Monday, January 27, 2014

Custom Work

We find inspiration for creating our works in many ways - our beautiful natural surroundings, taking a workshop or tutorial, through many hours of repetition and when we are forced outside of our comfort zone to do commissioned or custom work.

We find now that much of our work has to be done on a deadline.  We deal with over 15 stores that sell our work now and we try to see them at least twice a year.  This means we have to show them fresh ideas each time.  We really try to have as much as possible, unique designs for each of the stores we sell to that come from the store owners' input.

We also do many custom orders.  At first we were wondering if it was worth our time and effort  and at times we found maybe it wasn't but we always found one idea lead to another.  Sometimes an idea opened up that we had never thought of before resulting in a best seller.

Most of my inspiring work has come as a result of being forced to explore an area of my mind where I hadn't been too much before.  Because my mind isn't the same as my customers', I enjoy getting inside their ideas and creating something that I never would have thought of.  This always helps me expand my horizons.  For example, when I started 10 years ago, most of my bead-work was in the color green.  I didn't realize this until my husband pointed it out to me.  We then started adding some of his colors and then our colors.  I guess working together has opened me up to the idea of working with our customers as well.

Another good thing about doing custom work is that it is already presold and because we have collaborated with the buyer, we know it will be very much appreciated.  Making that special art piece for someone really increases one's artistic self-esteem.

One good example is when we were asked to make a special button that would go along with a new line of fabrics.  I was given little swatches for color samples and told to make a design featuring the landscape of the Kamloops area.

I had no idea as to what the fabrics really looked like as it was kept a secret until the "unveiling".  I wanted to create a scene where we could make quite a few buttons in a similar pattern but where each button would come out somewhat unique.  I experimented with a stacked mokume gane technique and created some samples of a summer type scene representing the Thompson Rivers Valley and the unique dry hills surrounding the area.

After proofing and okaying each stage, via e-mail, I was given the final approval, with much relief.  But then I was asked if I could make some more, but this time create a winter scene?  So back to the drawing board and with some tweaking and adjusting of colors a winter version was born.

Kamloops Button
This button has turned out to be our best single selling item ever.  It is something I could not have seen myself doing without being asked.  It was a struggle both time wise and creatively but I am ever so glad that I was pushed into it.

Kamloops Button - summer scene bag

Kamloops Button - winter scene bag

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