Make and Create Weekend a chance for immersion with the Center for Creative Exploration and the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen

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Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

Learning a fine art or fine craft skill may seem like a high barrier to overcome: Where do you find the materials? The facilities? The instructors? The time?

PCA&D’s Center for Creative Exploration and the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen are teaming up to provide all of that during the weekend of April 23-24. For those who gift themselves two days of immersion, the organizations are collaborating on a Make and Create Weekend Retreat for participants to try new creative outlets. From glassblowing to figure drawing, printmaking and art books to jewelry making, the retreat is designed to blend studio experiences at PCA&D with hands-on workshops at the Guild. 

“It’s an intimate retreat,” says Robert Antonishak, a member of the Guild’s Board of Directors, who notes that retreat attendance is capped at 10 participants. Class members “can try something new without the barrier of access. The weekend offers a broad perspective, from fine arts to fine craft.”

‘No experience necessary’

What should participants expect? First of all, says CCE Director Natalie Lascek, “they don’t have to bring anything but themselves: All materials are provided.”

Secondly, since the class size is deliberately being kept small, “it’s a great chance for creatives to pick the brains of their instructors.”

And, finally, “if you fall in love with one of the (skills), our organizations have the ability to help you continue on that path. So test all of it, and see what sticks!”

Take glassblowing, for example. Instructor Michael Peluso (who you can watch in action here and here) says people in his class will heat glass from a cold state, “add color, mount the color in, blow the glass out, and shape it to their desired shape.” Their creation will be ready to take home when the retreat is over, he adds, and “all my classes require zero experience or knowledge of glass.”

That means if you’ve always suspected you’d fall in love with glassblowing, here’s your chance to discover the basics with someone who loves to teach beginners. 

“I tell people that glass blowing has nothing to do with your education or physical abilities, it’s elementary math and science and just getting the glass hot,” Peluso says. “In Italy, they start teaching people how to blow glass at the age of 6. I personally have seen no difference between students the age of 9 to 94.”

“I always joke that teaching gives me that same passion that I experienced on my very first day of glass blowing, and it’s continuous and constant,” Peluso adds. “Kind of like a perpetual machine.” 


Peluso, a PGC artist member, operates a soft glass and flameworking studio in Elizabethtown. Other instructors set for the retreat weekend include: 

Figure drawing, Leah Limpert Walt: A Lancaster-based painter and sculptor, she studied at the University of Delaware and Moore College of Art and Design, and earned her BFA summa cum laude from PCA&D. She has shown in New York City; Philadelphia; Bethlehem, PA; and throughout the region. 

Printmaking/book arts, Nichole Madonna: The Lancaster-based Madonna earned her BFA from PCA&D with a focus on abstract painting. She works in sketchbooks, creates art out of found objects, and creates abstract artwork with a focus on color, texture, and mark-making. 

Jewelry making, Kelly Rapp: A bench jeweler based in Lancaster, PGC artist member Rapp earned her BFA in Metals/Jewelry/CAD/CAM and Painting at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She has been creating fine jewelry for more than 12 years and has taught jewelry classes through the Guild for five years.


The inspiration

Last summer, eight students spent a week exploring fine art and fine craft in an inaugural collaboration between CCE and the Guild (The weeklong camp will be held again this summer, with one session during July and a second session during August, for artists in grades 5-9). The camp got great reviews from participants, parents, and instructors alike, Lascek says, and the idea for a weekend-long creative retreat for adults was born (“We probably can’t spend a week at camp, much as we want to!” Lascek says). “The Guild’s audience and CCE’s audience are ripe for that kind of thinking. It’s a natural progression, and there are always people who say they want to spend more time” being creative and immersing themselves in new skills. 

“It was so popular after that summer camp, we definitely wanted to bring that back,” agrees Kelly Rapp, instructor and Workshop Coordinator for the Guild. “The collaboration between the two organizations is pretty amazing. Hopefully, it just continues to grow.”

Learn more and find signup details here