Artisans,

I've based a successful +27 year career in this industry designing, building, and training others to fabricate very  believable rock-work, trees, vines, etc....  based on a few simple disciplines.  VERY BRIEFLY, among the main tenets I have emphasized to success are:

1. A close observation of nature; the seemingly random natural patterns, both in texture and in coloring. Observe the source and focus on the subtleties...there is much more going on than a quick look would suggest.  Many out of the viewing public get this, even if they can't put any words down as to why.   Either something looks real and convincing, or it looks quickly produced, animated, or just badly conceived.

2. A very strong personal standard for producing high quality work, even when the job's pay or the bosses behavior  just doesn't quite warrant it. In the end, this is about YOU and your potential word-of-mouth references which may lead on to future work.

3. NEVER burn professional bridges.....ever....because it WILL come back to haunt you!

4. If the work is for a zoo, aquarium, kids playground, or some other structure which has to be used by some "unofficial client" like exotic animals, zookeepers, or children, then keep their needs in mind with most everything you do.  If they find your work uncomfortable, difficult to climb on, dangerous, or even boring, than you have begun to fail.

I could go on for a long time with a lot more detail, but hopefully any one out there who has concerns or ideas on this general matter will feel free to share their thoughts and experiences.

-Allan P. Sutherland

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