Artisan Development Program | North House Folk School

North House Folk School

Program Announcement: Artisan Development Program 2019-2020 Cohort

North House Folk School is a unique educational nonprofit committed to enriching lives and building community through the teaching of traditional northern crafts in a student-centered learning environment that inspires the hands, the heart and the mind.  Staff members work in cooperation with both instructors and volunteers to ensure that every student experience at North House is of the highest possible quality. The ideals of cooperation, teamwork, dedication and creativity are central to the success of the organization.

Program Overview:

   The Artisan Development Program nurtures the growth of the next generation of traditional craft artisans. The program offers professional development including mentorship, education practice, studio space and time for artisans committed to pursuing craft education as a professional pathway. Resident Artisans in the program 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.


   2019-2020 Cohort (2 openings): January 9, 2019 through December 13, 2020.

  *Note: Current grant funding supports program through 2019. Applicants will be offered guaranteed funding through 2019, and will be offered the second year of funding pending grant renewal.


1. Expand and deepen craft skills in a chosen core area, through independent study and by collaborating with a craft mentor (approx. 40% of each year, may vary season to season)

  • Utilize studio space for craft exploration, demonstrating independent initiative and exploration while building proficiency and confidence in your chosen craft

  • Develop relationships with professional craft mentor(s), utilizing provided funding to build a multi-year strategy for engagement. Integrate both on campus mentorship with travel to their studio(s) to maximize learning

  • Pursue an appropriately balanced array of projects, focusing both on core craft skills while also creating a body of work for consignment sales (i.e. in school store) and/or commercial sales

  • Participate in spring and fall artist and business of art development programming co-hosted with the Grand Marais Art Colony

  • Utilize four (4) days of North House coursework annually, to advance personal craft skills or experience teaching strategies


2. Develop teaching skills by serving as an assistant instructor with multiple senior instructors and in multiple interrelated curriculum areas.  (approx. 30% of each year, may vary season to season).

  • Collaborate with Program Director and Program Manager to identify and build partnership with appropriate group of 4-8 instructors to collaborate with each year

  • Assistant instruct 2-4 days of coursework per month, serving in an active role in pre-course preparation and post-course wrap up

  • Communicate with collaborating instructors to ensure the effectiveness of the partnership and maximize its value to students, developing artisan, and instructor

  • In alignment with individual skill development progression, take on appropriate course leadership roles including contributing ideas and efforts towards classroom improvements

  • Participate in North House’s annual instructor retreat


3. Actively expand public engagement skills and professional connections through participation in selected regional community events. (approx. 20% of each year, may vary season to season).

  • Attend 2-4 key regional events, conferences and/or festivals per year, identifying both personal and institutional opportunities for involvement. May include roles as demonstrators or artisan sales

  • Play an active programmatic role at key times for North House as part of your participation in the program: Spend 10 days per year in a combination of demonstrating, teaching mini courses during special events, and doing public instructor residency.

  • In cooperation with the Program Manager for Local Engagement, identify and complete a project during the two year program that advances North House’s mission in the local community


4.  Build meaningful relationships with international artisans and institutions (approx. 10% of each year, may very season to season)

  • Build meaningful international relationships by coordinating pre-visit resources for international guest artisans (approx. 1/year) and by serving in support role during coursework

  • Spend time in the first year of the program researching and developing goals and a plan for the Scandinavian professional development trip to be completed in the second year

  • Travel to Scandinavia for several weeks to research craft, engage with Scandinavian artisans, and build international relationships


Note: Current grant funding supports program through 2019. Applicants will be offered guaranteed funding through 2019, and will be offered the second year of funding pending grant renewal.

  • Living stipend paid as a North House employee ($800/month)

  • Furnished lodging and studio space located near the central North House campus, shared with other program participants. Possibility for housing stipend to pay for alternate housing in second year. Pets are not allowed in program housing, space for partners/families may be negotiable.

  • Professional development funding for materials, tools, conference and festival participation, lodging and travel expenses ($4000 in year 1, up to $2000 of which may be used for tools/materials)

  • Funding for building mentor relationship and engagement plan ($4000 in year 1)

  • International immersion funding for Scandinavian travel and research during second year of apprenticeship (amount to be defined by grant renewal process)

  • Compensation for solo-instructing up to 10 days of coursework per year on campus (negotiated with Program Director)

  • Up to 6 self-arranged days per year of teaching for other institutions  (no additional pay from North House, but compensation may be gained from host institutions)

  • Opportunity to gain income from consignment sales in North House School Store (60%), sales at Artisan Marketplace during special events (100%), and sales at regional events (100%).

  • Compensation for materials used for teaching mini-courses at public/special events

  • Holidays/personal days (7 days/year), vacation days (10 days/year)

Skills & Qualifications: 

Focus Areas:

We recognize that traditional craft artisans are often committed to multiple areas of craft. Successful resident artisans will be those who have the ability to balance their interests appropriately to accomplish the depth of learning they desire.

Current possible core craft areas for focus include: fibers (felting, spinning, knitting), basketry, leatherwork, wood (turning, timber framing, boat building, carving, building), and foods. Other areas of emerging interest to the Folk School may be proposed, provided that they have a strong connection to traditional Northern craft.


Desired Qualifications of Applicants:

  • Four plus years work in one or more areas of traditional Northern craft

  • Experience teaching hands-on craft to groups of a range of ages and backgrounds

  • Prior participation in public showing of work through galleries, exhibits, or public sales

  • Experience in craft education as an intern, apprentice, artist in residence or equivalent preferred

  • Strong communication skills, including comfort speaking with the public and efficient use of information technology

  • Confidence developing strong and positive working relationships with instructors, staff and volunteers

  • Ability to problem solve, think creatively, and adapt to changing situations with a positive attitude

  • Documented success managing independent projects and engaging project planning. Ability to work independently and self-motivate towards long and short term goals


Applicant Requirements:

  • Valid driver’s license

  • Valid US Passport and ability to travel abroad independently

  • Possession of necessary equipment and tools to pursue their chosen area of craft including a personal computer

  • Physical requirements: Ability to walk up and down stairs, lift and carry equipment and tools related to craft study area, work occasionally immersed in dust.

  • Willingness to live in Grand Marais, MN for duration of program

  • Criminal Background checks will be completed on all finalists prior to confirmation in the program


To Apply: 

Inquiry & Application Timeline:
Applications available starting July 20, 2018.  Closing date: September 16th, 2018. Interviews take place during the weeks following the closing date. See Application Information on website for application instructions:

Equal Opportunity:

North House Folk School is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, familial status, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender stereotypes, genetic information, status with regard to public assistance or any other status protected by applicable law. North House Folk School welcomes and encourages applications by individuals from underrepresented groups in the field of traditional Northern craft.

Contact Information
Contact Name: 
Sarah Waddle
Contact Email: 
Contact Phone Number: