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Commission Work: The Sign of the Rainbow

Rainbow Inspired Copper NeckpieceI don’t often get requests from male customers … but a special commission came in from a man who wanted a neckpiece designed for his wife. He asked for simple and understated, completed in copper, and his one unique specification was that I had to incorporate a rainbow into the piece. Rainbows were symbolic in their relationship and this was a gift that he wanted to be a timeless keepsake for her. He was so excited about the whole idea of   commissioning a piece and giving input to the design process. I really enjoyed working with him. Now I have to be honest, I heard him when he said simple, I know what understated means … yet I ended up taking a different path. My initial design was like the final piece … but I thought it might not be “enough” … so I put aside this piece I had started and began anew, taking the design to a whole other realm. He was actually thrilled and thought it was beautiful, more than he ever expected.  But thrilled … she was not. It was too much for her. He tried to talk her into liking it … but no, that was not going to happen. He hated to have to call and tell me. So I put that beautiful, elaborate rainbow piece aside (which I later sold to its rightful owner) … and went back and refined my original design. I had clearly heard what he asked at the beginning … but I somewhat willfully (OK, a lot willfully) took another road.  That was the very last time I did that. Design work is so personal … and people aren’t always sure what they want … but they usually know what they don’t.  One of the most important lessons I have learned, both as a jewelry designer and as a graphic designer … is that you have to listen to your client … really listen … and respond to what you have heard and know to be true. I hope those of you out there with clients are paying attention … and reading between the lines. So here is the finished piece … from my original design …  His wife loved it.

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