Tish Bachleda has been part of Pennsylvania’s Lebanon Valley most of her life. Born and raised in the Richland area, she first established her creative flair as a stylist with local hair salons. After several years of success while raising a family, she decided she wanted to help others in deeper ways, and worked as an advocate for Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County. She helped victims of domestic violence find their voices in the legal process to help defend themselves and re-establish a positive path for themselves and their families.
At the same time, she rekindled her creative passion by learning to hook rugs and create handmade folk art. Thanks to her heritage, she developed an interest in the Pennsylvania-German and Swiss cultures and appreciated their impact on early American folk art. In 1997, Tish and her husband Mike established The Tweed Weasel LLC. The original gallery of her earliest work was within a repurposed enclosed porch at their Richland home.
Since then, Tish has perfected her craft, designing a variety of textile floor coverings, hand-crafted fabric works — dolls, vegetables, fruit, seasonal decor, and more. In 1999, The Tweed Weasel LLC moved with the Bachleda family to nearby Schaefferstown, where the town’s former local ‘Smith Bakery’ building was renovated and restored to become the new home of The Tweed Weasel gallery. The new gallery was located right next to their restored 1830-era limestone home.
Just a few years later, Tish and Mike acquired the former “Backtown Barn” located just down the main street. After two years of building renovations, Tish moved her gallery to the current location inside the restored “Tulip Barn”. The site has been visited by tourists and folk art buyers year-round. The site even made the short list of unique places to visit in an edition of National Geographic Traveler magazine.
The small bakery building they left was then converted into a complete pottery studio where Tish and Mike work together create redware and stoneware folk art designs to sell in the gallery.
Now fully established as a professional artisan, Tish’s work is owned by collectors across North America and in Europe. The quality of her textile work has allowed her to be included among the country’s top traditional artisans as juried annually by Early American Life magazine since 2003. Her attention to detail has caught the eye of antique textile dealers as well, and Tish has been commissioned to restore family heirloom rugs threatened by age decay and wear. Most notably, famous antiques collector and Where the Wild Things Are illustrator Maurice Sendak was one of Tish’s rug restoration clients before he passed away in 2012.
Mike is a graduate of York Academy of Art / Antonelli Institute of Art & Photography and continues to operate the design and marketing firm Bachleda Studio with Tish. When not at the computer, Mike has been working outdoors with carbon steel and other upcycled metal pieces to create rusted steel garden art with Tish, including the popular Halloween-themed Pumpkan Gas Can collection. Mike also manages the gallery’s website, email campaigns, branded apparel, and produces greeting cards based on their original art and photography.
More recently, Tish and Mike have advanced their interest in nature photography — capturing images of everything from Pennsylvania’s Hummingbirds, Snowgeese, and Elk, to the unique wildlife found from Nova Scotia to Florida. Tish and Mike enjoy helping clients create artful home environments that they’ll enjoy for years to come.