Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Bird in the Hand or Show Me the Money

Design Wall with New Project
I have been really busy lately. This is the "Year of Taking Myself Seriously as an Artist," so I have been putting in a lot of studio time working on my new series. I have also been working hard on my Visioning Project goal, the development of marketing tools such as a website, paper portfolio and this blog. I just submitted an application for a solo show this summer and am working on my entry for the SAQA, No Place to Call Home show. So, when my friend Kim asked me if I would accept a commission, I had to think a minute, "Yes," well actually... "HECK YES!" Every artist gets a major ego boost when their work is admired in a show, but the greatest form of flattery is making a sale.

Freezer Paper Pattern
Now Kim has been a great client over the past several years. She has ordered numerous quilted collages for gifts, and even commissioned a quilt for her mother-in-law, (now there's a gal with a golden heart), but she has never ordered anything for herself. Some artists aren't fond of commissions because clients can be too picky or they feel confined in their creative process, but Kim told me to do whatever I wanted and actually said, "surprise me." Her only request was to ask if I would include a little bit of a certain shade of green somewhere in the piece. Like I said, what a gal!

Center Medallion Taking Shape
Kim has a fizzy personality and a great sense of humor. She rides a motorcycle in her spare time, so I really wanted the piece to reflect her personal style. I came up with a color palette that I thought was perky, making sure to include her celery green. The major passion in her life during the past few years has been the ongoing restoration of the family homestead in rural Ohio. Wanting to make the work personally meaningful, I decided on the idea of making her home the centerpiece of the work. I asked her for a couple of photographs and enlarged one into a pattern. Next I searched my stash for potential fabrics and placed them on the design board to peruse for a few days before making the final selections.

Homeplace IV: Redfield
I also felt that the piece needed some natural fauna, since Kim is a country girl that likes to garden. I started the quilt before the leaves were out on the trees, so I fished a few leaves out of my pond and used them to make heliographic and cyanotype prints. The piece was quilted and a few beaded embellishments were added. Coincidentally, this piece fit nicely into my new Homeplace series and became Homeplace IV: Redfield. I presented the finished work to Kim this week and she was thrilled to pieces (no pun intended) and actually cried. The next day she let me know that her family was also moved. Kim says she knows that if her father was still living, he would be thrilled too. How much more gratification does an artist need? She even paid her bill.


  1. Wow, Sue that is fantastic. You just keeping getting better and more creative everyday, Your pieces have a soul and life to them. I am impressed.

  2. I feel so Privilege for sue to do this piece.She is a true great Artist I knew when I told her to Surprise me I knew it would be great. Sue has done many Items for me,and everytime they have been great.Yes I did cry when she showed me this piece.It had so much meaning too me.Sue wil never know how special it is my dad Built the house 1950.Was born on the land it sits on 1916 so this is a piece that will be handle down, I know if my dad was here today he would be very proud of the wall hanging and would show it off just like I do know THANK YOU SUE FROM YOUR FRIEND AND CLIENT KIM HARDIN