Welcome to Palcho's Products and Karen's Wild Ales
Please find my current and historical work. Today, I am focused on making and teaching art, botanical lotions and potions, and fermented food and beverages.
I began gathering wild plants and turning them into potions as a child. My first product was called Huckleberry Finn Water (Wildberry Lifesavers soaked in warm water). Later, I learned to raise and preserve food- canning, pickling, brining, salting, fermenting everything from vegetables, beer and bread to cheese and sauerkraut. Later, living in Kodiak, I made plant medicines and healing lotions and learned how to smoke and pickle fish, kelp, and tofu. Meanwhile, as an artist/ceramicist, I learned how to blend and form raw materials- earth, fire, water, and air- into pottery and sculpture. In 2004, after 20 years of teaching high school art, I resigned in order to start a business manufacturing organic skincare products made from plant-based raw materials, a process in which fire is also essential.
I sold Karen's Botanicals in 2011 and the company is thriving today in the wonderfully capable hands of Pamella and Edward Mitchell in Taylorsville, Georgia. I have been making pots, home brewing, and teaching about fermentation ever since. I realize that I don't care that much what I make, as long as it starts with raw materials.
My New Studio, Oley, PA. July, 2019
I am thrilled to announce that my new studio is finally open for business. The building is larger than my old house. It is my first studio that is not in a basement. It has soaring ceilings, beautiful light from all directions, climate control and hot and cold running water. The far side is for homebrew and fermentation, the near side for art and ceramics. Stay posted for classes coming soon.
Portrait of Karen Palcho painted by Michele Byrne, 2018.
Michele Byrne is a dear friend to many people here in Berks County and in other parts of the country. She is also a lifelong, self-supporting artist with a busy and brisk business in the arts. Michele began an ongoing series of portraits of women Her goal is "to explore the complex and loosely woven intricacies of the fabric of American women. I hope to reveal and honor cultural histories through impressionistic portraits in oils tied together by a common thread." It was my sincere pleasure to sit for this amazing artist. I think Michele 'captured' me perfectly.
Confluence: A story of remarkable parallels in art and life and a proposal for an exhibition celebrating connections of Slovak heritage in Pittsburgh, PA and eastern Slovakia.
Confluence is a work in progress designed to tell the story of the artistically and professionally intertwined lives of two contemporary artists- Karen, and her Slovak cousin Edita Voloscukova. For more information, click on the pdf below.
Members of the family in Stropkov, Slovakia 2006, birthplace of Karen's great grandfather. Pictured with Karen are Edita Fedorkova aka Granny, her daughter Edita Voloscukova, and her son Eduardo Fedorko.
- Confluence- Slovak American Parallels in Art and Life3.33 Meg | 2/24/2016
- The Slovak Roots of Karen's Botanicals138.55 K | 3/27/2012
The family in the garden in Stropkov, 2012, with Terry playing the accordion
In the garden with Granny, 2016.
- The Slovak Roots of Karen's Botanicals
I have one story to tell and I just keep telling it over and over again. I hope it's a groove instead of a rut. It can be distilled into the image above that I've been doodling since I was young. The design fits whether I am making pots, herbal lotions and potions, beer, cheese, or art. You can find it woven throughout the images on this site.
Karen´s Botanicals- I still love you!
In 2004, Karen founded Karen's Botanicals, a natural and organic skin care manufacturing business. National sales of the artisanally crafted, plant based products quickly took off through the website and gained a wide reputation for effectiveness, purity, and fair value. In 2011, Karen sold the business to Pamella and Edward Mitchell, a wonderful couple from Marietta, GA, who were looking for a skin care line to expand their soap making business. Karen's Botanicals is thriving in their hands and I wish them great good fortune. Happy 15th Anniversary to Karen's Botanicals!
Goggleworks Art Show: 2009
In January of 2009, Karen won the National Juried Exhibit at the Goggleworks Center for the Arts, in Reading, PA. The award was a one person show in the main galleriesof Goggleworks in January, 2009. The show, entitled The Goddess Revisited, included 46 new works of painting and sculpture. Most of the new work can be found on this site. To view the catalog from the show, click here.
- The Goddess Revisited1.59 Meg | 2/24/2016