Old Crafts, New Skills

In our increasingly high-tech world, so much of old-world, artisan craftsmanship is disappearing in the digital age. This summer, take your cue from the old flowers pushing forth new blooms and pick up a new skill while learning an old craft. We’ve included plenty of fun options to entertain and educate kids, as well as seniors. From the ancient art of pottery to the popular Victorian pastime needlepoint, learning yesterday’s craftsmanship can open a whole new world for you.


This summer, beginning June 17 through Aug. 9, Bitter Root Pottery is hosting “Summer Kids Camp,” a series of weeklong, daily classes for kids (6-12 years old). Sessions are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ($95 per day) and promise a bonanza of activities. Students receive step-by-step instructions on how to make and design a cup or bowl on the wheel; they’ll choose a glaze color; and the staff handles the glazing and firing process. You’ll get a call when your prodigy’s masterpiece is ready for pickup. Parents, want to get away from the kiddos? Find your Zen space—the indoor greenhouse, Japanese koi pond or breathtaking mountain views—while you take an adults-only (18+), two-hour, beginner class ($95) offered daily. bitterrootpottery.com



Aristeia Needlepoint has been a cross-stitcher’s mecca since it was established in 1996; first in Brentwood Village, where it remained until 2010 before moving to its current location in Santa Monica. The shop is stocked with every type of needlepoint thread, fiber and accessory imaginable, including one-of-a-kind, hand-painted base canvases. Drop-in beginner classes are held weekly, and one-on-one lessons are also available. aristeianeedlepoint.com



This year, the Roxbury Park Community Center in Beverly Hills introduced a brand-new chess club. Seniors (ages 55 and up) can learn the age-old game or hone their checkmate skills every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Centennial Room. The cost is $1/$2 per person. beverlyhills.org



Looking for a fun and delicious evening out? Grab your plus-one and learn how to make pasta, or take a special date-night cooking class for two at Violet Bistro. A two-hour lesson will have you chopping, sautéing and searing your way to an epic, three-course meal. violetla.com


Summer Camp at Robertson Art Zone
Photo Courtesy of Robertson Art Zone


Send your kids on an art expedition around the world at Robertson Art Zone Summer Camp. Beginning June 17 through Aug. 30, weeklong workshops will be held for ages 5 to 11 with lessons in Middle Eastern, African, South American, North American and European art. From the mosaics of Morocco to the beaded wonders of the Maasai, your little ones will be inspired to create their own cherished artworks. Attendees receive a mock passport to get stamped at each “destination.” The cost is $650 per week or a daily drop-in fee of $135 per day. razland.com


Kazuki Takizawa teaching students the art of glassblowing
Photo Courtesy of KT Glassworks


No previous glassblowing experience is necessary to take a lesson at KT Glassworks. Founder glass artist, Kazuki Takizawa, designed the private lessons for those who want to learn the art of glassblowing at their own pace. Take the lesson by yourself or with a special someone. Single-student lessons (three hours) are $330, and two-student lessons (four hours) are $250 per person. ktglassworks.com  



Known as “The Shoe Surgeon,” Dominic Ciambrone offers classes at his SRGN Academy to help you upgrade your most worn shoe. Bring your own kicks to a one-day, customization workshop where you’ll personalize them with paints, leathers and laces ($200), or sign up for a three-day, comprehensive, lab experience ($3,000) to learn how to deconstruct and reconstruct popular sneaker silhouettes. You’ll be supplied everything you need, learn each step of the process and leave with your own custom pair designed and created by you. srgnacademy.com



Designer Summer Camp returns to the Pacific Design Center on July 15-19 for its 10th year. Students (ages 11-17) interested in a career in design are invited to join the jam-packed, weeklong series of hands-on workshops. They will work to create their portfolio and can choose from classes in fashion design, interior design, photography and more. Events, guest speakers and tours of past summer projects round out the experience. Classes are from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the cost is $1,495 per person. Spots fill up fast! designercamp.com   

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