Thank you! I really don't want to cause a whole giant mess, so it's good to know some proper ways to handle this. I am going to send a few more emails to try and get in contact with them, state clearly in the next email that I am concerned that they will not complete it in time or that I haven't received any updates. Hopefully they respond and it's all able to be sorted and handled before it comes to fighting over finances.
Don't even worry about causing a giant mess because that's certainly not what you would be doing!
You're this person's customer. You paid them with the expectations of receiving a finished product and going off how much time has passed and you've gotten nothing from them...you being worried just makes sense!
Being a worried customer and asking about the state of things shouldn't cause a mess because you by all means have the right to ask about how things are going.
It's not your fault at all that your commissioner isn't holding up their end of the deal and honestly the fact that you've been so lenient is really nice of you!
When it comes to stuff like this and I get nervous about my items, I immediately run to PayPal/my bank to get things worked out because the last thing I want to do is be the next sufferer of a commission nightmare.
I am willing to put some hope towards things possibly working out but if it doesn't and you have to call your bank...again, you've held up your end of the bargain, and your commissioner shouldn't be able to keep money that they certainly don't deserve.