art quilt contemplation contemporary embroidery embroidery hand stitching textile art

on being mentored and becoming a mentor

April 27, 2021

I have worked with coaches off and on for the past several years. All of them, until recently, have revolved around building my art business. I think the misconception about coaches is that you hire this person and then she does all the work for you. Which is far from the truth. A coach can help you get out of your own way, make you take a look at the reasons why you do what you do so that you can make the changes needed to reach your goals. (I don’t know what the future of my business is. Meaning I don’t know what I want it to be. All I do know is that I’m content to just let it rest right now while I decide.)

Earlier this year I decided to become a mentee through the SAQA* Mentorship program. It’s a benefit of membership and I decided that since I’ve enjoyed working with coaches/mentors for business building, I’d give it a shot for art making. I got paired with an incredibly talented art quilter (I’m not naming her, I don’t know what her feelings on it would be so I’m going to respect her privacy) and it’s been the kick to get me working again.

The goal I’ve set for myself is to become a Juried Artist Member of SAQA. Sounds like a simple goal but there is a lot to do to reach that. Right now I’m concentrating on creating a body of artwork, I have tons of ideas mocked up on my iPad and I’ve finally begun working on stuff.

This above is a big part of my process I refer to as “making parts”. I’ll blog about that in a different post. But it’s a habit I’ve had for years and one that I find serves me well. It’s been my evening stitching after work and it’s been such a….well, a sigh of relief to be honest. I’d lost touch with how much I need to be making.

The fact that the talks with my mentor has gotten me to set up a small studio space again, buy a new sewing machine (Bernina!) and begin working again is huge for me. I’m grateful.

So when I was approached to find out if I would be interested in becoming a mentor for the next round of pairings in the program, I said yes without hesitation. I’ve never thought of being a mentor before but seeing  as how I’m getting so much out of it myself, it feels like an exciting thing to take on. There’s an incredible kind of connection that comes with talking about obstacles and successes with a fellow artist. I find that we are so much more alike than we realize. The “big names” that you couldn’t ever imagine having something in common with? You do. I do. We all do. 

My website totally lacks a gallery of my work. Part of me feels like that’s intentional. I do have a scanner so that I can post my paper collage work. That is still very much a part of what I love to do. But I think deep down I want textile work there too so instead of posting my paper and mixed media, I posted nothing. Like I’m waiting to have equal billing with some textile work. I don’t know, Art Brain is a weird one but she does have her reasons for why things go the way they do.



*(SAQA stands for Studio Art Quilt Associates. I’ve been a member for a really long time and I’m one of the co-reps for the Michigan region. It’s a nifty group to belong to, so many resources and it’s awesome to connect with like minded people.)

a new design wall
contemplating exhibits

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  • Reply Susan+Dunne-Lederhaas April 28, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    Good for you..When we have the honor of accumulating oodles of information after decades of making..I feel it is a responsibility to share our knowledge bank..Nothing pleases me more than sharing knowledge,after all, if all those experiences lie in a pocket, they need to be spread around..It’s kind of like an encyclopedia..until the volume is opened and read..the contents will lie dormant..You will be a wonderful mentor, in so many ways..

  • Reply Sarah April 28, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    It’s OK to have multiple galleries, one for paper, one for mixed media, one for textiles….. and it’s OK to not create the textile gallery until you have several pieces to put INTO it! GO LYNN! And I love my tea cozy that I made with the focal point being a screen print from your cup thermofax screen. Think of you daily!

  • Reply Lynda Heines April 29, 2021 at 11:35 am

    Lynn, I’m so glad you are taking advantage of the SAQA mentorship and you will be a great mentor! I’ve not felt like a mentor could help me, but this post has changed my mind. So looking forward to your future art.

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