“My history with journeyperson-apprentice relationships is both a professional and a personal one. What I have found is that the sharing and learning flows in both directions. This may not be obvious at first glance, as the skilled craftsperson–trade student relationship tends to be oversimplified. But the interconnection is indeed complex.
The piece began with two Canadian Government Department of Finance office chairs. Both carry the identifying government sticker and each has a serial number for tracking purposes. They represent the underlying structure of the journeyperson-apprentice relationship: money. The master chair is painted silver — clean, pure, radiating knowledge and wealth. The apprentice chair, on the other hand, is unpolished. Sprayed with an acid post-assembly and left outdoors for two years to weather, it represents the uncut diamond that is the youth of every generation. The chairs are caricatures of how each role is perceived by the other: the assured, know-it-all teacher; the unruly and ill-kempt student.
I hired a young person to do the labour of attaching the wire to the chairs. We worked together for several weeks. Over the course of the project, there were many moments when the “apprentice” offered up insightful suggestions. It is in working together in person that this type of informal transfer of information can easily occur.
I am particularly interested in exploring where the journeyperson-apprentice relationship is headed in our increasingly online world.”
– Donald Evans