We're very excited to announce that for the first time ever Leslie Tharp Designs will be accepting applications for apprenticeship positions. A handful of lucky applicants will have the opportunity to participate in this 8 week work/learn program beginning June 16th.
Are you interested in becoming an apprentice?
Traditionally an Apprenticeship was the only way to take up the trade of blacksmithing. This work/ knowledge exchange gave the Apprentice an opportunity to spend time in a blacksmithing shop and taught them a wide variety of skills. Once the Apprentice had proven they were prolific within a range of skills and tasks they were deemed a Journeyman, which meant they could now travel to other shops and assist other Master Blacksmiths in exchange for more knowledge. The end goal was to travel and learn as much as possible so you could one day open your own shop and be able to support yourself in the trade.
About this Program
Leslie Tharp is offering a summer apprenticeship program for individuals interested in building a foundation in blacksmithing. This program will take place from 8:30-12:30 on Saturday mornings beginning June 16th for 8 weeks. See dates listed below for full schedule.
Unlike one of Leslie’s project-based workshops, you will not be working towards producing finished work, but rather you will be exposed to new techniques (following the Journeyman Certification Skill Requirements List) and expected to practice those techniques for the sake of learning.
Your education will be focused on fundamental blacksmithing, including tool identification, care and safety practices, and metalworking techniques such as tapering, upsetting, spreading, slitting, twisting, bending, scrolling, riveting, collaring, mortise and tenon joinery, raising and sinking, cutting and filing, metal identification, heat-treating techniques, and possibly more (or possibly less depending on apprentice progress).
In a traditional apprenticeship you could expect to spend years learning these techniques and many more before being deemed a Journeyman. However, in this 8-week course you will be expected to learn the fundamentals and be encouraged to develop the focus and dedication required to continue your education in this field.
What’s the Cost?
This is a work exchange program, and you will be required to work for your education rather than paying for it. Each session will be divided into two parts. For the first portion of the day you will be asked to help with shop projects. The work you are asked to do may or may not be metalwork related and is intended more to be beneficial to the workshop than to your education. Examples of these tasks could include assistance organizing the shop, sweeping the floor, cutting and grinding metal for future projects, taking photos for social media posts, help forging tooling, and any more. You will be expected to perform those tasks without complaint in exchange for the opportunity to learn the previously mentioned skills. Respect for the tools and the shop, along with a good attitude are absolute requirements of this program.
What Experience Should You Have?
No particular experience is required and a strong work ethic and good attitude are the most important things you can bring to the table. You will be expected to show patients and humility and to refine your technique through practice and repetition.
If you’ve never blacksmithed before, please list all hands-on work you’ve done and any other workshop related experiences you’ve had in the application below.
You are expected to attend all sessions unless previously agreed upon, or unless there is an illness or emergency. This program will be a commitment, similar to a job. If you fail to attend without a valid excuse, or are late to your session, you will be dismissed from the program.
June 16th, June 23rd, July 7th, July 14th July 21st, July 28th, August 4th, August 25th
Please be prepared to work safely in a metal shop by wearing denim or other cotton-based pants, extending all the way to your ankles, along with closed toed shoes. Cotton t-shirts are great (no synthetic fibers can be worn safely in the shop). We will be working in the summer heat, so a sweat towel, bandana, and lunch box with refreshing snacks and drinks is encouraged.
How to Apply
You must be 18 years of age or older to apply.
Please submit the following to LeslieTharpDesigns@gmail.com before midnight June 8th.
1. Resume showing 3 years of work experience and education experience, and 3 work references with contact info.
2. Answers to the following questions (see bottom of page)
Applications will be reviewed by June 11th and final interviews had by June 13th. If this program is successful you can expect to see a call for applications again soon, so please do not be discouraged if you are not accepted the first time as space is very limited.
(please copy/ paste, and answer all 7 in your email):
1. Do you have any prior blacksmithing experience?
2. Do you have experience working in a workshop? (It does not have to be commercial or metal related)
3. What experience do you have building projects of your own design (functional or not)?
4. What “team” experiences have you had? (Sports, Work, Other, etc..?)
5. What is your interest in blacksmithing?
6. What purpose does this program hold for you?
7. If you are not accepted (do to limited space) would you be interested in applying again in the future?