Founding Artists

Mary Szakmeister

Mary Szakmeister is a retired teacher whose many passions include beading and cooking. She loves finding interesting new stones and crystals and creating beautiful jewelry. She also enjoys sharing both the finished products and the process of creating them with others.

Mary Szakmeister, founder artist and jewelry maker

Virginia Ellen

Virginia Ellen has been an amateur potter for more years than she would like to count. It started with a child’s plastic battery-operated wheel and turned into a life-long passion. After years of throwing in other studios, she finally has a studio of her own, and loves to share her studio with friends.

Virginia Ellen, founder artist and potter

Patty Passick

Patty Passick is an art teacher and a professional artist with a deep background in ceramics. She has a hard time deciding which she loves most, teaching or doing! Patty also paints, creates jewelry, murals and is a fabulous designer/decorator. She is passionate about her work beautifying Stonehedge Gardens in Tamaqua, PA.

Chuck Shackelford

Chuck Shackelford is a retired engineer who enjoys putting his carpentry talents to work in his woodshop. He creates beautiful and useful items out of wood, including children’s blocks, candle holders, custom boxes and beautiful trays.


Fran Ackley

Fran has been a valued member of the art community in Allentown for decades. She is a familiar face at Baum School and her unique paintings are not to be missed. Fran also loves knitting and has recently taken up beading with Mary.

Franki Alazar

Franki’s latest CD,  What We Become, is available on CD Baby. Fran is also an accomplished painter and yoga teacher and reiki practitioner.

Lesta Bertoia

Another life-long artist, and temporary treasure of the Lehigh Valley, Lesta paints and sculpts and creates inspiring works of beauty in a variety of mediums. Lesta lives in Maui where she has found inspiriation for her latest work, which you can see at

Michael London

Michael is not only an accomplished professor of organizational behavior at Muhlenberg College, he is an incredibly gifted musician. Learn about his music, including his album,The Field, at