Friday, February 13, 2009

Custom Design

I love to get special orders from customers. It's easy when they request a previously sold item, or if they want something in a different color. But sometimes, custom orders can be particularly challenging if the customer really doesn't know what they want. They give me a few guidelines, but ultimately tell me that I'm the artist, and to use my best judgment. I don't know why this intimidates me so much. I design things from scratch all the time without anxiety. I guess it's because if I make something on my own, and it doesn't turn out like I'd plan, I just scrap it and move on. But when there is a customer on the other end waiting for some fabulous creation, I really feel the pressure. It's good for me, though. I have to force myself to be inspired, even when there is no inspiration there.

Recently, I was asked to make a pendant (a gift for the customer's wife) using birthstone colors for three different months. One of the months also happened to be their wedding anniversary. First, I had to check the months and see if I even had glass similar to these colors. Thankfully, I lucked out there. I had three transparent colors similar to amethyst, ruby, and blue sapphire. The colors would have looked better in opaques, but the closest stained glass store is an hour away. So I used what I had. The next step was to design a pendant that would combine the three colors in an attractive way. I've done two-piece pendants before, but never three. I tend to avoid multi-pieces in general because smoothing out the solder between glass pieces is very difficult. So this was definitely a challenge.

Attempt #1

The overlapping rings were to represent the wedding anniversary. I felt like it was a clever idea, but it ended up looking too cluttered, especially with all of the uneven solder seams underneath. I could tell that I just wasn't "feeling" this pendant, because the craftsmanship wasn't quite up to par, and it didn't really represent my signature style. So I scrapped it and tried again.

Attempt #2

This second one felt more like me. The shapes are more modern, and my soldering was much smoother. I scrapped the "rings" idea altogether and just went for spirals. I decided that I shouldn't try to cram too much symbolism into one pendant. In the end, what matters is that the customer is happy, AND that it looks pretty around the recipient's neck.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is very pretty; you did a great job on it...your customer should be very pleased.