Bob Fuller’s family has been designing and building wooden ships wheels for three generations. Creating this piece of marine hardware involves patternmaking, metal working, wood turning, marine joinery, and finish varnishing. Without support, it would be very difficult to teach the building of wooden ships steering wheels, due to the high cost of materials and the number of hours that need to be dedicated in a one-on-one setting to master this craft. A 2017 apprenticeship gave John O’Rourke the opportunity to learn this highly specialized maritime craft.
(Pictured above: Bob Fuller and his apprentice John O’Rourke, marine joinery, 2017. Photo: Maggie Holtzberg.)
Anita Peters Little, known within her tribe as Mother Bear, makes Wampanoag regalia for use at powwows and ceremonial occasions. A 2006 apprenticeship supported Mother Bear in passing on regalia making skills and knowledge to tribal member Michelle Fernandes. They worked on all the necessary skills needed to complete traditional regalia, including how to properly measure, sew deer hide, paint traditional designs, and cut fringes. “The program provided the materials needed and one-on-one time, which are sometimes financially out of reach for tribal members.”
(Pictured above: Native regalia made by Anita Peters Little, aka Mother Bear, 2006.)
The centuries-old artistic tradition of iconography requires the application of very specific techniques and image representations that have been passed down from artist to artist through the ages. Ksenia Pokrovsky is widely credited with reviving the writing of traditional Russian icons. A 2005 apprenticeship allowed apprentice Sister Faith Riccio to spend significant time in the Pokrovsky household working under Ksenia’s guidance.
(Pictured above: Apprentice Faith Riccio (left) and Ksenia Pokrovsky. Photo: Billy Howard.)
Chinese seal carving and calligraphy
Qianshen Bai practices the ancient arts of Chinese calligraphy and seal carving, which he learned from Chinese mentor artist-scholars before moving to the United States in 1996. Wen-Hao Tien came to the United States from Taiwan in 1987. In 2002, she met and assisted Bai at a community workshop on calligraphy hosted by the Chinese Culture Connection. Wen-Hao became Bai’s apprentice with support from a 2005 Apprenticeship grant.
(Pictured above: Qianshen Bai and Wen-Hao Tien. Photo: Billy Howard.)
Josh Luke is a traditional sign painter who specializes in surface gilding and reverse glass gilding. Corinna D’Schoto met Josh Luke in 2013 while he was in the process of painting a mural in Jamaica Plain. She began an informal apprenticeship by working alongside him on site and later helping out in his studio. Their 2015 apprenticeship focused on various techniques of sign painting and gold leaf, including preparing surfaces, making patterns, handling the lettering quill, and gold leafing on a variety of surfaces.
(Pictured above: Josh Luke holding a piece of his work. Photo: Maggie Holtzberg.)
Nantucket lightship basketry
No basket form is more tied to place than the Nantucket lightship basket. Basket maker Karol Lindquist apprenticed with Reggie Reed, who descended from some of the island’s earliest basket makers. In 2002, Karol and daughter Timalyne Frazier completed a year-long apprenticeship. The two women worked in studio just steps away from Karol’s home. Inside are workbenches, wood-cutting tools, a lathe, and shelves stacked with loops of rattan and walnut basket molds. Blue ribbons won in competitions line the wall.
(Pictured above: Apprentice Timalyne Frazier and Karol Lindquist.)