Once in a while, fortune does smile; while I didn't sell any canvases at the gallery show, a woman who loved my journals was also busy with the details of her daughter's impending wedding. She commissioned me to create three projects - the guest book, a box for envelopes and a photo album.
Aside from two belts and a bag of jewelry and knowing the colors - ivory and aubergine, she gave me no direction whatsoever. Just do what you do... if you love it, I'll love it. I must admit that, four weeks before the wedding, I was a bit daunted, however, I've never turned away from a challenge.
I purchased a 9 x 12 sketch book, blank photo album and pulled a cigar box from my stash. I'd like to say that it was a breeze, but any artist who has ever had a commission with a deadline knows better.
I started on the guest book. The background was not a problem, of course, that's always my favorite part - gluing, sponging, dabbing, adding more layers.... The belt buckle decided to be the centerpiece, since no photos were to be used. I extracted it from the leather and ground the stems down, made a sheet of paper for petals and designed the rest of the cover.
I couldn't find a guest book, or journal even, with lined pages - so we (my hero-hubby Jim) printed them out and I learned just how difficult it is to glue paper to paper, evenly and without smudges. I used a jar of Yes!, recommended by a friend, and for that I was thankful - no rippling or bubbles.
I had a piece left over from the bride's dress alteration and it seemed the perfect focal point for the box cover. After I had decided on the concept, it occurred to me that the box would be open during its use, so on to more design.
I chose a cigar box because I usually use reclaimed pieces; making functional art, however, is entirely different from working on canvas. I found that adding paint didn't leave enough clearance for the lid to open and close - at all - much less smoothly. I shaved away enough of the inside of the lid for it to work, thankfully without losing the hinges.
The photo album was the easiest piece, so I'm very happy that I saved it for last, though there always seemed to be just one more detail... I was immersed for three weeks, putting all else aside, like blog posting and visiting, staying in touch with friends, cooking and laundry.
The client was extremely pleased when I delivered what felt like a chunk of my life; the wedding was this past Saturday and I never did meet the bride, but now that they've debuted publicly I wanted to share.