How  it works on a commissioned  "mosaic artwork":

Usually first contact is made by phone or email.
The prospective client has searched for an artist and found me by recommendation, word of mouth or online, and make contact:

Information is exchanged between us.   I ask the client all the questions i need to know what they want, expect, dates, time constraints, and more.  I refer the client still to the FAQ page at the website where I try to anticipate and answer everyquestion they might have about the process and the work.

Usually in a short time with just a few emails or one phone call, we can estabish a working relationship and move quickly to help the client, or even book the order or commissioned work.  This often involves signing a contract, but not always.   I may require or request it or the client may require or request it.    It is certainly a good thing for both parties to have it in place.

A propective client might request recommendations and i provide names of individuals who have agreed to be contacted.     I strive to make every client the most satisfied they can be but none are required to give testimonial.  Their privacy is respected and they are never contacted without previously being asked or notified of that contact from a prospective client of Origami Designs.  

Usually the prospective client decides to book Origami Designs for the work or not.  

I do advise clients of my policies or precedures for actually getting their commissioned work on my calendar.  Once the committment is made it's firm.  This is not made without an initial non refundable payment upfront for the agreed upon amount or a portion of that amount.  

The client makes contact they are disappointed:  see how this came to be:
    "Dear Barbara:
I am very disappointed that you will not be designing our mosaic.  In fact, I am quite angry since we had been in talks regarding the design, cranes, payment, and other details etc since last year and you knew that we would most likely be sending you our cranes (as recently as May-June 2011) for our wedding in May of 2011.

....   and I were ready well in advance to send you our cranes (we were done in July 2011) and you told us you needed 6 months to design it by our wedding date.

When I told you my father had cancer in June-July and that I may need to have these done sooner, you said you were available for an extra fee and now, not even a month later, all of a sudden you're 'booked up'.

If this is how you do business, it's very unprofessional.

I will be sure not to recommend anyone to you in the future (including anyone in the Japanese American community)."

My email reply to the prospective client is printed below.   It is still most unfortunate not to be able to please or accept orders from everyone who makes contact.    It is unfortunate when a client has too many problems, demands, or concerns that stall or hold up the process to book an order.    There are lessons here for all especially prospective clients...

Emails and communication seem to go well.  The client has made contact very early looking for an artist and about the desired design.

Origami Design starts work on the desired design.

More emails were exchanged with this client just about the design process than with other clients from start to finish of a commissioned work.

At the point that Origami Designs sees potential issues or problems with finalizing a design or getting it just right for the "client's desires and expectations",  Origami Designs offers to do more work, and sell the design to the client.    Unlimited hours of time from an artist is no longer warranted or available for design work that is yet unpaid for,  and a booking of a commissioned work still far off.   The price is accepted for the design work and paid, the design work  is done and sent to the client in usable form for any artist.    Origami Designs informs the client the design is now theirs and they are under no obligation to book the work with Origami Designs. 

At this point  there is a lull in the communications.   Hearing nothing from the client for some time Origami Designs books other work on schedule, for the calendar.

When the prospective clients emails questions about cranes etc. they are answered.

When the client makes contact again finally about still being interested in booking the commissioned work, Origami Designs replies, with the criteria for this process.

When the client emails there is an emergency situation in the family status and the wedding might be moved from May 2010 to .... Aug, Sept. Oct? - well moved up... Origami Designs offeres alternate timetables and solutions and prices to book and complete a commisioned work for them.  Still no firm booking.  

When the client informs Origami Designs the cranes are ready, they wish to proceed and send crane, and they want a signed contract,  The client has indicated a problem with other "wedding vendors" and is anxious to committ and secure the services of Origami   OrigamiDesigns responds with a contract from OrigamiDesigns and informs the client again not to send cranes.  The order is not yet firm, the design not yet agreed upon without changes, a contract not signed, and no money has been paid.    I will not accept the cranes at this point in the process.      

Again a lull in communication.    During this time  Origami Designs has booked and chosen to accept other project for my calendar.

When I hear from the client they are still wanting to go with Origami Designs for the project but have questions about the contract, they are immediately informed in writing that Origami Designs (I as the artist) am not available now to take the work or willing to schedule it on my calendar.    They are informed they own the design and have plenty of time to seek other artists to do the work.

Origami   responds to the unhappy prospective client....

" Dear...... & .......,

I am very sorry for the circumstances and your disappointment at my not being able now to book your order if you are indeed ready.    Yes, we had been in contact and have many emails back and forth over so many months about your design, and booking of the order.   In fact there was more contact with you just over the design subject than with many clients from start to finish of a project like this.   

Each couple is different and with different circumstances.   I did everything I could to accommodate your design workup.  And I did everything I could do to educate you about the process and my constraints when scheduling and ordering and then confirming and booking the order on my calendar, and  I was very, very clear, about the process.   

We just never got there.  As an artist of large commissioned works I must take those projects that are ready to go, and are paid for.  I cannot hold space for projects that keep changing or if the client is “still not quite ready to commit, but intending to do so”.  This is not fair to me or wise for me.  And I only commit to what I can do well, what I think is a good working fit between me and the client from start to finish. And I was ready (and had the space still do put you on as a rush project), but then that changed for me.   I still have not heard back from you.   I am under no obligation to accept work that I cannot be sure to complete to my level of expertise and satisfaction.    

The history of getting your mosaic onto my schedule just kept dragging on,  I know your intentions might have been good and to “go with me”. But I have other clients and offers ready to go, ready to pay, ready to book, and they did.   I was very clear about not taking receipt of your cranes (that does not book an order) until you had officially made a first payment to book the order, at which time I am committed to the client. I would never take possession of cranes for a project that was not officially booked and with payment and I explained that to you and have it in email correspondence.   I cannot be held hostage by the circumstances of potential clients, even those with the best intentions.   That you expressed having trouble with other vendors was honest, and that you were anxious to get on my calendar was fine, but then it just didn’t happen. There was always something more, one more thing to settle or be discussed.    You did not respond so quickly, after requesting the contract, and after I sent my contract back to you.  I made every effort to make this process easy, and even offered timely discounts, but I can do no more now. 

Your wedding mosaic is very special to you and you deserve to have the time devoted to it, but it is not my  “default” or fault that other clients stepped up to book my services before you were “finally” ready or convinced to “go with me”.  Time or no time, as an artist I must chose those projects that I can complete with excellence and are a good fit to me and my client.   I owe my clients that.  I and I alone can make those professional decisions.    Maybe you just had reservations about the end product, I cannot suppose to know what took this process so long to “not get to the book the order” stage.  

I do and will continue to do my business in the most professional manner as an artist and this case in points, highlights this.   I have many satisfied customers, and there will be many more, and it’s unfortunate that I can’t do your work for you, that’s just the fact of it now and how it is. 

I am sorry that you are angry.    You have expressed that.    Better now than later if after everything else you were still not satisfied with my executed work on your design.    Offering to not recommend me to anyone, or anyone in the Japanese American Community is well – unfortunate or sad, but I will not be worried about that.     There so many friends & business contacts in these communities around the nation, and I know that I have already earned the respect  I am shown from them  by my long-term business and professional practices over the years.   
The scope of my art and work on such commissioned artworks transcends and is far beyond the scope of just the Japanese American communities (a culture and community I am personally most fond of)  or mosaics for one cultural group.  I would hope that in this time of doing what should be joyous planning for your wedding, that you take time to stop and think and put your efforts on finding an artist available to giving your artwork the time and effort it deserves.

Again, I wish you every success  and joy that comes from approaching life and marriage with the most positive of attitudes and hope for a successful outcome on your crane artwork with another artist.

Barbara Turner