This morning, our students in the Apprenticeship program turned in the last of their assignments – they’ve posted pictures of their shellac and milk paint projects and shared their essays of reflection on the past eight weeks of dedicated craft work.
We’ve watched these folks go from green and a little nervous on day one to steady growth in confidence and skill over two months. They’ve taken these challenges head on, working through freehand sharpening, stock prep with hand tools, mortise-and-tenon joinery, dovetails (through and half-blind), rabbets, dadoes, green woodworking, and shellac and milk paint finishing.
It has been an exhilarating term. Mike and I spent countless days this year creating an online hand-tool woodworking educational program that offered personal mentorship and camaraderie, with our fingers crossed that folks would actually be able to pick these skills up. And we were blown away. Not only were they finding success, but they’ve all bonded so well with each other as they’ve worked through these lessons as a team. They exchanged loads of tips and had lively and thoughtful discussions about the reading material. Now that the term has officially ended, several of our graduates are exchanging phone numbers and are planning in-person meet ups.
One student reported “I feel more capable, more aware, and more efficacious as a direct result of this experience.” Another said, “I cannot express to you how much this class has meant to me. This was a perfect balance of videos, reading material and project assignments.” We are particularly enthusiastic about the three times per week that we do video “office hours” to respond to specific questions in the forums. This gives ample opportunity for further demonstration or clarification for particular questions.
As the dust has settled, it seems that this program hits the sweet spot of clear video tutorial coupled with personal guidance and team camaraderie all in the context of your home workshop. We are so excited about this format going into the future. The Apprenticeship program is definitely a major success and we will continue to offer this. In all honesty, I’m not sure there’s a better format for learning this stuff. In-person classes are brief and expensive. Instructional videos are lonely and impersonal. But the Apprenticeship program seems to provide the best of both.
We’ve been fielding loads of inquiries over the past few months from people eager to sign up for the next term. The first booked up in two days – the next term opens this Friday, the 29th. We have no idea how long it will take to fill up, but if you’re interested in growing your skills in a program like this, do not delay.
Be ready for Friday.