SAQA member since 2014
Our only member in Lithuania kindly agreed to share her story about her participation in the SAQA Mentorship Programme.
Maryte returned to Lithuania in 2013 and her quilting style transformed into art quilts. At that time, she also became a member of SAQA because she liked the mission of this organization and there was no local alternatives. In Lithuania she faced problems with finding supplies she was used to in the United States. This challenge has made Maryte create quilts with as little additional materials as possible. She uses piecing and quilting techniques that do not require additional supporting materials.
Another characteristic of textile work in Lithuania has been the greyish colours of the, often linen, fabric they produce and use. Looking at the work of Maryte it is clear she has stepped away form the grey linen tradition; her work features bright colors combined in well coordinated combinations.
The SAQA Mentorship Program
In 2015 Maryte applied for the Mentorship Program of SAQA. She had set two goals for herself – to build a website and find her own style in quilting. Additionally, she hoped the latter will help her receive the Juried Artists Member (JAM) status at SAQA.
Before applying for the Mentorship Programme Maryte found her work ‘’chaotic’’. She was experimenting with a lot of techniques that made every quilt of hers look different.
The Mentorship Programme linked Maryte with the Australian artist Brenda Gael Smith who became her mentor. Brenda was able to help Maryte with both the artistic aspects of Maryte’s work as building a website. The Programme consisted of monthly, and often more regular, Skype sessions and email exchange for 16 months. There were assignments that Maryte had to carry out and the results were discussed with different techniques. Brenda acted as a coach offering Maryte techniques for assessing her own art. The artist’s website of Maryte was built by herself using the technical and design support of Brenda.
Maryte admits that the mentoring programme has been an eye opener for her. She is glad she has had this experience and believes that without it her artistic work would not had grown as much as it has. According to Maryte, it was the ‘’working in series’’ approach that changed the way she is working on her quilts. She has now discovered a technique that is inspired by the log cabin and now she makes pieces in this technique depicting designs from photos made by herself.
Maryte’s art has been featured in books, magazines as well as selected for shows. She is confident that this success is an outcome of the Mentorship Program of SAQA.
Two days after our interview Maryte let me know her JAM application had been honored and she is now a SAQA JAM member. CONGRATULATIONS!