There have been many studies regarding the exchange of gifts between people, between nations. Some believe that the function of giving is benevolent, can be used to strengthen relationships, to create new ones, and can also be used aggressively to place others in debt so that one can control them. The innocence of a person's gift really depends upon their intention. Studies indicate that sometimes people receiving gifts are disappointed and either want something different or something more.
Humans. We can be a funny lot.
Recently, my friend Virginia sent me some lovely Batik Squares and yesterday, I put these together as mug rugs to take back with me to MN on my trip next week. It is my intention to give them as thank you gifts to the women who transport me around town. I was able to use some of the 2.5" strips I have in my stash as well as some other hand-dyed fabric for the backs. I was also able to test out decorative machine stitches.
They look similar in construction for a selfish reason; I am on limited time before flying off on the 11th. Making them with the same concept or pattern allows for variety of fabric selections. They still turned out very different. I personally love the size of 6.5"x10.5" to fit on my workstation and hold my cup of coffee or glass of water throughout the day.
I happen to cherish my friends and family back in the midwest. Giving these mug rugs is simply a token of my appreciation, and has nothing to do with having power or control or feeling obligated. Its just what I do freely without strings attached because I care about my relationships. Back in the day when travel was less expensive, they might have flown out to Cali to visit me and I could have shown reciprocity by picking them up at the airport, driving them to various sites, and driving them back to the airport.
And of course, with every time I use one of the Batik Squares, I am thanking Virginia for her lovely gift. What goes around comes around.