Photographs of Tara Heckler creating in her studio, which can be found in Jefferson County.
Originally from Long Island, Tara met her husband while she was waitressing at an IHOP and went from city to country living. In that transition, she also made the change to chemical free living and has been growing her knowledge for the past 17 years.
She started her business (formerly A Touch of Nature), to help show others the benefits of clean living.
Most of her creating — from beeswax wraps to be used in place of saran wrap, balms and salves from ingredients fresh from her garden, and baskets woven from up-cycling t-shirts that would have otherwise gone to the landfill — is done in the kitchen of her home.
“I don’t get my money back. I don't even make a profit. I just want people to see that it’s a better alternative, a healthier alternative, and a better alternative for the environment,” Tara said. “I want to make a better place for my children.”
These images were captured by Katie Weidenboerner Deppen as part of the 2017 Creative Makers Exhibit, a traveling showcase of creative makers working in the PA Wilds.
More about the show here. Proceeds from the sales of the Creative Makers Exhibit photographic tiles & posters will go back into the work of the Wilds Cooperative and the extension of this project as we will continue photographing the creative makers living and working in the PA Wilds.
Each tile measures 8 in x 8 in and is mounted on foam core that is approximately 3/4 in thick and comes with adhesive attached for wall mounting.
Please note: Orders for photographic tiles are placed in a batch at the end of each month with the vendor, and then take an additional 2 weeks for delivery. Please be prepared that your order could take 4-6 weeks for delivery.
Over 10 years ago, a groundbreaking effort began to brand a quarter of the Commonwealth as the "Pennsylvania Wilds" and invest in it to create a premier nature, heritage and cultural destination that would fuel local economies and inspire stewardship among the people who live, work, play and visit the region. Engaging the region's artists and craftspeople in the work is key to building a meaningful regional brand and infusing pride into economically-distressed communities. The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania, our membership program that supports artisans and entrepreneurs through such regional branding, was born out of this belief. Today, nearly 200 local artists and craftspeople participate in this juried arts and business development program. "Creative Makers" reflects the splendor and uniqueness of the Pennsylvania Wilds landscape and rural lifestyle, and the resourcefulness and talent of the artists who live and work here. PA Wilds Juried photographers captured the images, and our goal with the exhibit is to help tell the story of the creative individuals living and working in the PA Wilds.
This project is made possible through grants from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts.
The PA Wilds is home to an impressive and diverse community of skilled artisans, craftspeople, and producers working across a variety of media. The PA Wilds Conservation Shop is proud to source and curate our shop using products made the many talented makers of The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania.
Learn more about our sourcing now.
PA Wilds Conservation Shops are owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. To learn more about our nonprofit mission please visit pawildscenter.org.