TN Craft 2020 Master Artist/Apprentice Program Pairs Announced

From Laurie Davis –

Tennessee Craft, in partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission, announces the Master Artist/Apprentice Program (MAAP) pairings for 2020. The mission of the MAAP is to encourage and invest in the continuation, advancement, and creation of Tennessee craft by recognizing the value of the master craft artist and apprentice relationship as a way to preserve the state’s cultural heritage.

“The Master Artist/Apprentice Program provides a wonderful professional opportunity on an annual basis for three emerging artists to refine their work under the concentrated guidance of seasoned professional artists,” says Tennessee Craft Executive Director Jennifer Justice.

“It is exciting to see the beautiful growth and relationships that evolve from artists working closely together. Every year new professional artists and apprentices are selected in diverse media. The program, coordinated in concert with the Tennessee Arts Commission, culminates in a vibrant exhibition at the Commission’s gallery.”

Meet the Artists:

The 2020 apprentices selected are WOOD: William “Bill” Bleau (Arlington), mentored by Master Rick Cannon (Memphis); CLAY: Catherine Norrell (Winchester), mentored by Carrie Anne Parks (Chattanooga); and FIBER/TEXTILE: Mirrah Johnson (Silver Point), mentored by Master Rena Wood (Smithville/Cookeville).

Mirrah Johnson, 2020 apprentice, applied to MAAP because she wants to learnhow to create an intricately embroidered piece. She says, “I want to understand the subtleties in embroidery that I would not necessarily pick up if I tried to learn on my own. For example, finding the appropriate tension of the fabric, learning how to use different types of thread, and the best ways to hold my hands, among other things that Rena, a master fiber artist, can teach me.”

The partnership between Tennessee Craft and the Tennessee Arts Commission provides Tennessee artists with relevant and alternative educational experiences, promotes and facilitates fine craft as a viable career path for Tennessee artists, fosters deliberate mentoring, and creates professional development opportunities for emerging Tennessee craft artists.