What I Want

Minnie knows how to ask for what she wants
Minnie, who does a lot of talking, knows how to ask for what she wants and gets it.

A few weeks ago when I wrote that I was going to try something new.  That I was looking into getting a new page on my blog with a shopping cart, like ETSY, and always have potholders available and note cards and maybe scarves.  Well, I’ve changed my mind.  What I’ve decided to do is in a way, just the opposite.

See, my idea to always have potholders available didn’t come from my love of making hundreds of potholders.  It came from wanting to expand my business, to make more money.   I figured if I always had potholders available,  I’d sell more.

Then a few days ago, Jon asked me why lately, I’m always going on about making more money.  The way he sees it, I’ve never been driven by money and if I was just interested in making money, I’d be doing something else for a living.  And he has this idea that if  I love what I do and do it well, I’ll have a better chance of making more money than by making a gazillion potholders.  Then he says, What do you want?

It’s those simple basic questions that always get me.  So without letting what I think I should be doing get in the way and without comparing myself to other people I thought about what I want.   And I realized that what I want is to keep making my art.  I want to grow creatively.  I want to continue to sell my work.  And, dare I say it,  I want to make what I want to make.  I don’t want to have to make 20 potholders a week.  And honestly, I would rather not take commissions anymore. I’d like to be able to focus more on my own work.   (Oh that was hard to write.  I was sure I’d be struck down dead when I wrote that about the commissions. Who do I think I am anyway, turning down work, saying no to people?  How selfish and uncaring I am.  If I do what I want, no one will read my blog anymore, no one will buy my work!)  Okay, so the stuff in the parenthesis is what I’m thinking right, now.  What a big part of me believes.  But another part of me says:  What if ? 

What if I could actually do what I want to do and not what I think I have to do?  What if I did my work, what I felt like doing and said this is what I have to offer?  What if, instead of saying, What do you want me to do, I said, This is what I do.  This is what I made and if you would like it, you can buy it from me.  Dare I take the risk?  What if it doesn’t work?

What if it does?

If it does, I get to really focus on my own work.  I get to do more of it, and the more I do, the more ideas I get.  And the more I do, the better my work gets.  And if I do good work, maybe I’ll make more money.  And then, well, I’m not sure what happens next.  And that’s the exciting part.  I know what happens if I keep doing what I’m doing.  I’ve been doing it for years.  But I don’t know what will happen if I really get to focus on my own work.  On what drives me and pulls me, on what I have a true passion to do.

I have a bunch of commissions that I took before making this decision.  And I’ll happily do them with all the love and energy I give all my work.  And it will take me a while to finish them  all.  But for now, I’ve taken my last commission.  There, I’ve said it.  I’ve written it.  I’m turning the fear to excitement and  ya know, it feels good.

35 thoughts on “What I Want

  1. Good for you, Maria! I am betting that you will have people lining up to buy your work … whatever it is … the same way they are lining up to buy your potholders! Everything you show on your blog – from potholders to sketches to wall hangings to quilts is beautiful and interesting and thought-provoking. Surely I by far the only person who finds it so. I’m glad you are excited … you deserve to be, and good for you!

  2. Maria your work IS good and you WILL make money, you can never go wrong doing what you love. Your creative process and voice iris a loving presence in this world, thank you for sharing yourself so openly.

  3. So happy that you’ve made that decision. Can’t wait to see what you make as you create what excites and lures you!

  4. Hi, Maria-
    It’s always been my strong belief that art made ‘from the heart’ will have no problem selling, if that is what you want. Whatever you are saying through your work will be ‘heard’ by those who really want it, so I say go for it, create what nurtures you. My high school art teacher told me that (I grew up in Salem,NY); she also said that when you make art based on what others want, it’s not art, its a type of prostitution… (she told me that when I went back to visit her my first year in college as an art major). If you look at what’s for sale on Etsy, most of it is wonderfully unique, one-of-a-kind items, so that could still be an option, but I doubt you’ll need it.
    I do have to say, I’d love to see some kind of ‘zombie chicken’ art….

  5. Maria,
    You go, girl! You deserve to do what you want to do. We hope you are able to do even more fantastic quilts when you can do what you want to do.
    Congratulations! Mary in Texas

  6. Good for you Maria. Its long been a question I’ve wanted to ask you. When you were sewing like crazy to make all those pot holders for plaid friday, and then got sick, I thought again about the question. I’ve had a lot of people want to pay me to make them quilts and its not something I want and you just described why. You inspired me to get started quilting and your work continues to inspire me daily and I sooo badly wanted to ask you this question but didn’t know you well enough. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this. I get great joy from just creating right now. I get even more joy from surprising people I care about with a quilt. Someday, maybe I’ll feel ready to say, here is what I’ve made and its available for sale but not right now. This light that has opened up inside me is too new, to wonderful and I don’t want to lose it because I’ve got a deadline to meet. Blessings to you Maria. And thank you once again. You have no idea how much I needed to read what you wrote.

  7. Your thoughts always are an inspiration,Maria.
    I am so familiar with this struggle, and work on it daily.
    With each decision to do what I want to do, instead of what I think I should do, the process becomes a little easier.
    But sadly, this has taken me years. I am so happy that you have made peace with the direction that you want to go with your work. This road just makes so much sense to me now.
    I,too,used to think this seems so selfish, but now am realizing how much smarter this is.

  8. All I know is my heart was sad when I read that you were always going to offer potholders for sale. I didn’t know why. I’m relieved today. I trust your creative journey. You are so alive when you describe your creative process and where it leads you. It’s fun! Thanks for being honest with yourself and with us…and thanks to Jon for asking good questions.

  9. “Turn the fear into excitement”. That’s what it always comes down to, doesn’t it? Nothing worthwhile is without risk, and fear is this pulsating aggressive entity we need to kick down and stand on top of!! Hahahaha, I actually visualize this when I come up against fear. Good for you Maria, you inspire a lot of us to do the same 🙂

  10. Maria, what an inspiration you are! Being so brave to say out loud, that you are going to nurture your soul through your art! Most of us struggle with the shoulds in life. I suspect your art will soar on this new path! Blessing to you and thank you for sharing.

  11. Maria, you have once again hit the nail squarely on the head. You’ve expressed in your own thoughts and written statement here what I’ve been fighting in my own head, i.e. “what do I want (to do)”. It’s hard to be creative when one feels pressured by expectations or too many commitments.

    It’s wonderful to watch you fly and I hope you know how many you inspire along the way. I guess there are many of us who have these same feelings but you have expressed them and allowed us to, I hope, turn a little curve in the path of creativity and self fulfilment in our craft(s).


  12. Couldn’t agree more with the ladies above, you will be standing in your truth, which is what you are always trying to do. This is a courageous
    step Maria, but it feels so right, you are like a tall strong daffodil poking your head through the snow!!

  13. Maria, this is wonderful. When you love doing something because you are inspired, you will be happy. I think this is the right decision. Learning to say no is hard, but sometimes, so is learning to say yes.

  14. Hallaluia!!!! I wondered why you wrote about wanting to have pot holders in stock. Your work comes from your heart and soul and I am so glad that you have made the decision that you made. Tess

  15. Dear Maria, Thank you for writing “Dare I take the risk? What if it doesn’t work?, BUT WHAT IT IF IT DOES?” In some area of life it seems we are all making that leap! And if we don’t take the risk, we will never know what could have been our life. Annie

  16. Congratulations on taking this very important step. I have admired your free stitch pieces and now you will have more time to do them.

  17. Don’t be Walmart. Walmart can have 20 (or 2000) potholders in stock (none of which we’d want to buy). You, Maria, are not supposed to be Walmart. Thank goodness. . .

  18. HI Maria, To me that is how you began…AND everything you made and make sells! Wonderful realization!!! Louise from (I think you know where by now ) take good care and good for you!

  19. I love what you said–yes, if you were compelled to make so many potholders or whatever each week you would start to hate it. I would anyway. I’ve just retired and going to start focus on what is really important to me!

  20. So happy that you are happy. Out of that happiness will come more of your uplifting art. It all has such a motivational, inspiring feel to it.
    I am so proud to own a piece, and hope that somehow I will be able to obtain a sketch and/or wall hanging. I love the blog and hope to visit the farm at the Open House in the Fall.

    Kathy P.

  21. Brava!! you found the voice that makes sense. . .when you do what comes from you, all is well. . sending a warm warm hug, Veronica

  22. I applaud you and I think it is what every artist years for. My daughter is an amazing artist in college – she is all about expressing herself and NEVER doing what other people want. I (thinking like a mother) say “…but you need to make a living…) Ha ha.

    Good for you, Maria. I have feeling you have found the perfect time to be “independent”. I’m looking forward to all your creativity.

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