The Commissioning Process

Cat sculpture

Custom Made Just for You

Commissioning a 'custom made just for you' Totem Pole is a fun and rewarding way to bring a very special and meaningful sculpture into your home.

So how does it work? 

Alexis meeting with a client

Meet and Agree on a Theme or Idea for the Pole

 First we meet at my studio or on-line and look through my portfolio book, 'Totems', so I can get a feel for what resonates with you. We look at shapes and  colors, talk about the height and talk about any special things that  should be included on the totem pole. Often there is an animal or two requested. It is a fun process to choose what will be on your totem!

We  discuss where the totem will go - indoors or out? what's around it? and  agree on a budget that works for everyone. By the end of the meeting we  have a general agreement on what the totem will be.

cat in a bag

Send in Photos of Site or Pet Portrait

Next you will send me photos of the place where the totem pole will go, either the room in your house or the area in the garden. If I can I like to see the site in person so I can get a good feel for  the setting but photos work well too. 

If  there is a pet portrait involved you'll send me photos of your pet. I do my best to capture the spirit of your dear friend with what I describe as a caricature of the animal.  


Down Payment to Start the Work

Once we are in agreement about the project a non-refundable down payment  is made and work begins. I take a bit of time in the beginning to let  everything percolate and then make some decisions about what to build.  This is the place where we all take a leap of faith that, given the  freedom to create something wonderful, amazing things will happen.


Progress Photos along the Way

Once things get underway I send progress photos as the totem pole develops. You always have the freedom to ask me to replace an  element that doesn't suit you for any reason. That doesn't happen very  often but in the end we all need to love the piece. 

Each piece of the totem pole is built, dried and fired  before it can be stacked together. Over the next few months I’m adding  to the totem, taking away things when I change my mind and creating  something unique and special for you. I’m paying attention to how each  piece works on its own and how it adds to the totem pole as a whole. I want each of my totems to be spectacular in its own way.

standing cat sculpture

Color Selection and Glazing

The totem pole gets its color! Once I am satisfied with all of the pieces I start the glazing process.

All  of the pieces suddenly come to life as the vibrant colors come out of  the kiln. They bring out the joy you will feel every time you see this  special piece in your home.


Before you know it, Your Totem Pole is Ready!

The big unveiling! Your beautiful totem pole is finished and ready to go home for you and your family to enjoy for years to come!

photo of Alexis

Let’s talk about a Totem Pole for you!

It is both a responsibility and an honor to be  chosen to do a commission and I do my very best to make every totem pole  a spectacular sculpture that will bring joy into your home or garden.

I’d  love to discuss creating a special totem pole just for you. Let’s arrange a no obligation get acquainted talk to explore the possibilities. Use the “Let’s Talk” button below to leave your name and  contact information and I’ll be in touch.

A couple with their totem

"Ayaz  and I think the totem is just perfect! It has settled into its new home  and seems happy in the space. Everyone who sees it is fascinated by its  color, movement and creativity.

Thank you for creating the perfect piece for us. It makes me happy every time I see it.