In December 2022, the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts hosted its first official class in partnership with Berks LaunchBox and sold out. Open to members of the community, those in attendance began taking the steps necessary to craft their very own wooden coasters, made from scratch.
The first class session took place entirely in the GoggleWorks’ woodshop, where participants cut and sanded their planks of wood, learning proper techniques and safety in the process.
“It’s all about getting experience in the woodshop,” remarked Emily Thiel, GoggleWorks’ adult programs manager. “The class gives participants confidence in their abilities and hopes to inspire participants to create other things in the woodshop. GoggleWorks wants you to feel successful and emphasizes the process, not the final product, as art is such a valuable way to express yourself.”
The second class session focused on the laser engraver, as students put the finishing touches on their coasters, with help from Patty Leshinskie of Berks LaunchBox.
Participants selected images to personalize their handcrafted creations. From holiday themes to geometric patterns, to photographs of family members, to their own sketches, the options were limitless. Smiles could be seen as they completed their 100% handmade projects in less than 30 minutes on the laser engraver, just in time for holiday giving.
“Everyone with LaunchBox is really awesome,” said Thiel. “They’re always down to see how we can collaborate and work together in more ways, better equipping people in Berks County and all of our students here.”
Thiel was happy to speak about the resources GoggleWorks and LaunchBox provide, from 3D printers to a brand-new clay printer.
This technology might seem out-of-reach and highly expensive, yet Berks LaunchBox provides the courses and experience “for anyone who wants to learn about it.”
The Berks LaunchBox has worked with many artists from the GoggleWorks. From laser engraving wedding napkin rings with artist Luke Voytas, 3D printing projects for their After School Art Program with artist Kris Jackson, or creating nameplates for the PA Downtown Awards with artist Maggie Gallen, they continue to look for ways to collaborate on the digital side of making and the hands-on experience of completed art projects.
GoggleWorks will continue to partner with LaunchBox into the foreseeable future, offering two courses in the spring, taught by Leshinskie and Mike Daddario, who specializes in metals and printmaking. The first class will feature Flower Line Drawing, and in the second, students will design Raised Relief Hex Signs.