The 800 Pound Gorilla, Let’s Get Him Out of the Room!

Hello again.  This is Part II of “How to Talk to an Artist,” a blog series about wanting a special something custom made just for you.  Last time, we spoke about having the confidence to approach an artist to ask for a custom order.  Today, let’s talk about making that order! moons1

Since I am an artisan jeweler, I am going to use jewelry as my example, but this would be true if you wanted to order any custom art, painting, sculpture, glasswork, pottery, woodwork, any art!

So what is stopping you from asking for that order?  Well there is an 800 pound Gorilla in the room, and that is price.  It seems to be the biggest hurdle for both customer and artist to jump through, and often stops an order before it begins.Goldsyn3

My thought on this, from an artist’s point of view, is to discuss this first and foremost, even before hearing what the custom order is going to be.  Most often, a customer has an idea of what s/he is willing to spend on something for themselves.  For example, I got an order the other day, where the customer says, I really always wanted a gold bracelet, a big cuff that has a flared shape, and is about 2 inches wide, with a pretty wavy pattern on it.  So I asked her, what did she think it would cost for something like that, and she answered that she thought that would be about $200. Brasscuff1 Unfortunately, if that were to be made with gold, the material alone would have been approximately $1400 with gold prices the way they are.  But instead of discouraging her, I mentioned some ways she could get the look she wanted, using gold-filled metal or gold plated metal, and perhaps she could be happy if the cuff were 1.5 inches to 1.75 inches wide.  I would make a prototype in brass, and she could see, or maybe she would like it in brass, which is a gold tone.    But because price was out in the open, it became fun to discuss the possibilities!  She made an order, and ended up paying $225.00 for a gold-filled metal bracelet that was 1.5 inches wide, and she couldn’t be happier.

In other words, we found a way to fulfill her desire!  And it wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable!

What do you think about this?  From either an artist’s point of view or from a customer’s perspective?  Are you willing to talk about pricing first?  Let me know in the comments section what you think!

Cheers!  Lynne

SilverSpiral Creations

 

How to Talk to an Artist Part 1

So you want a beautiful, personalized piece of art.  Maybe it is art jewelry, maybe a painting, pottery, sculpture, or other art.  You want it to be unique, your own, and perhaps you need it to be affordable.  Some of us are lucky enough to not have to worry about cost, but let’s face it–for most of us, cost is a huge considerationfuschiadruzy

So how do you convey that to an artist?  If you are like me, speaking with an artist can be a bit intimidating.  You have an idea of what you want–so you wonder, “can they make it?”  “Will it be in a price range I can handle?”  “What if the artist doesn’t really understand me, and s/he creates it, and I don’t like it?”  “If the price quote is too high, I will feel embarrassed if I have to tell him/her that it is too expensive for me.”

These are all very good and very real questions and concerns.  I can’t speak for all artists, but perhaps I can tell you how I feel about these questions and what works for me.  I will tackle all of these questions and issues over the nflowerdome2ext several blogs, and I invite artisans and customers alike to comment and add to these thoughts.

So let’s tackle the first question.  “I want _________ art.  Can you make it?”   When you approach me for art jewelry, I love it when you start with “I have always wanted….Can you make that?”  As an artist, I will want to know many things about what you are thinking.  I will often ask for a quick sketch or outline, so I know the shape, the concept, and proportions.  I will ask if there is a color stone or jewel in mind.  I would want to know what you would wear their jewelry for, or what wardrobe you want it to be paired with.

I want to know what color metal you want-_ silver, brass or copper, or maybe even gold…Then I want to know the price range you would want to pay for that piece.  Do you want me to take artistic “license” with the piece, or do you have a very specific design.  And if so, I need lots more detail.  Most of my customers want me to take artistic license and that can be both fun and scary!  Etsy-Feb

So this is how, as an artist, I see the first question.  I don’t want anyone to ever feel intimidated.  I welcome questions and inquiries.  And if it is something I cannot make, I will be the first to tell you that, and hopefully I could refer you to someone who can.  Also, if your ideal piece cannot fit into your price range, there may be other alternatives to give you what you are looking for.  It’s all about working together, and communication!

In the next blog, we will discuss price ranges, how this topic is so often uncomfortable, and perhaps explore strategies to make this a satisfactory discussion for both artist and customer.  We will discuss how price can often seem like a barrier, and how this might be overcome…Until then–have a wonderful week!

Lynne SilverSpiral Creations Website Here