Sam came to us in February by way of the nine-day course you might remember and we became friends. I invited him back as a result of our getting to know one another and he will be with us for a year.
Six months has passed and he has made many things not the least of which are a his workbench and his rocking chair. I have been working with Sam in the background of my shop now for six months. He has made many pieces and gained much mastery in the short time. Every piece he has made thus far has been saleable but of course that is if secondary value compared to his growing as a craftsman. It takes much longer to make beautiful things within an economic time and he has gained speed that he will need when he stands amongst others to sell what he makes for a living, but he will do just that. We talk every day about design concepts and joints to be considered in the making of things. He draws and records most days to aid his memory but soon all these things will be registered inside him to draw on forever. For me, that is what apprenticing means for Sam. We remove the economy for the season of learning and gaining mastery so we can make time to experience and experiment, draw, think and progress. It has always been this way for in training an apprentice.
When you begin an apprentice you must release him or her from the normal parameters of industry and industrial processes to provide space and time for growth beyond economy. Speed and efficiency comes as a result of such freedoms. This is the life of the lifestyle woodworker emerging into his own lifestyle development and not the lackey of industry. My apprentices never make tea or sweep the shop floor beyond sharing the responsibility for the betterment of the working environment. There is no hierarchy when respect for one another reigns. There is always a place for service and to serve though and that is why we still use the term serving an apprenticeship no matter how non PC that might seem.
Sam and Phil and I share our lives with one another in the day to day of life in the shop. For the main part it is a peaceful existence. people visit the shop every day and they ask us how much this chair is or this stool or clock. People want to support our way of life and own something that shares in it. Sam and Phil can be relied on for many things and therein is the essence of true apprenticing.