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Commissioning Art

Small tools being used in the creation of jewellery.

Working on a commission. Courtesy of Brazen Studios, Glasgow

Courtesy of Brazen Studios, Glasgow

Alan Yentob with Regan Harle admiring the painting of Regan and his motorbike.

Regan Harle and Alan Yentob at Gallerina, with the commission financed through Own Art.


Did you know that you can often have an artist or maker create a piece of work especifically for you. It'll be to your specifications, a complete one-off and stand out from what is offered on the High Street!  This is known as commissioning.

With commissioning, you don't just end up with something that is unique to you, but you also become part of the design process.

Thinking about commissioning?

Comissioning work should be fun and enjoyable.  Sarah Raffel of Brazen Studios, Glasgow says:

'Commissioning a piece of jewellery is not only incredibly easy but a very enjoyable process.We remind our customers that it should be fun and fulfilling.

We work on a one to one basis with customers who have not found that special piece of jewellery or who have a strong idea of their style and individuality.

Contrary to belief, it is a very affordable process and Own Art makes it even more accessible. We work with customers' individual budgets and requests (bespoke commissions start from £500). It may be an engagement ring, special anniversary piece or something to mark a moment in time.'

Where to start?

When you are thinking about commissioning, start by understanding what kind of work you really like and what the context for the piece is.  Do you prefer a particular style?  Who or what is the work for? Is it for you? Is it for your home? Is it a gift?

By looking at different galleries on the Own Art website, you can start to gain an idea about the artists and type of work that you like. 

The next best thing to do is to put your thoughts down on paper. This will help crystalise your thinking and becomes the starting point for what is known as a brief.  You can use this when discussing the commission with the artist or maker.  

The brief is also a useful reference, which both you and the artist can refer back to during the process of making the work, and as a means to set a commissioning agreement.  Galleries will be able to help you with this.

Getting going!

Once you have a list of artists and work that you like, you should contact the galleries who represent them, and let them know that you are interested in the commissioning process.

The gallery may be able to arrange for you to visit the artists' studios and for you to see other examples of their work.  Discussing your commission with the gallery or artist will help you to learn from their specialist knowledge.

When you have commissioned a work from an artist, it can be the beginning of a dialogue which can last a lifetime.

Make your commission affordable

Whatever you are thinking of commissioning, remember that you can make it more affordable by spreading the cost over 10 months with the Own Art scheme, through one of our Own Art galleries.

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