As of just a few minutes ago, Term 04 of the Mortise & Tenon Apprenticeship Program is open for registration! As Joshua mentioned yesterday, we’ve been blown away by the response to this program (referred to affectionately in-house as “MTAP”) and by the wonderful enthusiasm of our students. Many start out cautiously optimistic, having struggled with dovetails and sharpening and finding clear guidance in the past. But as we’ve seen, they finish the program with confidence to tackle just about any furniture project on their bucket list… or to go out into the woods with an axe and chop down a tree. The transformation is nearly incredible.
Image Courtesy: Deborah Pessoa
Running this program is a group effort, and a labor of love. Mike Cox is our Program Administrator and keeps all the moving pieces well-oiled, from answering questions during registration to getting out welcome packets to ordering Apprenticeship t-shirts to spreadsheeting completed assignments to moderating the forums. Students interact with him regularly throughout the program, and he somehow manages to juggle all his responsibilities without dropping a ball.
Our TA is Joaquim Camillo, who was a Term 01 Apprentice. We approached him with the possibility of continuing in the program to help with coursework questions, offering advice, and being a general encouragement throughout the terms, and he enthusiastically jumped in. He knows the course materials inside and out and helps steer apprentices in skill building towards greater mastery. We couldn’t run this thing without his assistance. (If you want to see Mike and Joaquim's smiling faces, click here.)
And then there’s Joshua and me. Aside from developing the program itself, we answer student questions via video “Office Hours” and keep tabs on the hubbub in the forums. We enjoy the interactions between students, watching them progress through different exercises and operations, and receive continuing confirmation that hand skills are absolutely vital in our day and age. We can’t thrive unless we can work creatively in the physical world – it’s just how we’re wired.
If you agree – if you want to learn hand-tool woodworking through an approach that lets you use your own space but keeps you accountable, offers lots of interaction with others while also allowing quiet, thoughtful shop time on your own, the Apprenticeship Program might be for you. Check it out.