When I re-entered the model horse hobby in late 2009, I made myself a promise that I would emphasize the crafty, do-it-yourself side of the hobby and participate for my own enjoyment and creative exercise. I wanted to maintain the hobby as a personal activity that combined my love of making things with my love of horses.
There was a time when I believed that I would never accept commissions, even if and when I reached such a skill level. I liked the idea of my work being valued by other hobbyists, but I viewed commissions as a chore that some people strangely chose to shackle themselves to.
I couldn’t imagine having deadlines for customers who wanted to take a horse to this show or that, or needing to follow a specific reference strictly to the last detail. Forcing myself to work on a horse would have been the antithesis of my hobby goals. My works always evolve as I go along, and I never wanted to have a customer’s desire override my preference as the artist.
My feelings and impressions about commissions have changed, particularly in response to another one of my hobby-promises: that I would keep spending to a minimum, and only buy the supplies I needed to make things myself. I keep that promise still, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting what I consider out of my price range, such as unpainted artist resins.
I recently started my third commission, as a trade for a beautiful draft resin I’ve long admired. What I’ve found is that commissions don’t have to be chores or fetters. They can be inspiring and exciting. Each commission trade has been the result of collaborative design and agreement between myself and the customer, with flexibility reserved for me in terms of both time and creation.
The customer’s vision is an impetus for me to create something new, something that perhaps I would not have envisioned myself. And because I maintain the freedom for that work to evolve, I keep the promise to myself to do this for enjoyment and fun.
It is lovely to have my work respected and wanted by others, but even more thrilling to collaborate with another hobbyist on a trade that makes both sides so happy and satisfied.