Suz Larson – Member Spotlight
About commissions…We have heard over and over again that when we’ve put glass in a show and even if we don’t get sales, we’ve got our name out there and sooner or later, we hope, someone will remember our name and get back to us. We say, “yeah, yeah, yeah,” and we all know it’s not going to happen!
Four or five years ago, I had a glass show at Charley Hafen’s Gallery, and a few weeks ago someone came by recently who remembered me from that show. He has commissioned a piece by me. What’s great about it is it’s a very challenging piece, as he’s written a poem for his wife, and he wants me to make a glass picture frame for it. He wanted me to read the poem, be inspired be it, and then be creative. He wants my creativity, not to tell me just what to do. This is uncommon in a commission. Some artists charge extra for a commission, due to the hassle factor. Five designs later, you’re still going back and forth. I don’t need to charge him extra for this. I had him come over to see examples of my glass, talk about and show me the colors of the room it’ll go into. However, I will come up with some designs and have him look at them before I flick the switch on the kiln. I insisted on this, in order to ensure that he really loves the work.
Because I haven’t done art for a long time, this commission was a good kick-start to get me back into the studio and creating glass art again. It’s been hard for me to return to the studio after so long. I was able to put some samples in the kiln and turn the kiln on—but there was a hesitation, because once you flip the switch on the kiln, you’re officially making something. Before you turn the kiln on, you’re just playing, fooling around, you haven’t committed. Flipping the switch is a commitment that I was nervous about making, but I reminded myself that I was just doing samples, taking the edges off shattered pieces of works (never refuse to re-fuse). I reminded myself that I wasn’t actually making something, so it was OK.
This will be a fascinating piece as I’m stepping out of the box with glass curving into the poem which is about stones and pathways, and so I want the curves go as a path does. I’m challenging myself in a way that I haven’t for a very long time with glass. It’s exciting, and also as an artist, because I work in a variety of media: assemblage, clay, and glass and I’m now finally comfortable enough with glass to say yes to this commission.
Sales…At the Patrick Moore show, I had several pieces, including several repurposed ones and one new one. I priced them way too high, but got a lot of fabulous feedback. I hadn’t been in a show for a while and just took numbers out of my head instead of thinking, do you want to sell this? In Utah??? I believe that if I had priced them reasonably, I would have had a sale or two.
Getting feedback from the public is important.
Creativity & Collaboration…Our creativity is by and large solitary in our studios. There are a few of us that have the opportunity to collaborate and certainly when we get together at the meetings, we have our community and there’s verbal/mental collaboration. For those of us who are lucky enough to share studio space, like Dan, there’s a collaborative effort there, even if they’re not working on the same piece. The collaboration process is brilliant! It’s not easy to collaborate. You have to completely drop the possessiveness about your ideas and the power plays and everybody has to be open to suggestion. If someone says, well, why don’t you use vanilla or move it over two inches, you try that or maybe compromise. That’s the flow that comes with two personalities and creativities that can work together, and you can’t do that with everybody.
|When Mary Young isn’t working on glass, she’s making the worlds most delicious chocolates! Mary also serves as the Glass Art Guild Secretary.|