Ancient pines and hemlocks form old growth forest cathedrals and inspire the name of this landscape near the southwest corner of the PA Wilds. Referred to as a “land of giants,” the wooded hillsides are home to some of the tallest trees east of the Mississippi, as well as creative makers like us who draw inspiration from the history of our forests when crafting products like the ones seen here.
Let's meet the PA Wilds Marketplace makers who are creating, designing, crafting and innovating in the Cook Forest and the Ancients landscape!
PJ Piccirillo - Books by PJ Piccirillo
PJ Piccirillo is a two-time winner of the Appalachian Writers Association Award for Short Fiction. He is the author of The Indigo Scarf, Heartwood, and Nunc Stans—A Ferry Tale. An instructor of English and Humanities at Butler County Community College, PJ holds an M.F.A. from the University of Southern Maine and a B.A. in English from Saint Francis University.
PJ’s greatest distinction is that he is descended from woodhicks and tannery workers in the PA Wilds. He is a third-generation community firefighter, an EMT, a professional firefighter for NASCAR, and Cubmaster for scout pack 39. He otherwise can be found with his wife and three sons pursuing all things outdoors on the creek-fissured plateau of his native northcentral Pennsylvania.
Stephanie Distler - Stephanie Distler Studios
Stephanie is an autodidact or self taught. She describes herself as an artisan coming from PA Wilds Roots with Rural Organic style. The working studio is housed in her home and focuses on "made by these hands" designs, inspired by nature. These pieces carry with them a sense of place: digging in the garden, hiking in the PA Wilds, shopping for fresh produce at the local farmers’ market, enjoying an IPA at a craft brewery or antiquing on Main Street. These designs are reminders of our downtime. Coming from a family of ‘makers’ including woodworkers, fiber artisans, cooks, and gardeners, Stephanie has chosen precious metals over wood shavings.
Two Sisters in the Wilds - TSW Games
TSW strives to make exciting educational games. What started with two sisters in Western Pennsylvania making a food chain game has turned into a company that designs and manufactures educational games for children of all ages. In 2014, Two Sisters in the Wild, LLC released WILD: North East North America. In 2015 Athia and Maia Strohm pulled their father into the business and launched EDGE of EXTINCTION: The Educational Trading Card Game. In 2020, the business closed due to the pandemic, and in 2022, the business reopened under the name TSW Games.