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Commissioning an Artisan

We've all been there - you're looking for something a little bit specific and you just can't find quite the right piece, whether it's for a gift that has special meaning, or something particular to add the finishing touch to your home decor. But have you thought of commissioning an Artisan to create just the right thing? Many of our Artisans are happy to take on commissions and view them as a particularly special and interesting part of their practices. Dave Hunt, a vintage photographer who offers portrait sittings says, “One huge personal aspect of my portrait sessions is opportunity to work with others. Working as a creative can be a solitary existence which many thrive on, but I find that I need a certain level of human interaction to keep me inspired.

“As my style of work is more personally emotive than the traditional work of todays typical studio or lifestyle portrait photographer, it means that the connection between myself and my subject is on a deeper level. When my subjects are able to share in the experience of creating an image using a vintage process with a physical print that they can hold at the end of the session, it always gives us a sense of artistic achievement — it’s something that I have never felt with modern photography, where much of the creative post session work is done without the customer being present.

“My commissioned work has included various individual personal portraits of all ages from children to adults, couples, artists at work, and also folk wanting a private memento of a landmark period in their lives. I have also captured the odd pet which is a real challenges as the subject needs to sit still for several minutes — lots of doggie treats held just off camera!

“I appreciate that my style is not for everyones taste but those that do like it are often moved by the whole experience where the final images have a much deeper personal connection.”

Charles Harris, an artist who offers pencil portrait, feels similarly. "With my drawing I want to bring light back into people’s lives,” he says. “I seek to draw a human form that is so convincing three dimensionally, and as strong tonally, that it reaches out to try to touch the magic of life itself. Not just the light of life in the eyes; or the softness of the flesh in a face, or that wonder of a smile. There is also an unspoken language which occurs between the sitter and the artist, which offers a natural truth, and makes visual understanding clear. Even on the greyest possible day, I always seek to create that natural magic through light, endeavouring to make the sitter's own lives appear on the page for them in a beautiful and real way.

"One of the many benefits of my portrait drawings is that you obtain an image of the life of the person. Always worked directly from life, they record the time and the magic of that moment, but also hold a lasting connection with time which does not date, but remains fresh and real.”

Other Artisans may not take portraits, but offer to create special, one-of-a-kind pieces made especially for their client. Jeweller Derek Allen is one of these. He says, “Taking commissions for someones special occasion is both exciting and challenging and ultimately very rewarding when you finally present the finished design.”

Louise Nowell says much the same, ”A felt art painting of a particular scene or location, or a particular subject matter, can make a very personal, meaningful birthday, Christmas or anniversary gift for a loved one.”

Sometimes a commission can even inspire the future work of an Artisan. Laura Woods initially created her first blackbird sculpture as a commissioned piece, intended as a gift. Although she'd not previously made a blackbird, she was very happy to work on a new design for the customer. Blackbird sculptures by Laura are now available on Perthshire Artisans, all thanks to her openness in taking commissions!

Other commissions are much more broad in nature. Painter Andrew Hunter created the gallery wall pictured below as a special commission. “The owner of this house, which was recently completed and is a few miles from me, asked me to look at filling a wall with art,” he explains. “He had none — the house is very contemporary and scandi in style — so it came to 28 paintings in all. The brief was ‘subject matter like your website’ but no funky chickens or West Coast. I also said no frames as they would distract — I had all the panels made by Aberfeldy Workshop.”

So the next time you are looking for something that’s just right, consider asking an Artisan to make it just for you, and give a gift or proudly display a piece of art that no on else has!

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