Working on commission is the ultimate use of someone’s skills. From researching an idea to trying new skills and adding them to existing ones, it is a full creative exercise without losing sight of the fact the one to please is the person that commissioned you. This is what drive people like me to always do better and take people on a journey with me.
But if you have commissioned someone before, let me take you on that journey from start to finish.
I met Linda at a school Xmas craft fair at the end of last year. She fell in love with my work and asked me to contact her in the New Year. She had just bought a tiny property as a studio on the edge of Exmoor lake and was very excited about choosing very special things to fill it with.
So we met and she told me about her new property and how the lampshade I was about to do for her would fit into that new space. I was given a list of elements to include like migrating birds, fishing, trees and at our second meeting a full bag of pheasant feathers, fishing hooks and pictures of the location. Due to the required restoration needed and the distance (a few hours away), a visit of the property was not an option. I had to let my imagination do the talking after researching this protected natural park and I started looking at poetry. A famous poet Mary Webb had written a long time ago about that very same lake. She loved the place as much as Linda does. The calm, the serenity and that feeling of being away from everything. I had to translate that.
I found a beautiful short text and I suggested to include it on the lampshade. Linda was unsure but after I showed her some previous work using white on white hand painted calligraphy, she was won over. If she had said stop, I would but I was very happy when she realised that it would make her lampshade even more unique. The making took place as the construction work came close to an end and Linda could start looking forward to furnishing the space. She went to buy the same base as the one I presented to her. I created a timeline with a mock up and reviewed my research. This included a secret board on Pinterest that enabled me to go back again and again until I was happy I was creating the right visual.
The techniques I used were linocut, an acrylic wash, pencil drawing, hand embroidery and papercut. I also used some of the feathers and a hook attached to gold wire for the fishing lines. As always with my creative work, there is a sprinkle of magic, last minute inspiration and having to take some elements outs. Not everything I had planned made it to the final design but the most important was to choose elements that worked together, nothing more. And then there is always the “less is more”…
Revealing a commission to a client can be a slightly nerve wracking experience. It is only then that you know if you have met the brief, whether you translated the client’s vision into a reality.
Linda came and said “Wow. Amazing, absolutely fabulous!”. I gave her some cards from the linocut stamps I made and she was thrilled. She is going to frame them!
She can’t wait to show her friends who have already been filled on the special purchase she has just made. She has the biggest smile someone could have when she left so my work is done! I have created happiness!