Whether native or imported, the Traditional Art Apprenticeship program helps communities preserve their own cultural heritage by providing an opportunity for master traditional artists to pass on their skills to a qualified apprentice. Traditional arts reflect a community's shared way of life. Many of these practices are rooted in a longstanding sense of place, community and cultural identity. More than just lessons, Master traditional artists seek to share this understanding of their culture with their apprentices. Such an exchange is usually learned in an informal, "give and take" way, through example or imitation rather than formal academic training. The Traditional Arts Masters for 2012 are:
Thomas Cote, Acadian woodcarving (Limestone) Heather Taylor, apprentice
Thomas Cote of Limestone, Maine comes from a long line of talented woodcarvers, stretching as far back to his great, great grandfather, Jean Baptiste Cote?, a noted carver from Quebec, to his mother who first showed him how to use a jackknife when he was 12 years old. A veteran teacher in the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program, Thomas Cote? will share this heritage with his apprentice Heather Taylor in Cote’s carving studio in Limestone, Maine.
Paula Love-Thorne, Penobscot Basketmaking Brock Thorne, apprentice
Building on her work with traditional Penobscot basketmakers Bill Shay, Christine Nicolas, Leslie Nicolas, Irving Ranco and Rose Clark, Master basketmaker Paula Love-Thorne will be teaching her apprentice Brock Thorne how to identify brown ash trees and sweetgrass as well as how to prepare these raw materials into baskets. For many younger basketmakers, learning how to find and prepare the materials for weaving is the most difficult part.
Melvin Roy, Wood working (Grand Isle) Ray Charette, apprentice
Melvin Roy of Grande Isle has spent a lot of time in the woods, working as a logger and farmer and a talented artist who creates tables, chairs and other pieces out of tree stumps and found wood. As a first year master in the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program, Melvin Roy will be working with his apprentice Ray Charette on teaching how to find just the right tree and stump, a process that involves looking and studying trees and knowing how to shape and prepare it into a finished piece.
Frances “Gal” Frey, Passamaquoddy beadwork Leon Sockebasin, apprentice
Through support from The Belvedere Fund at the Maine Community Foundation Master bead worker Frances “Gal” Frey will be teaching Leon Sockebasin advanced skills in Passamaquoddy beadwork. Frey is known throughout the Wabanaki region as a traditional beadwork artisan and basketmaker. Both Frey and Sockebasin will be working together on the creation of a traditional match coat that will be on display at the Wabanahaki Museum and Resources Center at Pleasant Point.
Funding for the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts Program.
Full detail of the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant can be found by clicking here