Commission work is fraught with potential pitfalls for an artist. What if the customer doesn't like the finished artwork?
As you can see, a finished piece of art can look quite a bit different than a photo. My style of art is called Naif. Those that know my style of art tend to love the custom pieces I make, as did the owner of this left handed yarn bowl.
When I am asked for a custom yarn bowl that shows pets (without names added), I forgo the customary practice of up-front fees. It has not happened yet, but if a person decided that she/he did not want to buy the finished yarn bowl, then I could easily sell the yarn bowl to someone else. Animals are just adorable and my yarn bowls sell pretty quickly. My system of "no up-front fee" on a commission has worked well up to now.
When a person asks for a custom yarn bowl, I take the order with several photos. Sometimes I need different views to get a full idea of what the pet looks like when I pose them on a yarn bowl. From that point on, it can take 4 to 10 weeks before the owner gets an email with a photo of the completed yarn bowl.
It can take some time to get a piece that you've ordered. I have to mull over the different animal poses and faces to capture the look on the yarn bowl. Once I decide on how to create the art, I still need to accommodate the clay when I schedule the time to sculpt. I make a bowl from clay, let it dry to just the right hardness, trim the foot into the bowl, alter the bowl, and then I sculpt the animal(s) onto the bowl before the bowl dries too much. It can get to be quite the balancing act. I've had to recycle pieces (turned back into wet clay) because the clay of the bowl became too dry during a sculpting session. Wet clay on dry clay doesn't stay well. The sculpted clay section could just crack or it could pop off of the bowl. This balancing act of “not too wet/not too dry” is part of why I charge more for custom work.
The other reason for custom work charges is that a piece could get ruined in the glazing. The thing about ceramics that no one tells you is: glaze is not like paint. To get a glaze color on ceramic, there are five variables to every glaze: the clay body, the heat work and cool down rates, the firing atmosphere, the thickness of glaze application, and the glaze ingredients. We clay artists can never really know for a certainty how a glaze will react in the kiln. We think we might know, and past experience has shown us a thing or two, but then there’s that one firing where everything will go wrong with a glaze.
So, a custom piece usually means a brand new combination of glaze work. What glazes will give me the effect I'm seeking? Will they play well together, or will they reject each other and "crawl"? Etc., etc. If a piece gets ruined in glazing, it is subjected to a hammer. And the work starts all over from the very beginning. This is the reason that I do not offer status reports on custom work. There is no need to upset you with a report of "had to hammer the piece and start over".
Despite all of the perils in making a custom piece, I still love commission work. The enjoyment I have making a beloved pet come alive on a yarn bowl, and the joy a patron has upon opening the package, make the challenges well worth overcoming. Thank You to everyone who asks, or has asked, for a custom yarn bowl from me, Cindy Douglass. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to use my talent productively.
I grew up just outside of a small village near the ocean. The holy cows in the pasture drank their water from claw foot tubs, dreams were launched to the stars, and fairy tales came true.
I've just realized that my art strongly reflects the influences of my childhood home!
So I listed my XL yarn bowl. Here's what the photo looked like:
Pretty, right? But how can anyone tell what size it is? I have written the dimensions in the listing. ( 7" high x 9" across). I tell you that it holds a one pound skein of yarn. That sounds uhm, medium size, maybe?
Yet, when people get this yarn bowl, they are usually blown away by how BIG it is. So, I came up with an idea. I'm going to show how big it is!
This XL Yarn Bowl can hold seven cans of veggies.
Nine paperback books fit into this Cindy Douglass XL Yarn Bowl.
Twelve boxes fit in this yarn bowl. Ok, That's twelve 4" x 4" x 4" boxes flattened, but that counts, right? There are TWELVE of them in this bowl!
And there are 20 music CDs shown in this XL Cindy Douglass yarn bowl.
I hope this helps give you an idea of the size and dimensions of my extra large yarn bowls.
It kind of amazed me how much will fit into one of these yarn bowls!
You can find a Cindy Douglass Extra Large Yarn Bowl here.
Here's an idea for a nice day trip this weekend: You can see some of my work at Twisted Laurel Gallery located at 221 Locust St in Spruce Pine, NC.
I hope that every American is enjoying this birthday of our nation.
This 15" platter will be at the Joara Pottery Festival in Morganton, NC.
My father was huge into computers back when people thought computers were just a sci fi story feature.
Dad wanted me to "go into computers". I fought it a very long time.
"Computer robots will do the factory jobs better than humans." Dad said with enthusiam.
Lately, I've been going through some emotional changes. At the same time, I seem to be drawn to making clay bottles and jars. I call this phase "Looking for answers in a bottle".
I had a whole series of clay bottles made. They were really lovely. They were lost in a bag wall collapse in a recent wood kiln firing. It was sad, but I luckily I still have a lot of questions on my mind. So look for more bottles from me in the future.
One clay bottle was placed in a different part of the kiln. It survived. I am so very happy about this one!
If you are into totem animals, octopi is said to represent spirituality.
This octopus jar stands about 19 inches high. The mottling on the octopus color is an artistic blend of three different glazes. The suction sections are a creamy white with a blush of pink.
The clay bottle has been treated with oxide stains to create the impression of rust. Computer motherboard style runs adorn the jar. Industrial type hardware suggestions in clay also complement the look.
This clay bottles hints at answers in the abundant white glaze that runs from the lip of the jar.
This is a beautiful piece of ceramic art, and is available for purchase at
Xanadu Gallery .
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