The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 5, Number 3
Aug 1981

From the Pilot Apprenticeship Workshop

A 24-page summary report has been issued on the two-day "Pilot Apprenticeship Workshop" at New Haven in January. The workshop was held by the National Council for Apprenticeship in Art and Craft, formerly known as the Council for (or on) Apprenticeship in Art and Crafts (ANL Sept. 1980, p. 48).

The report includes background material as well as session transcripts and is so informative that permission has been obtained to reprint excerpts in this Newsletter. More information can be had through two committee heads:

Gil Donahue, Apprenticeship Information Service Committee. 2110 N. Kenmore St., Arlington, VA 22201. Hone: (703) 527-0969. Work: (202) 653- 6136.

Ruth Gaynes, Public Information Committee. 90 Manchester Street, Hartford, CT 06112. (203) 242-8811.

Major sections of the report are listed below. The first two are reprinted in this issue.

Recent History of Apprenticeship
(First, second and third sessions:)

Other issues

(Fourth session) Develop Ideal Apprenticeship Models for:

The studio
Academic internship
Institutional/art center programs

Existing models of institutional and art center apprentice ships
Purpose and officers of the National Council for Apprenticeship in Art and Craft


In growing numbers, Americans look to crafts and visual arts for their livelihood as well as for self- expression. The potential here is great, but preparation cam be hard and lonely.

As they measure their skills in the marketplace, the new American craftsmen find that academic education alone is inadequate. These craftsmen need supplementary training and experience. Other groups, such as the handicapped and the educationally/economically disadvantaged, also need access to nonacademic training in order to succeed as craft professionals.

Apprenticeships can meet these needs. At present, however, demands for apprenticeships far exceed opportunities. Those apprenticeships available are often less than satisfactory for master and apprentice alike.

The problems are basic, but solvable. Labor laws written for industrial situations (but binding upon the studio and small-scale workshop) make apprenticeships in art and crafts difficult, impractical and sometimes unavoidably illegal. Without experience or training, master craftsmen and their apprentices have difficulty establishing the communication and accord necessary for a working relationship. Master craftsmen lack forums to discuss common problems and to compare work and teaching practices.

Working models for different types of apprenticeships to meet the diverse needs of crafts must be created and shared. A national mandate is mow evident. The task is clear to move in the direction of providing leadership and guidance in apprenticeship throughout America,

Recent History of Apprenticeship

1970 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation initiated grant program in support of apprenticeships.
1973 The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conducted a national questionnaire survey on craft apprenticeships.
1975 The National Endowment for the Arts, Visual Arts Program, established a craft apprenticeship grant program.

The Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, with support from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, conducted a summer session on apprenticeships.

1976 The Haystack Production Conference, with funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, provided a forum for continuing the dialogue on apprenticeship.
1977 At the American Craft Council's conference in Winston-Salem, NC, the concerns voiced by craftsmen led to the appointment of Gerry Williams to plan and conduct a conference on apprenticeship.
Apr. 1978 A National Conference on Apprenticeship, the first solely devoted to the subject, was held at the State University of New York at Purchase, sponsored by SUNY/Purchase, the American Crafts Council and the Daniel Clark Foundation, and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Over 100 craftsmen, apprentices, educators and officials of concerned government agencies participated. The National Committee for Apprenticeship was established. Information about the conference was distributed with the aid of a grant from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation.
1979 The National Endowment for the Arts, Folk Arts Program, extended its guidelines to include traditional crafts in its apprenticeship grant program.
Mar. 1980 The National Committee for Apprenticeship began a pilot research project to develop information on current master/apprentice relationships, governmental regulations and related issues.
May 1980 The National Council for Apprenticeship in Art and Craft was established to succeed the National Committee for Apprenticeship. Officers were appointed and committees designated.
July 1980 The World Craft Council, at its Vienna, Austria, meeting, passed a resolution supporting the concept of apprenticeships in crafts. The International Council for Apprenticeship in the Crafts was formed, with 25 countries currently being represented.
Jan. 1981 Connecticut Workshop on Apprenticeship in the Crafts, with funding from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, conducted by the Council at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut.

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