Anxiety and Obligation

Somewhere along the way I developed quite a bit of anxiety when making things for other people. I like to make things, but I don’t seem able to handle the pressure these days. Even if I’m on deadline it bothers me and takes over my whole life. Odd that. I have one more side to attach for my current project and then I can package it up to mail tomorrow.

The spouse says “Never again, don’t make things for other people only make things for yourself.” I think that too. I wonder if this is my body’s way of saying “I want you to concentrate on yourself.” That seems rather self-centred.

Today I pulled out the charming Le Devin deck by Heron. It has 52 cards plus two significator cards for a man and woman. I love the Art Deco-like illustrations.



Handmade presents are lovely, but you wonder why you spent so much of your self, so much energy and commitment to something.

I think many people appreciate money or a bought gift more. I am weary of spilling myself out like this. I had all kinds of problems with supplies for the one I am just finishing up and while it looks beautiful, I would rather contain this sort of energy for my own home. When a gesture to fashion an item by hand degenerates into obligation, it’s time to redirect my energy.

It still seems ratty and selfish but at this point the body or mind is saying “Stop!!”




7 thoughts on “Anxiety and Obligation

  1. I can relate. I make a living making things for others and if I do not stop to make things I want to make, my creativity suffers and I have a hard time completing anything. You are probably not self centered, but balancing how much you serve obligation/others vs how much you serve yourself and your own creative will.

  2. Well, as the recipient of a few handmade gifts from yourself, I have to say that they have real value for me. Your tarot-bag is the finest and most beautiful that I own, and as you know, I often wear the necklace you made me (and have received many compliments). The time you have put into both of those gifts is both admirable and noted by all who have seen them. Not to mention the book made from Amy Zerner’s cards, which I showed to her and she loved!

    But .. I know exactly what you mean. Often, I have had a good few wobbles when creating for others. Commissions are often the worst for me, because you are against the clock and expectation from the get-go. I have a long list at the moment (which I start tomorrow) and it has been on my mind for the last three weeks. You know how a list can punch you in the stomach!

    You are an extraordinary artist with diverse skills and a fabulous eye for detail, but you need not make gifts if you are uncomfortable with that. Make for yourself and your home. Share your art and creations through your photography of them. I get a lot of pleasure from seeing them in that way too! I am sure I am not the only one.

    • Thanks Steve, I DO like to make things, especially for fellow artists who appreciate them, like you.

      I liked commissions because of the creative challenge, but that entails enormous amounts of energy, and I don’t think people actually knew the effort that went into them. Still, I remember some of my commissions with much fondness, just because they were time-consuming and often had a story behind them.

  3. People often have no idea of the effort involved. I make things to make people happy, but when it becomes an anxiety issue (and it can easily, I too know this), its time to stop. If it’s not a business then it should be part of your joy… And yeah how often do we make time to mke something for ourselves?!

    • I did get a lot of joy out of this one, but I had to make two to test the pattern first and I guess it just started wearing on me after weeks of worry. There was a time I could have handled this just fine–perhaps it has more to do with my inability to accept that I’ve changed in this way?

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