A Craft Apprenticeship/Mentoring Program will begin on April 15 in the eighteen county area served by the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild, which is based in Elkin, NC. The Guild seeks apprentice candidates in six craft media, and master artisans to serve as their mentors over a six to twelve month period. The areas of study will be clay, fiber, glass, metal (including precious metal jewelry), photography and wood (including instrument making).

The field-based apprenticeship training will take place in the private studios of Guild exhibiting members. There is no cost to join the program, but candidates will be screened for aptitude, commitment and entrepreneurial spirit.

The Guild anticipates that the apprentice will spend thirty hours per week in the studio of the mentor, with twenty of these devoted to instruction and ten to practice. In addition, the Guild plans to sponsor seminars, workshops and lectures relating to owning and operating a craft business.

The watershed of the Yadkin River defines the boundaries of the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild's serving area. Those counties are Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin in North Carolina, and the counties of Carroll, Grayson and Patrick in Virginia

Interested candidates for apprenticeship or mentoring positions should contact Mary Mascenik, the program's coordinator, by April 1 at
craft_mentor@triad.rr.com or 336-414-7749.

The Yadkin Valley Craft Guild is a non-profit membership organization that promotes craft training, education, production and marketing. Its gallery, office and demonstration clay studio are located at 122 West Main Street, Elkin. It joins other North Carolina craft groups, such as the Southern Highlands Craft Guild in Asheville and the Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc. in Winston-Salem, in a $14 billion nationwide handmade craft industry.

North Carolina ranks second in the United States for production and sales of fine crafts, with $580 million in annual sales. More than 6000 Tarheels make their living as craft artisans of the approximately 120,000 craftspeople working in the US today. The average income of a full-time craft artisan is $50,000, 26% above the national median of $39,657.

The design industry, including arts and crafts, industrial design and software, were recommended in a 2003 study as economic development targets for the entire northwest region of the state. The Angelou Economics "Comprehensive Economic Development Study for Northwest North Carolina" urged the creation of a vibrant and growing network of small businesses. These, they reported, should focus on crafts and cultural tourism to replace the lost textile, furniture and tobacco industries.

Penelope Moseley
Executive Director
Arts Council of the Twin Counties


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