The Apprenticeship Program, Term One: Awesome.

The first term of the Mortise & Tenon Apprenticeship Program is wrapping up this week. We designed this eight-week course to offer students the opportunity to build structured handcraft practice into their lives, and to start to develop a pre-industrial way of thinking about woodworking. And it’s been an amazing ride.

Joshua and I intended this course to be more relational than most online learning tends to be – we wanted to give regular feedback to our students and give them the chance to interact with one another. Handcraft has always carried a community aspect to it, and even in our compartmentalized lives today (and through a limited digital medium) our goal was to keep personal engagement at the center of this thing. Our students have done a tremendous job – they’ve encouraged one another, shared resources, and have made these last couple months something special.

After an epic Greenwood Week (filled with axes, spoon carving, and the like), this week’s focus has been on (fittingly) finishing. There’s been a good deal of chatter about shellac formulations, decorative painting, and other such things. It gave me the opportunity to reflect (that’s a Grade-A Dad Joke, thank you very much) and share in the forum about a mirror restoration that Joshua and I tackled years ago, when we were still juggling clients’ furniture repairs with magazine production. Though it was a complicated project, the simple basics of paint, shellac, and earth pigments, the very things we’ve been discussing this week in the program, brought the mirror back from a very sad state.

You will be seeing and hearing more about our students’ experiences from this first term of the Apprenticeship Program in upcoming weeks. Through daily benchwork, thoughtful readings from a number of authors, and tons of friendly interactions in the course forums, they’ve been truly awesome.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, be sure to check out the program. Registration for the next term opens next Friday, October 29th. Please note, this program filled very quickly last time (just a couple days), so if you have been wanting to add a handcraft habit to your life and build a pre-industrial skill set, this is your chance.




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