What you like; what they like

Iím building a number of projects Ė decorative boxes Ė for the holidays, and Iím in a quandary. Do I make them to please me, or to please the recipients?

Youíre probably thinking thatís an easy answer. Of course you want the recipients to be pleased; isnít that the whole point? To that end, we endeavor to make something thatís attractive, useful, pleasing and positively the best work we can do. But where do you draw the dividing line between what you like and what you have to guess they will like.

For example, a couple of the boxes Iím making, although decorative, will be utility in nature. For these projects I prefer thicker stock because I like a heftier, solid feel for things like that Ė but does everybody? Thinner stock would be just as useable, durable and attractive, and would provide the same utility. But to me, theyíd feel light and somewhat insubstantial made with thinner stock. In short, they just wouldnít ďfeel rightĒ when held in my hands. In the hands of those to whom Iíve gifted these boxes, however, that feeling of heft and solidity I like so much may translate to heavy and clunky.

In the past Iíve sometimes compromised. If my preference is for, say, 3/4Ē stock on a project to give it that heft I like, versus a more-expected 1/2Ē, I might shave that stock down to 5/8Ē instead. Itíll be slightly lighter than what I like, but still probably a bit heftier than what most people expect. Canít say this compromise pleases me because the results feel too light in my hands. Further, they might still feel a bit heavy and clunky to the giftee. If that happens, nobodyís happy.

When requested for something specific on a project, it goes without saying that I always do what the recipient has asked for regarding size, overall dimensions, thickness and weight. But without being guided otherwise, Iíve only got my instincts to go on.

In those cases, I think the best course of action is to go with what feels right to me.

Till next time,

A.J.

COMMENTS

  1. Lee Gordon wrote:

    It’s the thought that counts.

  2. Anthony Hillman wrote:

    When making gifts or commissions which are “blank canvases” I try to think what can I make that the person will really appreciate beyond gifting, an example that says you know their special interests. Like Ringo said: “…it ain’t easy”.

  3. Sarah wrote:

    I think your instincts will almost always be right, after all, they’ve asked you for a project rather than someone else because they like what you like!

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