The Maine Crafts Association, in partnership with the Maine Arts Commission, has announced five 2022 mentor/apprentice pairs selected for the Craft Apprentice Program.

The 2022 Craft Apprentice Program Apprenticeship pairs:

• Tyler Gulden of Walpole with apprentice Rachel Herzer of Freeport (ceramics)

• Alice Seeger of Belfast with apprentice Amanda Affleck of Somerville (textiles)

• Siem van der Ven of Lincolnville with apprentice Jennifer Connor of Belfast (ceramics)

• Emily O’Neil of Portland with apprentice Grace Foxen of Scarborough (textiles)


• Tim Christensen of Roques Bluff with apprentice Lisa Shepperd of Swanville (ceramics)

The program began in 2016 to provide an in-studio educational opportunity for apprentices who demonstrate a commitment to further their abilities as craft artists. They accomplish this through a significant relationship with a mentor artist, according to a news release from the association.

Applicant pairs apply jointly, providing clear goals supporting the apprentice’s growth, a plan for how goals will be achieved, and a budget for the apprentice’s stipend. Both mentor and apprentice submit images of current work and other supporting material. The apprenticeship focuses on the apprentice’s goals for their studio practice and craft career during 100 hours of one-on-one in-studio learning with a mentor craft artist. Both mentor and apprentice are awarded funding to support their time together.

To close the program in October, mentors and apprentices participate in an alumni gathering and a public reception and exhibition sharing and celebrating works created during the apprenticeship period. Both events are scheduled to be held at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle. The exhibition opening reception is set for Friday, Sept. 30.

Work by apprentice Rachel Herzer. Contributed photo

Tyler Gulden with apprentice Rachel Herzer

This ceramic-based apprenticeship will focus on Herzer’s goals to further build upon her technical skills, surface and chemistry exploration, and honing in on studio production systems. She will develop her studio practice by implementing a more sustainable production system with greater consistency and workflow management, while diving into glaze formulation with chemistry and troubleshooting, and creating the time, space and feedback needed to refine her current range of work through extensive mentorship.


She will accomplish this through 100 hours of guidance with Gulden spent together in his Walpole studio, alongside field trips and occasionally working together at her current studio at Running With Scissors in Portland.

Work by apprentice Amanda Affleck. Submitted photo

Alice Seeger with apprentice Amanda Affleck

This fiber-based apprenticeship will do a deep dive into advanced weaving techniques, colorwork and textile design. Affleck wants to further develop her knowledge of complex weaving drafts while exploring plant-based color studies with naturally-dyed yarns, and also learning how to weave and construct wearable garments such as a light jacket, a boxy top and a ruana-style wrap.

She will accomplish this through 100 hours of guidance with Seeger and extensive in-studio training at Belfast Fiberarts in Belfast, a retail shop, weaving studio and community center for fiber artists established in 2019, owned and operated by Seeger.

Work by apprentice Jennifer Connor. Submitted photo

Siem van der Ven with Jennifer Connor

This ceramic-based apprenticeship will focus on slab building, glaze techniques and surface decoration. Connor seeks to expand her current craft techniques and artistic sensibilities to include one-of-a-kind installations. Siem van der Ven is uniquely positioned to support her goals to advance her ceramic skills in slab construction for standing sculpture, wall pieces and small functional wares using a slab roller.


They will work together to achieve her goal to integrate her current surface design with new learned techniques such as carving, resist work and stenciling, and developing basic glaze theory through practical applications of new glazing techniques. They will spend 100 hours of one-on-one guidance, reflection and training in van der Ven’s Lincolnville studio, down the road from Connor’s home studio.

Work by apprentice Grace Foxen. Submitted photo

Emily O’Neil with Grace Foxen

This fiber-based apprenticeship will focus on the creation of knit wearables as the primary medium for O’Neil to mentor Foxen. They will explore the use of a ribber to expand upon Foxen’s knowledge of knit garments, allowing her to utilize new techniques for more complex and sophisticated fabrics which she will use to design and complete a sweater.

First, she will learn how to set up and use the rib attachment, next Foxen will learn how to shape fabrics within the confines of the ribber, and finally she will take the skills learned to draft and design a garment that will be constructed over the remainder of the apprenticeship. The pair will accomplish this through 100 hours of one-on-one training and guidance at Foxen’s studio at Engine in Biddeford.

Work by apprentice Lisa Shepperd. Submitted photo

Tim Christensen with Lisa Shepperd

This ceramic-based apprenticeship will primarily focus on Shepperd’s goals to learn about atmospheric reduction kilns, along with developing, testing and refining glaze and slip recipes, and discussions to prepare Lisa with the skill set she needs to begin a business selling her ceramics. She will expand her ceramic skills, while learning the intricacies and logistics of wood and salt kiln firing.

She will accomplish this through 100 hours of guidance with Christensen that will include Zoom meetings and multiple firings at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, as well as smaller experimental firings in Christensen’s outdoor studio in Roque Bluffs.

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