Or 2018…It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
It was just a little over a year ago that I got the email. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes as I read it, re-read it, and read it again. It was a message sent through my contact page from my website, a nice surprise as I don’t receive a lot of those.
“Hello Elena, I am a professional Commercial Interior Designer interested in many of your quilts for a hospital project in Long Island, NY. Please contact me via email so that we can discuss the various quilts of interest.”
Hmm. Wow. Well… it’s probably a scam, I thought. I’ve gotten a quite few of those over the years, most artists do. “Hi, I noticed my wife looking at your website. She really likes [insert quilt title here] and her birthday is coming up so…” Believe or not, that’s a scam.
I responded politely and professionally, but vaguely, to the interior designer in hopes of getting a more explicit response from her. I did. Along with a running list of alphabet soup credentials of degrees, affiliations and title after her name…IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC Associate Project Interior Designer, Angela inquired as to the prices and availability of five pieces of art on my website. Rather substantial pieces…Tranquil Marsh – Wild Iris, Infinity IV and V, Horizon XI and Clair de Lune. (Please look under the cotton and silk headings to see the pieces in question.)
Okay, breathing deeply, trying to keep my blood pressure down, I proceeded to do some due diligence, aka Google, on the company which turned out to be a BIG global architectural firm. Well, well, well. I responded with prices for four of the five pieces in question still available but informed her that Clair de Lune had sold.
Angela responded back, “Thank you for the pricing information. Do you have a suggestion to replace the unavailable Clair de Lune quilt selection? The quilt does not have to be blue, however, the larger size is of interest. Do you have any new work to share with us that is not on your website? If so, could you send photos for consideration?” I suggested Infinity VI and asked how she had found my website. “We were looking for more color, however, the Infinity VI is beautiful. We will review the coloration with the building finishes and let you know if it will work. If we ultimately decide that more color is needed for the space, would you be amenable to a commissioned piece? If so, we are looking at a schedule for artwork installation in the fall. I found you by doing a Google search of quilt artists with a NY connection.”
Google, again. By this time, I could see that this was a very legit and serious inquiry. And a hospital, too! The thought of having my work hang in such an environment was even more exciting than the money, and that was some good money. The intention behind my work is to create an emotional impact in the viewer, an uplifting one. To envision my work hanging where people enduring the most stressful moments of their lives might take comfort from my work, thrilled me to no end. Yes!
After some back and forth over the next month, Angela let me know, “The sold Clair de Lune quilt is the quilt our client liked. What would be the price for a commissioned quilt similar to the Clair de Lune?” So, four quilts and one commission. Wonderful!
At this point, I was very excited and eager to get a firm, i.e., financial, commitment from them as well as a time frame. I informed her that I would need at least a two month lead time to make the commission piece and really needed a better idea of when I would need to start it so I could clear my calendar. Angela said it was for a new construction for Stony Brook Hospital and they were planning a fall installation. I was busy with projects through the spring so I guesstimated that I would be creating the commission piece during the summer months.
Neither commitment nor time frame would be forthcoming over the next several months during which I felt I was on some sort of emotional roller coaster ride…ecstatic, fretful, patient, annoyed, hopeful and glum. I was, in fact, asked to hold my work with no formal commitment from Angela or her client. This means not only could I not sell them, I was not able to submit them for exhibition. They needed to remain ready and secure in my possession.
Suffice it to say, the remainder of the year proved incredibly stressful, and more than a bit confusing, while I waited completely in the dark for the hospital project to move forward. Angela admitted that the project had already been delayed a year as it had originally been slated for completion in the fall of 2017 and she couldn’t tell me exactly when I could expect to be contacted by the procurement team. But, long story short, eventually I was contacted, the artwork was purchased and shipped, and finally, all is right with the world, thank heavens!
I still have the commission piece to complete but, when all the artwork is installed at the hospital, I plan to make a trip to Stony Brook and see them in situ. Anyone up for a road trip?