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Tennessee Craft



Master Artist / Apprentice Program (MAAP)

Master Artist / Apprentice Program (MAAP)

Meet the Masters:

Now accepting apprentice applications online through November 01. Click here to submit yours today!

Alf Sharp Headshot_FINAL                   Thomas Spake Headshot_FINAL                   Dale & Brin Baucum Headshot_FINAL

Alfred (Alf) Sharp is a master furniture maker who lives in Woodbury, Tenn. Specializing in classical furniture, Alf’s knowledge of joinery, carving and precise construction provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for one ready apprentice. Watch more about Alf Sharp here.

Thomas Spake is a master glass artist who lives in Chattanooga, Tenn.  While glass blowing is Thomas’ specialty, cold working techniques, as well as the mechanics of operating a glass studio, await one worthy apprentice. Watch more about Thomas Spake here.

Dale & Brin Baucum are master clay artists who live in Memphis, Tenn. With deep knowledge in both wheel thrown clay and glaze design, and more than forty years’ of experience, this husband and wife duo bring what they call “the whole package” to one aspiring apprentice. Watch more about Dale & Brin Baucum here.

Awarded apprentices receive a $1,800 stipend to work with their chosen master from Dec. 01, 2016 to June 15, 2017. MAAP is a cooperative partnership of the Tennessee Arts Commission and Tennessee Craft. For more information, email

The Master Artist / Apprentice Program (MAAP) provides concentrated learning experiences to apprentices demonstrating a comitment to further their abilities as specialized craft practitioners. MAAP celebrates the role of the master/apprentice relationship as a way to preserve the state’s cultural heritage.


How do know if I’m ready to be an apprentice? Prospective apprentices should demonstrate investment and skill in the art form they wish to continue learning along with a readiness to take their skills to the next level. In addition, eligible apprentices must be residents of Tennessee, at least 18 years of age and cannot be currently enrolled in an arts-related degree program.

There’s a master I’m interested in, but I’m worried I live too far away. Can I still apply? We find that the most successful master/apprentice partnerships are no more than a two- to three-hour one way drive apart. The good news is that given our state’s geography, two to three hours encompasses more distance than you might think! We suggest using an online map driving estimate calculator to see if your master’s hometown residence qualifies. If not, you can still apply; however, you’ll just need to demonstrate on your application how you’ll overcome the distance barrier (I.e., Skype meetings in between studio visits, paying for lodging overnight in the master’s hometown in order to have concentrated weekend work sessions, etc.)

I think I’m ready to be an apprentice, as long as my busy work schedule doesn’t get in the way. Can I create a flexible work schedule with my master, or is that set by someone else? To a large degree, you’re able to set your own schedule. Your master will work with you to try to find suitable meeting times that fit both your schedules. In the past, some partners liked to meet weekly, others meet only once or twice a month. It all depends on how flexible the master is with his/her time, how often you’ll be meeting, how long your work sessions will last each time, as well as other factors such as distance apart and communication outside of the studio. Whatever work schedule you set with your master, keep in mind that you must meet together a minimum of 80-120 hours, and within the Dec. 01 to June 15 time period.

I think I’m ready to apply, but the goals section has me stumped. What kind of goals should I include? The goals you write on your application form are simply a starting point. Don’t get too mired down in specifics. We’re looking for goals that demonstrate your eagerness to learn, and give us some sense of what things you’re hoping to accomplish. One big goal, or up to three smaller goals, are about all you’ll have time for. An example of a large goal if you were applying under furniture might be something like, “I want to learn how to make a Shaker rocking chair.” You could then elaborate on this goal to state all the joinery techniques making this chair might involve, or that you’d like to learn how to steam bend wood, etc.

If I’m selected as an apprentice, what can my $1,800 stipend be used for? Award funding can be used for any number of apprenticeship-related expenses such as: craft supplies, tools, educational books on the subject matter, travel, fuel, etc. Note: Funding is intended to partially offset expenses of time and resources incurred by the apprentice; however, it is understood that participation in the program may involve additional expenses which shall be the responsibility of the apprentice.


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