a film by Anke Schwarz
In Germany it is traditional for craftspeople to go on a journey of three years and a day upon finishing their apprenticeship. These ‚journeymen years‘ allow the tradesperson to gain experience of different workplaces before either settling down or undergoing further training to become a ‚master‘ in their field.
Craftswomen hit the road. They did it in the late middle ages and are doing it again today. But for hundreds of years women were denied access to professional ‚brotherhoods‘, journeymen’s unions, until the 1970s when they took back their right to participate in the journeying tradition. There are only three journeymen’s ‚brotherhoods‘ which accept women. Under their auspices members are able to practice their trades as well as setting off on their journeymen years.
Four journeywomen tell of their experiences on the road. A baker, a carpenter, a blacksmith and a church painter provide insight into their craft and life on the road. They allow us to witness their thirst for adventure as well as the ongoing counterplay between the pleasures of freedom and the stress of living such a public life. Their perspectives could hardly be more different. Some travel in the traditional journeyman’s costume, some not, some under the aegis of a ‚brotherhood‘, some not. From their mid twenties to their early fourties, back at home or still on the road: This is the story of four craftswomen confidently creating paths towards their unique identities.