Featured Image: Toad Village – by Stephanie Spencer

Outdoors-focused festival June 2-3 to feature 20 artists with ties to natural world

BETHLEHEM, PA–From handcrafted pottery featuring unique floral designs to fused glass works inspired by insects and plants, the wonders of the natural world will be on display during the new Nature-themed Artisan Show at the Step Outdoors festival June 2-3 at SteelStacks.

During the artisan show, presented by Ah-Ha! Arts Management, more than 20 artists from throughout the region will offer a diverse array of finely crafted jewelry, ceramics, handmade soaps and more. In addition, on Sunday at 2 p.m., Callie Lasch of the Institute for Therapeutic Craft & Creativity will present a free, hands-on art therapy workshop for attendees.

The artisan show, which takes place in the second-floor Fowler Blast Furnace Room of the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, features a variety of craftsmen and artists, all of whom have a strong connection to or interest in nature and the natural world. Among the artisans taking part in the show are Florence Rodale of The Lavender Farmette, who organically grows and farms her own lavender and other flowers, and then distills the oils from the flowers to make organic soaps, candles, floral sachets and sprays; and Heather Skorinko of the Coplay-based Suyundalla Farms, who raises and shears her own sheep, processes the wool and then knits and weaves the fiber into sweaters, stockings, blankets and shawls.

Other artists confirmed so far include:

A Natural Alternative, Emmaus – handcrafted soaps

Autdemna Jewelers, Allentown – semi-precious stone jewelry

Cornerstone Forge, Germansvillehammered aluminum

Crazy Quilters, Emmaus – handcrafted quilts

Fire Light Glass & Design, Bethlehem – fused glass works inspired by nature

Paula Focazio Art & Design, Upper Black Eddy – wheel thrown ceramics

Pearls & Paper, New Tripoli -handmade jewelry

Iron Oaks, Mohrsville forged iron home and garden items

Dona Jones, Allentown – torched copper

Deb McGinley, Emmaus – knitted clothing and toys

Pat Sarver, Ohio – quilting and applique

On June 3, 2 p.m., Ah-Ha! presents a free art therapy workshop by Callie Lasch of the Institute for Therapeutic Craft & Creativity. Lasch will focus on the power of the creative craft to bring about both mental and physical change. As part of the presentation, she will offer a hands-on craft related to the fiber arts. All ages are welcome to attend, but younger children will need assistance from an adult or teen.

As part of the Step Outdoors show, Ah-Ha! Arts Management is also unveiling its Emerging Artist Program, which provides one new or emerging artist with free entry and booth space in each show. The emerging artist at Step Outdoors is Stephanie Spencer of Falling Leaves Studio in Fountain Hill. Spencer focuses on ceramic sculptures made for the yard and garden including toadstools, toad houses and mushrooms.

Now in its fourth year, the Step Outdoors festival includes two days of presentations, hands-on activities and educational experiences designed to encourage children and families to get outdoors, as well as learn about the many wildlife, outdoors and conservation-focused groups working in the region. More than 25 different groups are set to attend this year’s event, which features archery, fly tying, urban hikes, Your First Mud Run and a DockDogs canine diving competition.

Partners helping to support the Step Outdoors festival include Ah-Ha! Arts Management, Aqua-Duck, Eight Oaks Craft Distillers, IGS Energy, Pennsylvania Game Commission and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications. For more information on the festival, visit

Information and image provided to TVL by:
Mark Demko, ArtsQuest