The teacups titled Consuming Conversation are a variant edition of 200 cups constructed from post consumer recycled tin cans. They were constructed between 2001-2004 as a prescient commentary about the excessive spending of our consumer society and unstable economy.
On the top of each cup are words or comments inspired by advertising. Each letter is cut from recycled tin cans.
My favorite cup says: "Can a BMW meet your emotional needs?" This is the black cup in the center photo below. Click on the image to see a larger view.
Tinted resin that looks like "tea" fills each cup to almost overflowing as a metaphor for the overabundance in our society.
Click on any image to see a larger view and complete description. Each cup and saucer was constructed from a different tin can to create another product identity.
The 200 one-of-a-kind teacups symbolizes the over abundance of our shopping experience with whole aisles of stuff to buy. Do we really need 20 different deodorants, a whole aisle of shampoo products, or to eat so much food that it is damaging our health?
The cups are precariously stacked, even unstable, symbolic of the economic implosion in 2008 caused by overspending and consuming without regard to realistic finances.
Teacups from Consuming Conversation are sold in groups as photographed. Many cups are in private collections, and the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.
Some of the cups are separate, and stacked with the internal magnets.
Most of the cups are permanently stacked with a concealed rod.
If you are interested in including these cups in an exhibition, they are easily shipped in their custom made shipping box. (One stack of cups per box.) I prefer to exhibit a group of cups rather than a single stack as the over abundance and chaos is consistent with the meaning behind the work.
Watch two different videos about the Consuming Conversation teacups by scrolling down.
There are two video about this series of teacups.
Consuming Conversation is a video about our consumer society with images of the mall to the grocery store. Bar codes, advertising, and excessive merchandising are contrasted with social mores of a previous era. Instead of having a cup of tea or coffee with friends and family, we now go shopping.
The Fabrication Process video quickly demonstrates how the cups were constructed, and then assembled in the studio of Harriete Estel Berman. In less than 8 minutes you will see what took me 75 hours to figure out, and then four years to construct with the help of my studio assistant Emiko Oye. Tools used to construct these teacups include an hydraulic press, drill, soldering gun, and hand shear. Techniques include sawing, riveting, soldering, and tons of ingenuity to figure out solutions unique to my artwork.
Purchase cups by contacting the artist Harriete Estel Berman directly. Prices for each stack are shown when you click on the images.
There are six stacks of teacups in this photo. Each stack is permanently attached with a concealed rod. (The assembly is shown in The Fabrication Process video.)
To look more closely at the individual cups along with a complete description for each cup and saucer, click on the images.
Each stack of cups is completely different. Some of the stacks have objects like credit cards, or Monopoly Houses embedded in the top cup.
The teacup handles are sterling silver or red brass. This was decided by what I thought looked best with the images on each cup and saucer.