Are you looking for support and community on your creative journey? Do you struggle to make time for your creative pursuits amidst daily demands?

You are not alone. Join Orpha Poupore and others in a new monthly Creatives Connection group kicking off this Thursday, Jan. 9, from 1-3 p.m. (click the flyer for more info). The group will include time for working on your project, discussion, and connecting with others. There will be a monthly theme, starting with ‘Beginnings’ in January.

We asked Orpha to tell us a bit about herself and her plans for the group…

“All my life I’ve wanted to be an artist and a writer. At times, by choice or necessity, my path has been diverted. Now in my retirement from the world of work, I am resuming my creative journey and answering the call to create. I want to invite others to join me.” — Orpha

Your flyer ‘intro’ says that you’ve wanted to be an artist and writer all your life. What were the early clues?
When I was five, my kindergarten teacher had us lay on large sheets of brown craft paper around which our figures were traced. We then proceeded to cut out the shapes and paint the ‘selfies’ to match our outfits. I was wearing a fluffy baby blue dress with lacy white ruffles. These were put on display in the school hallway. My Auntie, who was visiting and considered to be the more cultured and traveled in my family at large, took one look saying, “You’re an Artist!” From then on the course of my heart was set.

You also say that at times your path was diverted, either by choice or necessity. Tell us about that and what happened to your creative journey during those times?
My path was diverted by necessity, perhaps primarily by financial demands, which guided me to pursue graduate school while working on several occasions. However, I’ve always relished travel both abroad and in the United States. At age 40, I donned a backpack and traversed Europe for about a year staying in hostels and on some occasions subletting apartments. At that time, my main goal was to see firsthand as many artworks as possible from my learning in Art History.

Now that you’re retired and resuming your creative journey, what kinds of things are you doing?
I’ve been attracted to various visual art forms over the years. Although, I was never a full fledged art student, I was always taking art classes. A number of years ago I studied wood cut printmaking at PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art) with Dan Miller. I had put that interest aside for many years. In the summer of 2017, I looked into the course schedule for the Banana Factory in Bethlehem. It was a busy summer for me and the only class I could fit in was for Lino Cuts. My first thought was ‘Oh, I’ve already studied woodcuts. What could this possible offer?’ Well, it was sort of like not using computers for 20 years. The instructor, Jesse Shaw, was young and innovative. I learned some clever and useful ‘hacks.’ I also found that in the years between my first experience and the linocuts, my hands were not so facile in the carving of wood. The Lino was softer and more forgiving. That story being noted, I am exploring linocuts with a concentration on the carving and preparation of images at this time.

Why did you decide to create this group? What can people expect in the sessions?
Over time, I’ve met folks in classes or in passing who desire to fulfill their talents on various fronts, be it music, craft, journaling, etc. I sense we can join together and encourage ourselves to move forward on our individual paths. The Emmaus Creatives Connection is largely an opportunity to share our goals, obstacles, and journey. Aside from time to work on a project that each participant brings, the meetings will focus mainly on sharing and discussion with an emphasis on building a support network.

Do you have any suggestions for people who feel a desire to create, but can’t come to the group or don’t feel they have the time or energy after working, taking care of family, etc.?
Try to stay stimulated in order to enrich your mind/spirit. This may mean reading online blogs, watching YouTube instructional videos, looking through library books even if it’s just viewing images, visiting museums, journaling, and dreaming!

Anything else you’d like to add?
Hoping others will join and we’ll see what the year ahead may open for each one.

[ Orpha’s background includes a bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College. She also received a ESL (English as a Second Language) Program Specialist Certificate from Arcadia University and participated for four years in the Violette de Mazia Trust Fund Seminar Series for Professional Educators via the Barnes Foundation.]


[The Creatives Connection group will meet monthly on the second Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Please RSVP to Lauri at, 610-965-9284 (x210), or at the front desk. Upcoming dates include Feb. 13, March 12, and April 9. Check our online calendar for more 2020 dates.]