Advice from Local Experts on Commissioning Custom Pieces for Your Home
Commissioning a custom, one-of-a-kind element for your home can be the cherry on top to any room design. We called in the experts to share their tips on how to work with artists and artisans to get the perfect piece.
When considering a one-of-a-kind painting or any creative media regardless of medium or genre, it’s advisable to visit local art galleries in your community. The Chattanooga area is home to many talented artists who express themselves in a variety of ways. Once you find an artist whose style, medium, and method is what you are seeking, it’s recommended that you meet with the artist to discuss the creative project you have in mind. Perhaps the artist will present a portfolio of their work and a resume listing their exhibition record and gallery representation. It’s optional, but artists may, if requested by the prospective client, provide references. For those seeking an individual or family portrait, it’s always in the best interest of both parties if the artist is able to become acquainted with the subject being portrayed.
When choosing metal work, as with any “custom” business trade, I would ask myself if the person who I was considering answers his or her phone when I call. Communication is really the key factor with any custom work because of the high level of detail involved. Another important question to ask would be regarding the schedule and when the product would be installed. I would also ask how long of a warranty I get with any product. It’s important to make sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to pricing, service, and quality.
Stacy Beaty, Beaty Fabricating & Ornamental Iron
I would consider the process of creating a commission piece an exciting one between the artist and the client. It’s an effort to create a unique piece of furniture for the client. A few things I would keep in mind when ordering a unique one-off piece would be the style of the artist. Does the style of the artist or craftsman fit with the style of the piece you are wanting commissioned? I like to ask clients for a few pictures of what they have in mind and then build a piece that I think fits their expectations. Just remember it’s a creative process, and the final piece may not look just like the picture!
Rig Burger, Rig Burger Designs
When commissioning a custom piece of furniture or woodwork, there are several things to consider. The first is style. Choose a style that won’t go out of fashion. Traditional, arts and crafts, country, or modern are all great options, but try to follow what pleases you. Next is quality of workmanship. Finally, pick a species of wood that is of the highest quality, such as walnut, cherry, maple, white oak, heart pine, or mahogany. Remember that investing in quality wood is not usually the major cost in your project – it’s the labor. The quality of your project will be remembered long after the cost of the piece is forgotten. Support your local craftsmen, and spend your money where it will come back into the local economy. Consider these decisions carefully, and invest in fine goods that will outlast you.
Bill Carney, Chattanooga Woodworking Academy
When choosing an art piece, I recommend finding what you like personally – not what’s trendy. Also, if possible, try to meet the artist in person. If you’re able to understand their quirks and their approach to making their work, it adds to the story and depth of the object.
Aaron Cabeen, Cabeen Originals