Rural Missouri - July 2015 - (Page 18)
Left: One of the early masters in the program, Darold Rinedollar works in his dimly lit
blacksmith shop during the days when his smithy was located in Augusta. Center: Ava's
Bob Holt was one of many ﬁddle players who shared their skills through the Traditional Arts
Apprenticeship Program. He taught many students at his farm. Right: Bootmaker Joe Patrickus
puts the ﬁnal touch on a pair of his handmade Roy Rogers-style boots. One of his many
apprentices was his son, Joey, who now runs JP's Custom Handmade Boots in Camdenton.
by Jim McCarty | firstname.lastname@example.org
t's a tradition that goes back at least as far as recorded history. A person
learns a particular skill, and through hard work and a lot of patience, masters it. The skills are handed down to an apprentice, who learns the new
techniques through example. The cycle repeats itself, preserving the skills
for another generation.
That's the way it worked until the Industrial Revolution, when machines
took over the tasks of skilled artisans. Once blacksmiths forged kitchen utensils. Today, we get them at Walmart.
Despite the steady onslaught of progress, masters of many trades still remain. Nestled in tiny pockets deep in the hills, working alongside clear-ﬂowing
streams or almost forgotten in some city tenement, these traditional artists
The forge weld, wooden wagon wheels, dovetail joints, long-bow ﬁddling
style, shape-note singing - these and a host of other traditional skills slipped
from the public view. Fortunately, Missouri and other states launched a program 30 years ago to seek out these remaining masters and help them pass
their knowledge on to interested apprentices.
In 1984, the Missouri Arts Council, through funding from the National En-
30 Years of
Apprenticeship program create
dowment for the Arts, partnered with what
was then called the Cultural Heritage Center
at the University of Missouri to launch the
Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. In
30 years, the program has funded 185 master artists, who have conducted 374 apprenticeships teaching more than 400 students.
The program has put the spotlight back on
these nearly lost arts. We may no longer need
a hand-forged frying pan, a wooden johnboat
or a powder horn decorated by a master at
scrimshaw. But there are many people today
who appreciate the look and feel of this functional art.
"That's the thing about folk art," says
Howard Marshall, who helped establish the
Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program as
the head of the Cultural Heritage Center.
"Much of it begins as a functional piece that
is also art."
The program got its start in June 1983, Martin Bergin of Overland was the ﬁrst of several s
when the NEA announced it would fund a pi- who served as masters in the program. He was als
lot program and asked states to apply. Missouri was one of 15 states funded a year after the pilot was completed. Its ﬁrst
lesson took place in December 1984.
"We are not the oldest program, but we never stopped," says Lisa Higgins,
the director of the Missouri Folk Arts Program based in Columbia, which now
administers the apprenticeships.
The early years focused a lot on music. Master and apprentice teams funded
then included ﬁddle players from the Irish, Ozark and north Missouri styles,
a Kansas City jazz musician, a dulcimer player from Lebanon and a Gospel
piano player from St. Louis. There were also some obvious Missouri crafts apprenticeships funded.
For example, chairmaker Alva Bunch passed on the skills he learned from
his father in Shannon County to apprentice John Clark. Starting with a tree
felled in the forest, Alva showed all the steps required to make a chair much
like those made by early settlers in the area.
Blacksmith Darold Rinedollar taught his apprentices the 19th-century techniques he learned from studying European traditions. He worked in a shop
that was lit only by the light of his coal-ﬁred forge, pointing out that the darkness let him better judge the heat of the metal by its color. Darold's apprenDebbie Hurt of Neelyville learns to adjust the blade on a hand plane under the watchful eye of
master woodworker Jim Price of Naylor.
RURAL MISSOURI | JULY 2015
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2015
Rural Missouri - July 2015