Beginning a commisioned silk painted art quilt

Deep Waters- commisioned

This is a quick over view of the process of creating a hand painted silk art quilt and the process of working on a commissioned piece of art, as apposed to whatever you may feel like doing.I have found some of my best art quilts have come from a commission. There is a fine balance between  you as an artist creating original work and making something dictated by another person’s taste.

It’s not as  hard of a seeming conflict to reconcile as it might seem. Someone who has commissioned a work from you already likes you work and style. They want one of your creations. So if you communicate well, ask a lot of questions, have them send pictures of something similar to their idea, and you in turn  send photos to them as well, to clarify what they are picturing.

I always think of the analogy of going in for a haircut. You clearly tell the hairdresser what you want and she seems to understand exactly. When you get home, arggh-this is NOT what you wanted. What went wrong? She thought she understood you and you thought she did, but she understood what she thought you were saying.

So this step is crucial. Send a sketch or 2 of what you think the client wants, get feedback. Here’s an idea my client had and some examples of sketches I worked up and sent to her.

Not exactly right. It was my interpretation of what I thought she would like. I didn’t sense enthusiasm.  Back to the drawing board. She wanted a large kracken or octopus threatening the ship.


Next step translate her vision into my vision and style. I painted the background. I decided a big raging storm would be cool. I let a spot where I can applique a ship behind a wave on the left. More painting to come as well.

Big Storm

I painted my ship roughly. A few light pencil marks to guide me. The silk is already fused to Wonder Under by Pellon. I played around with placement before I cut it out and fused it down, as shown in next picture.

Below, the ship cut out and fused down.

More later, the Krackin! Stay Tuned!
Had enough for 1 sitting? More later.
PEACE OUT FOR NOW. Who said that? It sounds so cool.

The painted Octopus on silk, ready for applique.
Playing with placement

It’ time to send some progresses photos to your client, get their reaction.

Ocean floor, a sunken ship

Published by Barbara Harms Fiber Art

About Myself & My Approach Art has always played a role in my life, in one form or another. by my teens I had narrowed my focus to painting. I decided I was going to become a serious painter. I joined the Las Vegas Artist's Guild at 15, the youngest member at that time. I was completely out of place, I tried to go unnoticed, a mute fly on the wall, with a big smile pasted on my face. I've continued to paint most of my life. After a move to Oregon years later, I was introduced to quilting and fell in love. I was introduced to quilting & fell in love. In time I missed the creative freedom painting made possible. Then I discovered mixed media fiber art, I was home. MY APPROACH TO ART It's the creative process that holds the greatest attraction for me. Starting with a tiny seed of an idea; vague and blurred around the edges, I follow where that leads. There are often many changes and adjustments along the way. The result can often be surprizing. My approach is an instinctual one. Generally, I do little pre-planning. I make creative decisions, choices, directions as they present themselves. This approach can lead to quite a few changes in the direction. I love that element of surprize! Sometimes I have one that I especially like, I can't wait to show someone. At that moment l feel like a six year old, running home from school, a drawing in hand, excited to show Mom. At those times. I'm smiling like the Cheshire cat. I’ve had some of my work published in several magazines. which is exciting. But the most gratifying thing is having clients be really happy with their purchased art quilt. Word press Etsy shop-sales Contact: inquiry Personal Links

2 thoughts on “Beginning a commisioned silk painted art quilt

  1. Love the paintings. They’re very strong and charged. Working with a commission is a great experience when you know you’re finally on the right track. I tend to work better when I know someone has expectations. It’s a little nerve wracking but worth it in the end.

    Good luck!


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Barbara Harms Fiber Art

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