly aware of the environmental impact of excessive consumption.

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