The pleasure and anxiety of working to comission!

This week I have been enjoying catching up on a number of commissions.  Some have been in the pipeline for a while, others are the result of discussions held with visitors to the Wimbledon Open Studios last month.

It is a wonderful experience to be creating a special piece for somebody and yet, at the same time, it is slightly daunting.  For much of my work to date, the only person that I have had to please has been myself.  I have been completely free to make decisions about how tall, how wide, how much to scrape back and so on.  I have not really had to think too much about whether one particular person will like it, as long as somebody does, that’s ok.  Theoretically the same goes when you are working to someone else’s contract.  You are the artist.  They are paying you to do what you do.  Yet there is a huge responsibility to get it just right for them and this does add to the pressure.

There is a huge responsibility to get it just right

This week, one of the pieces I have been focussing on is a wedding present.  I cannot say much about it, just in case it blows the element of surprise.  What I can say is that there is something delightful about making a piece which will be a permanent reminder of a very special event.  All the time that I have been with it I have been conscious of an awareness of the people for whom I am making it; those who have commissioned it and also those who will be the recipients.  This has guided every movement.  Will they like the way the line flows there?  Will that edge excite them when they realise what they can see beyond it?  If I remove this line and smooth that down a bit, will it be more evocative of the place, the time, the memory which was imagined in the initial concept?

Will that edge excite them?

Now that these pieces are in the kiln I find that I am more excited than ever to get back and see how they have come out.  I am longing to give them to the people who asked for them and to watch their expressions.  They think they know what they are getting but they have had to trust me with their memories, their emotions, their special places and that has made me feel extremely privileged.  I just hope that I can prove myself worthy of that trust.

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