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I said for and you said with.  Big difference.  Working with others to accomplish a mutual goal is a fantastic experience.  It's even the best part of a regular job.  Taking a commission at a specified price is working for someone.  Everyone may not agree with that.  Answer me this, then.  If the project came out much better than you thought it would, could you ask for more money?  The buyer would be surprised by that, I think.   

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But you couls

2 hours ago, liambesaw said:

I'm in it because I like making pottery, i don't mind working with someone else to make something fantastic.  I like challenges and exploring new ideas and feel like collaborating with someone else is a great way to get that exposure.

Money important, but it's not the driving force behind everything I do.  If I come to a time where I am bored with making things for other people I'll just make stuff for myself too 

But you could be spending that time developing the body instead of the mind immersed in recycling that hump of clay hee hee...

 

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51 minutes ago, CactusPots said:

I said for and you said with.  Big difference.  Working with others to accomplish a mutual goal is a fantastic experience.  It's even the best part of a regular job.  Taking a commission at a specified price is working for someone.  Everyone may not agree with that.  Answer me this, then.  If the project came out much better than you thought it would, could you ask for more money?  The buyer would be surprised by that, I think.   

The only difference between for and with is your attitude toward the transaction.  As a person you can choose to bail on a job or customer at any time for any reason.  If you're rejecting custom work outright you're not differentiating between working for and working with someone, you are just assuming you'll have a bad experience so why bother.

Like if you reject something because it's not interesting or doesn't really appeal to you, or you think it'll be too hard, or that the customer is going to be really fussy and doesn't really know what they're talking about, that's fine. But to just reject everything outright seems like wasted opportunity to me.

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3 hours ago, liambesaw said:

The only difference between for and with is your attitude toward the transaction.  As a person you can choose to bail on a job or customer at any time for any reason.  If you're rejecting custom work outright you're not differentiating between working for and working with someone, you are just assuming you'll have a bad experience so why bother.

Like if you reject something because it's not interesting or doesn't really appeal to you, or you think it'll be too hard, or that the customer is going to be really fussy and doesn't really know what they're talking about, that's fine. But to just reject everything outright seems like wasted opportunity to me.

I can’t tell you how many folks I chased for money working for them building things. Million dollar things! Having said that there are risks working for and with and to be successful I needed to take those risks and deal with them.  As a compromise to that we occasionally just make one off ceramic things, sets etc.... and sign them. If they like it they buy it, we will never make another identical. In this way we are in total control and the buyer can reject it in advance.   Commission issues are the worst as each party has an expectation and feels they are correct. And of course there are many whose expectations never can be met. My wife had someone that was not pleased with a portrait commissioned from a picture for her husband. The complaint? The portrait did not make her look young enough. Her husband was ok as my wife was able to take 15 years off him by imagination but her not enough.

In the end, it is the risk of the job and there are unrealistic expectations out there. It sure did make me appreciate those that I could  strike a deal  with a handshake though. Far and few is all I will say.

Edited by Bill Kielb
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So weird, maybe because I make custom items all day every day for my normal job I'm used to it or something but I very rarely ever have anyone have unrealistic expectations or be rude or whatever.  Have yet to run into that with pottery too and I've done quite a few commissions now.   Seems like a lot of those problems can be easily mitigated with good communication

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Retirement's nice!

Ahem, well, last phase of working life involved software. The first stop was all custom - one off system for each production line, control ("Level I"), production recording and SCADA ("Level II"). I could put on my PPE and get right to our customers - the women and men that run the production lines in the sheet mill - in a few minutes. I loved it! If I had to pick, best job I ever had - over working with other people's kids, a very close one ...only because it paid, else I'd still be working, boy howdy (I loved working with kids tho'). I'm so glad I've had such a range of experience (an' it ain't over yet!).

The other Automation Engineers didn't seem to like working with Operations much; working with Automation and Production management more their style. blah blah blah… I still believe the way to get it done is lay it, the reqs, all out to the users - the people actually running the line - give them time to mull it over, then incorporate their feedback, develop, test, roll it out, and hang right there with them along the way; that way we're all in it together. It has to happen, might as well make it work, with and for the people who make product. Problem being that aforementioned management gets all pissed off, lol! They quiet down when things work, much as they want to push Operations around and tell them what to do. Idiots. There's no report, software, system, etc. that makes money at that place; it makes one thing that $ells: steel.

All that to say there's satisfaction in making things that do the job well and "right" whilst building in what the people want and need, especially where the user is the expert.

On t'other hand, there are those who just can't or won't get down to specific nitty gritty details, it's all "Just do it" then "That's wrong" afterward.

Finally, I do have two commissions limping along right now. One is great, a set of these - something I already make, no specific reqs, just a "set" of, great! ...and the client doesn't care if they match up perfectly - just likes the features I incorporate in that form, about this size... The other is a thing I don't make, it's big, involves putting together ten to twelve thrown parts, hence design and testing. On top o'that, here's a prototype, then, I'm thinking bigger, kinda this, maybe that, wish, wash, hahaha ...won't do a sketch, can't or won't be specific. Here's second prototype, well this, maybe that, thinking of a different color clay... The pewter lining on the second one - got some folks who want the prototypes, so there's that, I've learned some, and developed some skill too.

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1 hour ago, Hulk said:

Retirement's nice!

Ahem, well, last phase of working life involved software. The first stop was all custom - one off system for each production line, control ("Level I"), production recording and SCADA ("Level II"). I could put on my PPE and get right to our customers - the women and men that run the production lines in the sheet mill - in a few minutes. I loved it! If I had to pick, best job I ever had - over working with other people's kids, a very close one ...only because it paid, else I'd still be working, boy howdy (I loved working with kids tho'). I'm so glad I've had such a range of experience (an' it ain't over yet!).

The other Automation Engineers didn't seem to like working with Operations much; working with Automation and Production management more their style. blah blah blah… I still believe the way to get it done is lay it, the reqs, all out to the users - the people actually running the line - give them time to mull it over, then incorporate their feedback, develop, test, roll it out, and hang right there with them along the way; that way we're all in it together. It has to happen, might as well make it work, with and for the people who make product. Problem being that aforementioned management gets all pissed off, lol! They quiet down when things work, much as they want to push Operations around and tell them what to do. Idiots. There's no report, software, system, etc. that makes money at that place; it makes one thing that $ells: steel.

All that to say there's satisfaction in making things that do the job well and "right" whilst building in what the people want and need, especially where the user is the expert.

On t'other hand, there are those who just can't or won't get down to specific nitty gritty details, it's all "Just do it" then "That's wrong" afterward.

Finally, I do have two commissions limping along right now. One is great, a set of these - something I already make, no specific reqs, just a "set" of, great! ...and the client doesn't care if they match up perfectly - just likes the features I incorporate in that form, about this size... The other is a thing I don't make, it's big, involves putting together ten to twelve thrown parts, hence design and testing. On top o'that, here's a prototype, then, I'm thinking bigger, kinda this, maybe that, wish, wash, hahaha ...won't do a sketch, can't or won't be specific. Here's second prototype, well this, maybe that, thinking of a different color clay... The pewter lining on the second one - got some folks who want the prototypes, so there's that, I've learned some, and developed some skill too.

It's the same with these carafes, I've spent 2 weeks developing them with the customers input, made some sketches and prototypes, got feedback, adjusted and now am at a point where even if he doesn't end up selling 20 a month like he proposed, they are something that I know will sell well. During all of this shaking and baking, I've already had people contact me to ask where to buy them and could see them selling really well in person with a matching set of mugs.  All because I decided to answer a random DM about a commission, even though I've been warned to steer far clear. ;)

It's been a lot of work, but if everything continues to blossom that is an extra 12,000 a year in income and I can deal with that (especially now that I can and have been making between 3 and 5 a night).

 

Edited by liambesaw
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I think with commissions it really depends on wether or not you actually Ike doing that kind of work. Some people hate doing shows. Commissions are just another way of working and exercising your skills and talents. Some people find commissions rewarding way of working. It can offer interesting puzzles to solve, it frequently adds to your skill set, and when the customer is happy you look like a mystical wizard with untold wondrous skills. That's a HUGE ego boost! 

I think that if you’ve got your pricing structure worked out properly, you’re not going to wish you’d charged more, because you’ll have delivered something you expected to. If the client begins changing the parameters in the middle of the job, as a service provider you have an obligation to renegotiate things on paper. That covers your ass so everything is agreed upon, and includes any possible price increases. See? Communication!

 

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Custom orders, or one offs, or gallery pieces were where I started. As an art teacher, that is what we taught in most of the other classes. If a student painted, drew, printed, sculpted, or other forms of art, they were one of a kind or custom. 

I taught art, but then I did teach craft also.  We had a Jewelry and Metalcraft class, and Ceramics classes. In these, we mostly did one of a kind also, biggest restraint here was time. We just did not have the time to make more than one of each type of piece. However, as students moved from Ceramics I to Ceramics II they realized that I had something different in mind for their projects. . . . repetition! Oh how they hated that concept. I made them decide what sort of form they were going to throw, and what it would look like in sketches, and then they had to make a series of them for their project. Ouch! Most of them hated the idea in the beginning, but then by the time they completed a series they began to understand that it was about improving their skills on the wheel. . .If they could only do the form once, was it the best it could be or was it a fluke? Problematic, but got the point thru to them that I was really testing their resolve.

Myself, I still wonder about custom jobs, and have found that when I had a weak moment and took one on that it usually took double or triple the time that I had to do a regular piece that I usually did. So over the years, I have taken on fewer and fewer of these "one offs". I say this as just yesterday a woman asked if I did "Steeler mugs" hmmmm, I was in a restaurant where they had some of my mugs for sale, and used some for folks looking for a cup of coffee.  She looked at them and I told her no, I did not do "Steeler mugs).  Walked away proud of myself, if a little confused about what a "Steeler mug" would really entail. Then I thought to myself, forget it!

 

 

best,

PRes 

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