Biking to the Future!

Bicycle RecycleOn August 7, 2018, the League of American Bicyclists awarded Factory Works, the 501-c3 non-profit that includes Bicycle Recycle Shop, a bronze medal as a Bicycle Friendly Business. This is the only business in Williamsport to receive such an award. The award is in recognition of the services offered such as a hands-on repair service, an earn-a bike program, selling reconditioned bikes and accessories like helmets, locks, and lights and cooperating with social agencies in providing classes for teens.

The organization also worked with city planners to expand bike riding lanes. Importantly, bikes donated stay out of the landfill and, so far this year, they’ve sold 119 bikes and helped 109 people with repairs. Consider a donation Factory Works (the umbrella non-profit that Bicycle Recycle is part of) to support this worthy cause.

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The Inaugural PA Wilds Entrepreneurs Conference

We were thrilled to host the inaugural PA Wilds Creative Entrepreneurs Conference and Annual Dinner celebrating 15 Years of the Wilds at Work networking event in late April.

More than 250 business and community leaders from across the Pennsylvania Wilds, along with state partners and officials from Harrisburg, gathered for the dinner on Thursday night and the first ever Creative Entrepreneur’s Conference on Friday. They were there to get an update on the state and local efforts to grow the region’s economy and recognize award winner Champions of the PA Wilds while “Celebrating 15 Years — The Wilds at Work.” This non-profit is committed to integrating conservation and economic development in a way that strengthens and inspires communities.

While attending the event, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Executive Deputy Secretary Scott Dunkelberger joined Lycoming County Commissioner Rick Mirabito and officials from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for a tour of the Pajama Factory and to meet with one of our makerspace’s tenants, Equinox, a manufacturer of outdoor recreational gear.

“We are proud to help our entrepreneurs and small businesses turn their ideas, hopes, and dreams into reality, and we are committed to making it easier than ever for small businesses to start and grow in Pennsylvania,” Executive Deputy Secretary Dunkelberger said. “Small businesses like the companies at the Pajama Factory play a vital role in supporting our state economy and we’re proud to support their growth.”

Pennsylvania Wilds annual networking event at the Pajama Factory

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In Focus: Brian Spies

Brian Spies

We are very happy to have Brian Spies heading up the Factory Works Gallery space as part of Factory Works. Brian joined the Pajama Factory community early on in 2008 (right after we purchased the building). The gallery itself is a space for artists to experiment materially and conceptually, and for the community to engage with work that challenges notions of what art looks like’. Monthly exhibitions are hosted throughout the year, except for the summer when the space is used for the annual Artists-in-Residence Program.

Founded in 2011, Factory Works is a non-profit arts and community organization whose mission is to provide the local community with resources for nurturing artists and innovative thinkers, to ignite a spirit of creativity. Donations for the arts programs are always welcome!

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It is hard to believe it’s already August…I’m never sure where the time goes these days. (I’ve even noticed some of the leaves on the trees turning a bit yellow!)  That said, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying our beautiful courtyard this summer. The gardens are looking fabulous thanks to our wonderful garden committee and the lovely efforts of Cris Knell. And the gardens have been a perfect backdrop to the “Courtyard Series” events program (yoga classes, BBQs, Kids Art, and music events) that have been scheduled throughout the summer.

While the courtyard has been in full bloom, things are also “blooming” elsewhere in the building — with improvements and construction underway and a constant buzz in the hallways. Our building crews are working diligently to complete new studios and are making progress on additional exciting upgrades and projects — we’re hoping to get the new passenger elevator completed up to the roof by the end of the year (keep your fingers crossed!).

We also hope you will get a chance to visit and see all the progress we’ve made. Mark your calendars for the weekend of October 6th and come out for the 2nd Annual OctoFest (if we don’t see you before then!)

– Susie and Mark

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In Closing…

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”

– Aristotle


Snowy Courtyard

– Susie and Mark Winkelman

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Repairs around the building have been continuing as we fix roofs and patch windows and, with the cold weather, make sure pipes don’t burst and heaters are working properly.

Repainting the Lycoming Rubber sign

We have also worked on a few ‘nice-to-haves’ around the building including restoring an original Lycoming Rubber Company sign and even adding some extra’s to our flourishing courtyard (which now has two very prolific peach trees in addition to our growing bed of flowers)…these extras include community games such as a giant Jenga game, a ring-toss game and even a swinging tire over a wonderful sand pit).

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Events: Year in Review

We are a hub of activity all year long. With classes, visiting artists, theater, concerts, performances, workshops, storytelling, yard sales, benefits, fundraisers, movie screenings, bike sales, there is always something going on. The community formed a number of groups (a writers groups and women’s group)   in addition to the groups of friends that have been established.  And we now have “Billtown Bazaar” – a once monthly arts and crafts event.

A few call-outs are noted below:

Summer Artists-in-Residence Program

AiR 2017 For nine years now, the Pajama Factory’s Artist-in-Residence program, a collaboration between Factory Works, the Pajama Factory and Lycoming Arts, has provided opportunities for artists from around the world to join our vibrant creative community to create and be inspired. Each year the program culminates with an exhibition of each participants’ work. This year’s theme was We Come From Afar, and featured works in a variety of media, including: sculpture, painting, printmaking, jewelry, and photography. The seven-week residency program included six participants from the local region, as well as others from Nevada and Florida. They worked in our community wood shop and printing studios and utilized the Gallery as a shared workspace. The program continues to be a wonderful way to introduce the Williamsport area to new art from emerging artists from all around the country.

About 30 artists have participated in the Artist-in-Residence program to date, which has seen participants from all around the United States, as well as Germany and the Netherlands.

Kid-friendly Event

The Cyanotype process turns 175 years-old this year!  To celebrate this historic photography process, the Williamsport Community Darkroom hosted a workshop in the Pajama Factory Courtyard, led and instructed by Ralph Wilson.  This kid-friendly event had a great turn out and produced some truly wonderful images

Cyanotype collage


The creative team and performers of Studio 570 created an immersive and interactive production here at the Pajama Factory that took audience members on journey through Wonderland. From walking through Alice’s tears, running in the Dodo’s caucus race, to sipping tea with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare… it was truly a unique, one-of-a-kind experience.

Studio 570 - Alice in Wonderland cast

6th Annual Blues Bash

And what better way to end the year than with our 6th annual blues bash- great music, dancing and merriment!  (Pictures compliments of our wonderful MC for the night- Rick Mason)

Blues Bash 2017 collage

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In Focus: Danielle Velkoff

Danielle Velkoff

This year we were incredibly lucky to snag Danielle and bring her on board full-time at the Pajama Factory. She joined us from New York City where she had been very involved in theater- producing, directing, and acting in a number of productions while there (and she was stunning in her recent performance in Neil Simon’s Rumors at the Community Theater League here in Williamsport).

In NYC she was co-founder and executive director for The Kitchen Riots Festival which brought together three nights of dance, music and theater featuring emerging artists. She also has served as Creative Director for Day One Creative School where she directed and developed a curriculum on managing a career in the arts. Currently, she is founder and artistic director for Purple Threads Ensemble and she manages business development and events at the Factory.

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Brrr…the new year came in with quite a cold spell everywhere – including Williamsport, but the Factory seemed to be a bit warmer than I remember in recent years. Our efforts to re-caulk and seal up the historic windows seems to be helping.

Mark and I spent the last week of the year (between Christmas and New Year’s) at the Factory and had a whirlwind of activities in-between hosting a few dinner parties — including our quarterly tenant mixer and potluck, and the annual Blues Bash Fundraising event for Factory Works.

We’ve been spending more time at the Factory recently and settling into our new studio space nicely (which is a bit bigger and more comfortable than the previous one). Yoga classes at Clearsphere on Saturday mornings have been particularly suited to me as I roll out of bed and walk down the hall to join the other yogi-ites. I also am personally interested in all the opportunities blossoming at the Factory in the fiber arts with our new quilting retail store in Building 6 and the new Community Sewing Lab at Make What You Wear Studio on the second floor of Building 10.

We also have a number of new tenants that have been fun to get to know – including another recent transplant from NYC. We look forward to having visitors anytime (if you give us a heads-up we will make every effort to be there and give you personalize service!!). One small request we have is to help us spread the word to any artists or entrepreneurs you know who might be interested in a large live/work studio space at the factory. We have a few that have just become available (very “New York Style”). We figure word-of-mouth is really the best way to promote opportunities to expand our community.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and inspired 2018!

– Susie and Mark

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In Closing…

O Spring-time sweet! 
The whole Earth smiles, thy coming to greet.

– Unknown

– Mark and Susie Winkelman

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