Not all artists accept commissions – they can be stressful because you are trying to meet someone else’s expectations. You might also be asked to create something that is outside of your usual area of work. As a result of this, commissions are often more expensive. A recent commission took me outside of my comfort zone, but I learned so much from this experience and I’m proud of the legacy this piece represents.
This is Buddha, a sculpture that took me almost 4 months to complete. It is my client’s offering to his temple. A large piece, 34″ tall, sculpted in polymer clay but guilded in 24-karat gold leaf. The robes are made from three colours of Dupioni silk. The under robe shown here is in a soft yellow orange hue, lined in cream silk. The traditional Kasaya is made from a deep orange/red Dupioni silk divided into 13 sections trimmed in gold. I had to learn the correct way to fold and wrap his body. The clasp is also made from polymer and gold leaf. I created the staff from scrolled wood and covered it in 24-karat gold leaf. It holds 12 metal rings. His crown is created from paper, polymer clay, resin and gold silk trim.
My client purchased a precious gemstone to place in his left hand. To protect the sculpture I had a museum quality acrylic box, custom made by Canus Plastics.
As challenging as this commission was, even more challenging was packing and shipping it to Philadelphia. I attended a seminar on how the National Gallery of Canada ships delicate artwork and used many of their tips and tricks. In addition to this I also built a wooden crate. Each step of the packing and unpacking of the sculpture had to be documented and photographed and the directions were included in the crate for both the client and possible inspection by custom officials.
After a couple of nerve wracking days, the sculpture arrived safe and sound. Happy client, happy artist, happy Buddha.