Host an Apprentice

Bringing an apprentice into your studio is a significant step in any artists career. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started. Click here to take a look at some examples of current apprenticeship models.

10 Questions to Ask Before Offering an Apprenticeship

  1. Why do you want an apprentice?

  2. Is your studio set up to incorporate another person?

  3. Specifically, what would you like them to do on a day-to-day basis?

  4. Will an apprentice have time to work on their own work?

  5. Are you able to pay? If not, what other compensation can you offer, (studio space, materials etc). Are you able to provide housing or any meals? Will there be sales or travel opportunities for apprentices? What resources do you have to offer (kilns, materials, etc)?

  6. How long would you like the apprenticeship to last?

  7. Do you want your apprentice to make work sold as studio production? Will such work be identified (e.g. stamped) as apprentice work?

  8. Do you want to train apprentices to make work in your established aesthetic tradition or do you want apprentices to find their own creative path during their time with you?

  9. How will you gauge the progress of your apprentices? Will you offer formal feedback and critiques?

  10. What kind of relationship do you want to have with your apprentices? Will they become a part of your personal life while they train with you? If you have a home studio, what kind of relationship do you want your apprentice to have with your family?


5 Steps to Starting an Apprenticeship Program

1. Get clear

Know what you are looking for and know what you have to offer. We’ve drafted a worksheet (see below) to help you figure this out.

2. Get the word out

Unless you already have people contacting you about apprenticeships, consider posting the position on social media, contacting local art departments, or emailing your mailing list about the position. Ask your colleagues and other local artists for suggestions of potential candidates.

3. Get to know each other.

Once you have a pool of applicants, consider inviting potential apprentices to a firing, studio sale, or craft show. Working together will tell you a lot more about your compatibility then any one conversation.

4. Trial Period

It’s a good idea to have an initial trial period of a few weeks or months for any new apprentice. This will allow you both to test out the arrangement. Make sure that the trial period is clearly specified and that you have a set date on which to check in. Have regular meetings with your apprentice to make sure that work is getting done in a satisfactory and effective way. This is also a time for the potential apprentice to ask questions or raise concerns.

5. Write it out

Once you have found a good match, consider having a clear written contract with your apprentice. Make sure that it lays out the work expectations, compensation (financial or other), length of apprenticeship and any other pertinent details. A lawyer can help you draft a more comprehensive and legally sound contract, but a simple written agreement will go a long way.