Have you ever had a customer that loves your work so much it just lifts your spirits every time you have a conversation with them? I did. He purchased a pendant for his wife and from then on when we spoke he urged me to make earrings to match.
When I started producing in my workshop people came out of the woodwork with ideas and commissions they wanted me to make. While this was flattering, I took a step back and decided against it. If I was 20 and just starting out I would have considered this a great way to build up a client base. As I'm now over 50 I chose to spend time in my laundry making what I like. Yes, I am the world's worst business woman, however, I figure if I produce a piece that someone likes, and they go on to buy it, I have achieved something by making an object of beauty/desire.
I had many discussions with the client mentioned above about the Moonah earrings pictured to the left. In the end he thought they would be too heavy for his wife. In one email he urged: "Any chance of you making a pair of ‘stud’ earrings...featuring two or even three Moonah seed pods...?" My response was I'll let you know if or when I make them.
The last time I met my client was at the QUARK Market on a Friday night and he was still trying to convince me to make smaller earrings. On a quiet market night he lifted my spirits and breezed in like a breath of fresh air.
The next day he died.
I did not make the new earrings as a belated commission, rather I made them as a tribute to my persistent client. There is nothing more complimentary than someone who likes your work, even better, who chooses it to give to the person they love, in this case his wife. So I made the earrings for her, inspired by him. A tributary pair, if you like, quite simply to a person I didn't know that well, yet, who managed to lift my spirits and build my confidence.