Teens Create at Charcoal & Quill Guild



Helen Pugsley with some of the teens in Charcoal and Quill Guild.

From Goshen County Library

Helen Pugsley said that when she interviewed for her job with with Goshen County Library Director Joan Brinkley, “Joan mentioned that there weren’t many resources for teens available at that time. During my job interview is when we started laying plans for Charcoal and Quill Guild.”

Charcoal and Quill Guild is a group for creative teenagers. Once a week youths between the ages of 13-18 meet in the back room of the library, have tea, homemade cookies provided by the guild goers that enjoy baking, show each other the art work they made for that week, and do a small art project. “A lot of people can’t believe that kids write and draw outside of English class and art class! When I was younger it was practically a compulsion. The type of kids my friends and I were are the ones I know how to reach. These kids are passionate about being creative and I think everyone needs an adult to fuel that at their age,” Pugsley said.

Camaraderie along with the art

Up to once a month, Charcoal and Quill Guild invites guest creators — artists, writers, poets, film makers, sculptors that have made a career out of their artistic abilities. “I feel that it’s important to show these youths that you can make a career out of art.” Pugsley explained. “And I don’t want to be the only example of that.” (Pugsley is a published author as well as a recreational artist.)

What keeps teens coming back to Charcoal and Quill Guild? In their own words:

“Friends, tea, and most importantly I get to express myself in ways I usually can’t.”

“Yes,” one continued, “We’re all different and here we get to show it.”

“Here I can just be… Me! I feel so safe.”

Family Night

The Charcoal and Quill Guild displays their work in the library’s young adult section on top of the book shelf — both the crafts the teens made during the guild’s hour and things they’ve written and drawn at home.

“We’ve had people who write poetry, draw, fashion design, wood burn, sculpt, edit videos, paint — you name it. Sometimes the hard part is figuring out how best to show the public Goshen County’s teenagers’ works.” Pugsley said. “We have a whole Facebook album.”

Part of the idea is to get the youths used to exhibition. “The more you do it the easier it gets.” This past April Charcoal and Quill Guild even held an open house in the library. The teens had to prepare their art to display, dress nicely, and act like professional artists. “The kids were phenomenal. Their parents and I were so proud of them! Everyone worked so hard to make it a wonderful experience. Especially the parents.”

Goshen County library staff and Charcoal & Quill Guild members all dressed up.

Charcoal and Quill Guild meets once a week on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. Anyone between the ages of 13-18 who has yet to graduate high school is welcome.

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