[ Custom Work ]

Never Give Up

Part 1

This is a journal of the ins and outs—and the trials and errors—of designing and weaving process of a custom tablecloth I was commissioned to weave.

It really starts with what the customer wants, and hopefully they have a pretty good idea of that! I wasnt so lucky on that score with this commission. My customer wanted to surprise his wife with a tablecloth large enough for their family gatherings. He even admitted on being clueless about what he wanted, such as color, fiber, or style. Style, whats that?” One might ask. My client certainly did!

Being that this was a surprise for his wife, he couldnt or didn’t want to ask her what she wanted. So it was up to me to figure that out. The questions began. But before addressing color and fiber, to actually start the design process I needed to find out what style or feeling he wanted with the tablecloth, such as formal, contemporary, traditional, or casual. With these questions he was so confused, or shall I say, totally lost.” 

I sent him pictures and a description of what I considered to be those design styles. This did not help. I then asked him if his family gatherings were quiet with light conversation or full of laughter? Did he want this tablecloth to mimic his family gatherings, stir them up, or quiet them down? He was still clueless.

Formal Design ~ "Handwoven Magazine" ~ May/June 1991

I then asked him to take pictures of his dining room, the table, the color of the walls, rugs, carpet, the pictures on the wall, the dishes, the glassware and so on. Based on how his wife decorated their dining room and the dishes they have, I would get a pretty good idea of what style to design as well as get some color ideas, too!

While he was taking the pictures for me, his wife asked him what he was doing. Being caught, he ended up telling her what he was up to and decided to get her opinion. She did not give him her opinion and only said  “This is your project, BUT I do want 12 matching napkins!” When he told me this I thought, I have got to meet this lady, I love her already! 

I really do love his wife and I will reveal why and the final tablecloth design in the next post.

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