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Program Overview

Our Artisan Development Program fosters the growth of the next generation of traditional craft artisans. It offers professional development including mentorship, education practice, and studio space for artisans committed to pursuing craft education as a professional pathway. We believe that the future of traditional northern craft must be nurtured amongst the emerging artisans of today—and that our campus is an exciting place for that growth to happen.

Artisan Development Program participants build in-depth experience in their craft, while enhancing the vitality of North House Folk School. Participants cultivate meaningful relationships, develop craft and teaching skills for future leadership, and forge connections with regional, national and international institutions and artisans.

Program Vision and Direction

The Artisan Development Program began in 2017 with an initial cohort of two artisans and will grow in 2018 to include two additional artisans. Each participant will spend two years in the program.

The program of study for artisansincludes the following components over the two years:

  • Craft Study- engagement with a professional mentor, dedicated studio space, budget for mentorship, materials, and tools
  • Teaching Skill Development- assisting instructors in courses at North House, independent teaching for North House, complete resource improvement projects to benefit classrooms
  • Professional Development and Public Engagement- traveling to conferences, festivals, and regional events to build professional networks, sell work, and represent North House, as well as demonstrating and representing program on campus. Participating in artist development trainings and opportunities.
  • International Connections- assist in creating opportunities for international instructors to visit and teach at North House, spend several weeks travelling and researching craft in Scandinavia in second year of the program

Current Artisan Development Program Participants

Beth Homa

Beth Homa uses sustainably harvested and hand processed bark from White Paper Birch tree to make woven items that can be used in everyday life, as well as in a gallery. By teaching classes and facilitating other learning opportunities in this handcraft, Beth focuses on building communities and celebrating the weaving traditions rooted many different cultures.

After studying painting at Hamline University and working as a caseworker for the homeless in Baltimore Maryland, Beth became an intern at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. There she learned many traditional crafts including many styles of boat building, but her focus shifted to basketry and her obsession with birch bark was sparked. Birch bark quickly became her her principal medium.  Beth has taught birch basketry classes at North House Folk School, the American Swedish Institute, the Weavers’ Guild, and many special engagements including the annual Basket Camp. Through communal learning, public demonstrations, and facilitating harvests, she shares her love for this durable and beautiful material with everyone with a desire to learn.

Visit Beth’s website

Angela Robins

Angela Robins is a woodworker and educator, inspired by the curved forms found in Scandinavian and Japanese wooden crafts, in particular the boat and bowl. Raised in the U.S. and Japan, her interest in traditional crafts was sparked from seeing images of wooden Japanese fishing boats.  After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami of northeastern Japan, she returned to her hometown and visited with traditional craftspeople in the region.  Her first opportunity to study traditional woodworking and crafts was at North House Folk School, where she was an intern in 2013.

Since then she taught skin on frame wooden boatbuilding at a youth development program, Urban Boatbuilders, for three years, and continues to teach the ancient textile technique, nålbinding, to students of all ages. In 2015 she received a Minnesota Folk & Traditional Arts Grant to study Scandinavian green wooden bowl turning with Jim Sannerud.

In the spring of 2015, she assisted boatbuilder and researcher Douglas Brooks with the documentation and building of a traditional wooden fishing boat with one of the last boatbuilders in northeastern Japan.

As a participant in the Artisan Development Program, she will focus primarily on her wooden bowl turning and carving practice.

Visit Angela’s website