Commissioning a piece of original art may be intimidating if you've never done it before. There’s so many unknowns. Will it look like what you envisioned? How much will it cost? How long does it take? Is the artist you have in mind currently taking on custom requests?
I wouldn’t want any of my customers to feel this way or to rule out custom orders because they’re unsure about the process. Commissioning art can be an enjoyable experience so I thought I’d share how I personally handle commissions and answer some FAQ. A huge part of my handmade business is custom work, so I welcome special requests!
Q: I’m interested in commissioning a wool landscape painting. What do I need to do?
A: Send me a message via Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, or contact form to get the conversation started. If you have a photo you’d like me to use as a reference for the piece, please include that. We'll work out the size, frame choice, deadline, and go from there. Pricing depends on size and complexity of the piece, but a good ballpark budget number for custom felted landscapes is $2 per square inch. For example, an 8x10 scene would typically run $160, which includes the frame.
Q: I saw something in your Etsy shop or Instagram that I liked, but I want it in another color (or a slightly different design, size, etc.).
A: No problem! Nearly all of my jewelry can be customized, and often times the fiber art can be recreated or tweaked to be a specific size, alternate color range, etc.
Q: Do I pay before or after the work is done?
A: 99% of the time I’ll request payment upfront. This goes for jewelry, fiber art, or any other custom orders. Once I’ve received payment, your order will be added to my list and I complete them in order of payment received (unless there’s a specific deadline previously discussed).
Q: Does a custom order cost more?
A: Not necessarily! The price is usually the same, but it may take a few days longer to create, depending on the request and if I need to special order materials.
Q: Do you offer proofs or photos prior to shipping a custom order?
A: I typically don’t do this for custom jewelry, ornaments, or smaller items. However, for the custom wool landscapes, I’m happy to to show you progress pictures upon request.
Q: Do you offer discounts on bulk orders?
A: When it comes to jewelry, yes, I'm happy to work with you on the total price if you're ordering 10 or more pieces. When it comes to the fiber art, the price is firm. Needle felting is a very tedious process and this is the reason my fiber art work never goes on sale online or at events.
Q: The piece I wanted to buy has already sold. Can you make another?
A: Probably so! I don't mind recreating pieces (although they'll always be slightly different than the original because they're handmade). If you see something that's sold, get in touch and I'll let you know if I can recreate something similar.
A quick run down of do’s and don’t when commissioning art:
DON’T commission artists to knock off other artist’s work. It’s not cool, and it’s no fair.
DO ask artists for references or examples of past work if you’re unsure if they’re the right person for the job.
DON’T expect the artist to deliver the finished piece in person, even if they’re local.
DO ask for progress images if you’re particular about the composition, materials, etc.
DON’T be afraid to be specific if you have a certain size, look, or deadline in mind. Share that with the artist from the start so they can accommodate your wishes.
DO allow the artist to do what they do best and embrace their process. The finished piece will surely look different than what you had in your mind, but hopefully it’ll be even better than what you imagined.