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Saturday, September 13, 2014


(The following article is made available in arrangement with the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) and the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO). See ACT’s website

Call for applications for three-year apprenticeship in mosaic and ceramic art

Spier Arts Academy offers employment-based training in professional mosaic and provides teaching by the best international tutors. The academy is calling for applications for its three year, full-time apprenticeship focusing on Mosaic Art, including tuition in Drawing, Mosaic Theory, Art History and Business Skills.

A solid understanding of theory and practice is crucial in order to experiment and expand the boundaries of traditional mosaic and ceramic art. Art History and Design Theory assist in the development of a conceptual approach in making art, and by studying the work and influences of other artists, apprentices can learn to express their own sentiments. Developing craft into the realm of art, apprentices quickly begin to move away from creating functional, decorative pieces to well-resolved, open-ended artworks with layered meanings.

The Academy teaching approach is applied. Working against production deadlines requires the studio to operate as a professional studio where apprentices gain valuable industry experience. Mosaic and ceramic art depends on effective team collaboration, where apprentices learn a variety of approaches from masters in their fields and soon develop their own work methodologies. Apprentices are encouraged to work more and more independently, with tutors playing the role of advocates and good soundboards.

The programme is a full-time three-year commitment, where apprentices are in studio five days a week, Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 17h00. The timetable is comprised of lectures and practical learning. Participation in all aspects of the programme is compulsory. The academic year commences in January and is divided into quarters. The Academy holiday is at the end of the year.

Employment-based training combines a structured theory component with relevant work practice. Apprentices learn professional art practices by working on real-world projects; learning to scale, quantify and systematically manufacture large mosaic or ceramic pieces over a period of time.

The idea is that apprentices learn the ‘ins and outs’ of mosaic or ceramic art by applying all the aspects under the guidance of an experienced and qualified master. In order to become qualified themselves, apprentices are assessed against industry standards. The employment-based environment provides an interdisciplinary learning opportunity that enables trainees to rapidly expand their knowledge in a setting that promotes networking with professionals, tutors and their peers.

Academy tuition is sponsored, and all apprentices receive a monthly allowance and an additional monetary incentive, based on work and study performance – enabling apprentices to cover their living expenses while furthering their skills.

Focusing on Practical Mosaic or Practical Ceramics, you will spend the bulk of your day in the studio gaining valuable hands-on experience in interpreting designs into the respective mediums. Mosaic Applied Theory will demonstrate various mosaic fabrication techniques and develop your technical knowledge and mathematical skills. Practical Ceramics is similar in scope, but obviously focuses on the basic production methods of ceramics. Participants will improve their Drawing skills and Theory subjects will teach you colour theory and material knowledge. In Art History lessons you will gain a sound knowledge of the history of art in a global and local context. A fair amount of numeracy and computer skills are developed in Business Skills, where you will learn what it takes to run your own successful studio after graduation.

Academy excursions to art studios, galleries, museums and art libraries introduce apprentices to the local arts and culture scene and provide them with the necessary exposure, adding value to their off-campus learning experience.

Apprentices who obtain a minimum of 75 percent at the end of their first and second years of study, will at the end of their third year be sponsored a cultural tour of Europe that focuses on exceptional mosaic artworks. Each year’s tour is customised and a guide accompanies the apprentices to highlight aspects in major museums and introduce them to curators and artists of interest.

This award serves as a huge motivational factor for Academy apprentices to perform to the best of their ability throughout the first and second year of study. After travelling abroad and realising the degree of related industry competition, third year apprentices return with the enthusiasm and drive to succeed as mosaic or ceramic artists.

For further information visit