I am heading to a wedding this weekend. It is a family wedding and therefore, I was recruited to make decorated sugar cookies. Now, the wedding is a black and white wedding – so I had great ideas for the cookies. I thought heart and circle shaped cookies with black and white swirl designs would be quite elegant. But, I was given a set of cookie cutters to use as well as some other specifics. I complied even though I knew that my ideas would have been prettier.
As I was making the cookies, I was musing about commission orders. There are two kinds of good commission orders. One is when a client wants to purchase a pot that you make regularly – this is very affirming and usually do-able. The second is when a client wants a pot that you don’t make but the request inspires you, makes you stretch, or try some new ideas.
Then there is the bad commission. This is an order that is beyond what you do or what you want to do. A bad commission can have parameters that won’t work because you know your abilities and you know your materials (clay body, firing capability, and glaze characteristics). If you can keep from being drawn into a commission that isn’t a good fit for you, you can avoid a lot of frustration and keep from making work that is below your standard.
“You know the old adage that the customer’s always right? Well, I kind of think that the opposite is true. The customer is rarely right. And that is why you must seize the control of the circumstance and dominate every last detail: to guarantee that they’re going to have a far better time than they ever would have had if they tried to control it themselves.” Charlie Trotter (chef)