Sometimes things just turn out the way that they are meant to. Even if you don't know it at first.
I am always a little hesitant to post in-progress pictures of custom pieces on social media, especially if I know the customer for whom the piece is destined may see it. I do my best creating in my studio, by myself, streaming something or other (currently, House of Cards, season 4 -- I know I'm behind). When I'm working on a new piece, I don't want comments or suggestions, even if they're designed to be helpful. I want to let the piece take me where it wants to go. And in this case, it was on a spiritual journey.
I drew the big sunflowers at the bottom - just a few of them, since they were bigger than I expected. The stars scattered along the top came next. And then the butterflies - one after another, these translucent little beings ascended from earth to stars and pulled a cascade of emotion out of my soul. As I created this piece, it created a spiritual cleanse in me. My soul opened to the universe and I felt free an at peace. When I looked at this bag in progress I saw the earthly sunflowers, the heavenly stars, and the butterflies as the bridge between.
But then I looked at the comments, "Oooh," the customer said, "somebody's getting a tote just like mine but with butterflies!" What!? Doesn't she know hers has butterflies??! Shit. Shit. Shit. What if they weren't supposed to be there?
So I checked the listing. Yep, butterflies. Phew. I couldn't imagine this piece without them. But what if they shouldn't have been in the listing in the first place? So I checked our messages.
Somewhere in showing her pictures of sunflowers, one which had butterflies, I had gotten it into my head that this tote had butterflies. I included it in the listing and she didn't catch it. So I messaged her.
She was so sweet about it - I could tell she didn't want them on the tote but also didn't want to have to be the one to tell me to make a new one. I would have done it in a heartbeat, and either kept or sold this one. But every time I looked at it, I couldn't imagine it without the butterflies. They were the link between earth and heaven. They were spirits ascending to the stars. They brought the entire thing together. But how do I say this without her thinking I'm nuts?
And in the middle of a very chaotic day she sends this: "It's me again... I need to tell you the butterflies are supposed to be on my bag... I came home for a break from work and I was getting a glass of water and looked over on my windowsill at a sunflower ceramic piece my mother bought me and it has a butterfly on the top of it. She passed away on Valentine's Day and for whatever reason I think the butterflies are supposed to be on my bag... she knew that sunflowers were my favorite and it's just weird how I know have butterflies mixed into my new tote..."
And suddenly all was right in the world. As I put the finishing touch on her bag, a handle that says "grow strong, love life and spread seeds of happiness..." I know that this is a piece she will treasure even more, as each little butterfly is a message from her mother.