Meeting New People

Years ago, when our sons were young and Alaska seemed far far away from the larger world of makers, quilters, and artists, my plan for “success” was to work my behind off creating great work and sending it via USPS around the world to shows and exhibitions.

This would bring me fame and fortune.

A couple of years later, I realized that it wasn’t working. Yes. I was showing my work and making a few sales, but I wasn’t really making a living as an artist.

I had failed to understand the importance of standing next to my work when it was being shown. I had failed to understand a viewers desire to connect with the maker.

I came to realize that if I am busy cooking dinner in Anchorage, Alaska while a First Friday showing of my work is happening, I am never going to get to take the next step in this adventure.

The truth is, we are our art. And while it is great to see works made by those we admire, what we really want is to meet the artist, pick their brains, understand how they do it, and why.


I resisted sharing myself for several reasons. I live in Alaska. I had small children. And I don’t like the idea of networking. It seems like such a dirty word.

I essentially believed the myths presented here by the Center for Creative Leadership


I thought that networking met meeting someone with the intention of getting them to do something for you, and that feels just plain yucky. Slowly, I came to realize that while there are people who do that, it doesn’t mean that I have to do that. Right?

And then I went to my first real conference with my friend Nysha Nelson, and he helped me realize that connecting with like-minded individuals is fun.


Art quilters gathered for the 2015 SAQA Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Networking when done properly is an organic experience. You know, say you are at baby shower, and you meet someone new and you talk to them for two hours straight because they are just that interesting.


Having dinner with Carol Trice and Kathleen Probst before the opening of Quilt National 2015.

To help me get over the negative connotations associated with networking, I decided to call it something else. I now think of it not as NETWORKING but as MEETING NEW PEOPLE, and I love to do that.


I liked this idea so much that I started a monthly blog post called Meeting New People, but it only lasted one month. The idea was for me to introduce you to five interesting people that I have met on my adventures and travels. I should get that going again. 

Having said all of that, I still live in Alaska, and I still have three sons, and I still don’t get out that much. Yes. I do go on crazy three week adventures outside, but the rest of the time I am hunkered down in my studio or office. So how do I connect?

Through Social Media.

And that is what my next post is about—my approach to blogging, Instagram, and Facebook. Essentially how I learned to stop worrying and love social media. 

Let’s get connected.

This entry was published on April 15, 2017 at 2:18 PM. It’s filed under Thoughts and Opinions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

14 thoughts on “Meeting New People

  1. Kate Oszko on said:

    Well said. Art is very personal, and we love to know the person behind what we see.

  2. Great post Maria! And I have always loved that picture of Kathleen Probst, you and me! Can’t wait to “network” again in Houston, TX this year.

  3. Jeannie Bench on said:

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m keeping my eye on this thread and taking notes!

  4. I absolutely love networking… meeting new people and learning lots of new things. But if it helps you to call it by another name to make it palatable… then do so. In the end it’s all about connecting with others with similar interests that opens one up to whole new avenues and adventures.

    Btw, I love your work. I know I have said that before. So glad you are on social media.

  5. Yes! The more I know about artists, their process and their view of the world, the more I can appreciate and connect with their artwork. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thank you for this post, Maria. That’s exactly how I feel about quilter’s world living in Lithuania. I look forward to the next post and I m going on FB now to look for you there!

  7. Thanks for this shot of insight. I’m looking forward to meeting new people at my first SAQA conference in a couple weeks. I’m an excited, nervous introvert. Meeting new people definately sounds less intimidating than networking.

  8. Having met you in Portland at that convention and thinking back now at how much of a natural communicator you appeared to me then, it’s surprising to know that networking was new to you. I have always looked at networking as finding new friends. Your friends are always the people who have your back and you have theirs. So I viewed it as an essential part of becoming the artist. I will miss connecting to people in Lincoln this year as traveling is expensive but I feel so fortunate to live in a time where the internet allows us all to remain connected, feeling supported. Looking forward to your next post.

    Nancy Turbitt, Rhode Island

  9. And you are terrific at connecting people to each other. What a pleasure it has been for this “old”artist to meet the “young” ones in our field.

  10. Jo Vandermey on said:

    Social media allows me to listen, see and talk to people I would never meet in my average small town.
    I love been exposed to different thoughts and styles etc.
    Hopefully I will make it to a conference someday to meet people in real time!
    Meanwhile I follow and try to figure out my journey or path.
    Look forward to you thoughts and the conversation it brings.

  11. Here, here. I totally agree with your comment on how viewers want to connect with the artist.

  12. Carole on said:

    Wish there were more hours in a day. Would rather spend the time creating than at the computer. Sorry to be the naysayer but finding balance is the hard part.

  13. Oh! I am glad you got out and connected and are enjoying the successes of those efforts. You are a force and I am honored to be a part of your story.

  14. I think that social media is a god send for those of us who live in isolated areas. Maria, I look forward so much to meeting you “for real” in Lincoln Nebraska next week. !!!

    This post hit me in the heart.

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