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Mary Michael Shelley

Folk Art Americana Painted Wood Carvings

Specializing in one of a kind and original artwork.


A commissioned piece is one that is special ordered on a certain theme. If you’re thinking of buying a carving and you don’t know whether to buy a piece ready-made or commissioned, here are some ideas for helping you make up your mind.

Advantages of buying a ready-made carving:

Advantages of buying a commission:

 Information on How to Commission a Piece:

If you seriously think of commissioning a piece, the first step is for you to give me a  sketch fee. This fee puts you on the list of people definitely wanting a carving, and buys you a sketched idea. The sketch fee for a small to medium sized piece is generally $150.00. The sketch fee for a larger piece can run more.

Before I do the sketch, I like to know what price range we are talking about for the final commissioned piece. This helps me to know how many details I can put into the sketch. Once you pay the sketch fee, you are not committed to buying anything other than the sketch. If you decide to go ahead with a commission, this $150.00 fee will be subtracted from the final finished cost of the piece. I typically charge a little bit more for a commission than a ready made piece. The process of coming up with a commission idea can take many emails. Sometimes research of photos or multiple versions of a sketch are needed in order to come up with a drawing you feel happy with, and in this case extra sketch fees based on an hourly rate may apply.

After the sketch, if you decide you do not want to proceed, all that you have lost is the sketch fee. Either artist or customer can decide to stop the commissioning process at this point.

After you see the sketch and you decide to proceed, I send you a mini contract stating financial details, projected date of completion, shipping address, etc. I don’t start to work on the piece until the contract and sketch have been signed and dated. You pay one half in advance against the finished cost of the piece. Balance due is paid upon my completion of work and before pickup or shipping. Commissions generally take five months to complete from the time I receive the 1/2 deposit, signed contract, and approved sketch from you. Most of my commissions are made in the winter.

For commissioned items there are no exchanges or returns.

Feel free to ask me any questions. I can give you names of other people who have commissioned pieces so you can ask how well the process worked for them.



Return to pictures of Already Sold Commissioned work.

See Portfolio, Work for Sale.

See Guarantees and Return Policy


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