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updated mon 25 jan 10


Martin Rice on sun 24 jan 10

A couple of months ago there was a longish thread on Clayart about master p=
otters, apprentices, whether there really was such a thing in the U.S., etc=
. The following is from an article in today's issue of the Chattanooga Time=
s Free Press about a master/apprentice program in Tennessee that I thought =
might be of some interest.

Signal Mountain, TN

"Master potter Talle Johnson has been honing his skills for 35 years. In ad=
dition to making his own functional and sculptural clay items, he teaches c=

Marian Heintz has been studying with Mr. Johnson for about three years and =
finds him to be an excellent instructor for many reasons.

'Besides the level of mastery and wealth of knowledge he demonstrates, he k=
nows how to adjust his teaching style to that of his students,' said Ms. He=

Last fall, Mr. Johnson and Ms. Heintz were selected as one of three master =
artist/apprentice pairs in Tennessee to receive mentoring grants from the T=
ennessee Arts Commission/Tennessee Association of Craft Artists. This pilot=
program contracts master craft artists, like Mr. Johnson, to offer concent=
rated learning to apprentices who demonstrate a strong commitment to their =

During a seven-month period, Ms. Heintz will receive 80-120 hours of instru=
ction. In August, she and Mr. Johnson will exhibit their work jointly at th=
e TAC Gallery in downtown Nashville. In addition to being thrilled about ex=
hibiting with her mentor, Ms. Heintz's goal is to become a better potter an=
d continue the rich tradition of pottery.

Mr. Johnson sees apprenticeships as the best way to immerse someone into th=
e real world and profession of clay.

'Apprenticeships offer exposure to the business of art and the social envir=
onment in which art buiness takes place,' he said. 'It tests their ability =
to focus and develop a work ethic that will see them through.'

He added, 'Marian brings many skills to the experience so we learn together=
, advancing us both.'"