The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania
Creative Makers Exhibit: Sharon DiMichele
Photographs of Sharon DiMichele creating in her studio, which can be found in Lycoming County.
Tucked away in Lycoming County is a little slice of Heaven: Rose Valley Naturals.
Owner and maker Sharon DiMichele creates her various soaps and herbal products on her property in Trout Run.
“Starting at my kitchen table, Rose Valley Naturals has grown from my effort to provide the soothing effects of natural soap beyond my friends and neighbors,” Sharon explained.
With roughly 30 years of industry experience under her belt, Sharon has her process down to a science.
“We use a unique blend of coconut, palm, olive, canola, and soy oils,” Sharon said. “Each type of oil brings a unique quality to the soap. Olive oil is good for the skin and produces fine, silky bubbles; coconut oil produces big, fluffy bubbles.”
The self-taught soap maker carefully crafts her products using cold-processing, a method wherein oils and an alkali (such as lye) are mixed with water, and a chemical reaction called “saponification” occurs. During this process, the composition of the mixture changes to create a bar of soap. This method of soap making is designed to preserve the healing ingredients of natural vegetable and essential oils.
Sharon produces her mixtures in small, quality-controlled batches to create rich and long-lasting soaps.
These images were captured by Bill Crowell as part of the 2018 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.