Allegory Gallery Blog

It's Time for the Ligonier Art Walk!

We just wanted to let you know that the Ligonier Art Walk will be happening this Saturday, September 21st from 10am until 7pm! Seven galleries in Ligonier will have new art exhibitions up and ready for you to see! It's always a great day, and we can't wait for you to see all that we have in store for you!

Here at Allegory Gallery, we're going to have our third installment of our "The Art of the Bead" series. "The Art of the Bead: Glass" will be a group exhibition of 16 glass artists from all over North America. In addition to the show, we will also have a gemstone trunk show from Cherry Tree Beads and an artisan glass bead trunk show from Karen Elmquist (some of Karen's beads shown in the photo above).

In addition to the show in store, we plan to have all the beads available online for purchase shortly after opening day. You can always see our current art show information here.

We'll also have the official opening reception for The Art of the Bead: Glass from 5-7pm on Saturday evening! But, that's not all! We're also going to be celebrating our 8th Anniversary here at Allegory Gallery on Saturday evening! If you're local, we hope that you'll come out to celebrate with us. We're so proud of how far we've come, and we couldn't do any of it without you all!

It's going to be a busy weekend for us. On Friday, we're doing an official ribbon-cutting for our new location, on Saturday, we have the Ligonier Art Walk as well as our 8th Anniversary Celebration, and on Sunday, Andrew will be hosting a Maker Day and Potluck Dinner. It's going to be a lot of fun, and you can see more information about everything on our Facebook Page. We hope that if you're around, you can join in on some or all of the festivities. And, if you're not local, we'll try, as always, to keep you in the loop as best as possible online.

Thank you so much for reading along today, and we can't wait for this awesome weekend with you all!

Member Galleries of the Ligonier Art Walk:

Allegory Gallery

G Squared Gallery

Main Exhibit Gallery

Conte Design Lifestyle Gallery

Carol West Hager

Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art—Ligonier Vallery

Cecilia's Main Street Tattoo Gallery

Announcing the Allegory Gallery Bead Society!

AG Bead Society Logo

We've been working on this idea for quite awhile, and we can't wait to tell you all about it!

At Allegory Gallery, we believe in creating community and doing that with as wide a reach as possible. But, all these things take time and resources. In order to help with this, we're creating the Allegory Gallery Bead Society. There are many benefits to joining, and we think you'll love them!

Benefits of the AG Bead Society:

1. Each month of your membership, you will receive a $20.00 gift coupon code to use in our online store (code must be used in the month provided and all in one order).
2. When you sign up, you will receive a free AG Wooden Pendant of your choice.
3. You will receive access to a special, secret Facebook Group where we (Andrew and William) will post content just for members. This content may be inspirational. Or, we may take you along with us on our travels and give first-look access to the items that we find! We could also post various business tips and tricks—things we've learned over the years that could help you. The possibilities are endless, but, no matter what it is, we want it to be able to add to your experience with us!

      What are the dues for this Bead Society? It's only $100.00/year per member. Remember, for that $100.00/year in dues, you're getting $240.00 back in monthly coupons, plus content from us that you won't find anywhere else—and a free wooden pendant for signing up!

      Over the years of having our business, we have seen the importance of groups of people coming together with a shared passion. Together we can accomplish so much more.

      Sign up for your membership on our website here:

      A little background on this idea…

      The other day, much like many other days, we were "daydreaming out loud". Basically, that means we talk about all the things that we wish we could do and as we talk, we build on each other's ideas and create something new. We make something bigger than ourselves – something that neither one of us on our own could envision individually, but build together, drawing on our own personal experiences and expertises. Sometimes we can and we do make these mental conjurings come to be. The store is a good example of that. It started off as a one-day-maybe-someday daydream and now we've been in business for 8 years. We've met thousands of people and they too are now part of that dream. It's more than just the two of us now. Hopefully we've created a legacy of kindness and beauty. Hopefully we've helped make the world a better place, even if it's only just a little bit better.

      The other day, much like many other days, we were daydreaming out loud. And when we were done, we both said, "Wouldn't it be nice if we could do that."

      The thing is…where there's a will, there's a way. Sometimes everything perfectly aligns just so and everything clicks into place. Other times you've got to blaze your own trail and build the road to get where you want to go one stone at a time. We've experienced both. Sometimes things are easy and manifest miraculously. Other times…most of the time…we've had to work really hard and adopt unconventional ways of doing things.

      For instance, the new AG Bead Society is our newest brain child. We were talking about all the things we'd like to do and like most small businesses, our next conversation was about how to go about that. Securing capital is never easy. Angel investors…they're great, but few and far between. Governmental or nonprofit grants…almost rarer than unicorns. Taking out a credit card…relatively easy if you qualify, but the interest rates will make you repay your modest request tenfold and then some. Small business loans…the interest rates are better, but securing one can be be a nightmarish process as a small business owner. Plus, if your business is feast or famine, the additional financial burden might be fine during the boom times, but the kiss of death in the lean times. (There are some lenders who provide flexible repayment and those are all nice, but if your return on investment isn't immediate, you can tread water while 30% of your sales go towards repaying your loan.) Fundraising events…they can be good for exposure, but require a lot of planning and upfront resources and the return on investment can be rather low when all is said and done. Crowdsource funding…sounds great at first, but if you make rewards for pledges, this can easily overtake your life and ultimately distract you from your business and/or be difficult to fulfill if something pressing arises in your business that requires your full attention. Saving up the old fashioned way…that's super great, but takes much longer and is contingent that nothing will come up between now and then. Plus, if it's an opportunity that is only available for a limited time, it could pass by the time you save up enough. It's never really easy deciding what the best way forward is.

      With the new AG Bead Society, we thought it was a good way for people to make their initial investment back and help support our activities and empower us to keep doing what we're doing. It's also low-impact on us. This was particularly important to us, because we're still fulfilling other crowdsource funded projects years later. Adding more product-based rewards to an already teetering plate seems like a recipe for a nervous breakdown. And no one wants that.

      The other day, much like many other days, we were daydreaming out loud and at first it seemed daunting and nearly impossible, but we found a way. Little by little.

      New Special Edition Challenge Kit—Abundance

      I remember laying on my back in my grandmother's garden behind the big white house. Dappled sunlight poured through the canopy of tomato leaves. I remember biting into the tomatoes pulled straight from their fuzzy stems, sprinkled with salt from the Tupperware saltshaker. I remember tasting summer and sunshine. We weren't rich, but we felt like kings. I think about that now as I tend my own garden. My hands are dirt stained and my brow beaded with sweat. It's hot. It's a lot of work. It'd be easier to go to the store... but there's this warm feeling of abundance as we watch the little seedlings grow into lush plants – a thousand shades of green – producing an assortment of fruits and vegetables that will pile our tables and be shared. There's a satisfaction in hefting the ample basket, heavy with hard work and the beauty of growing things.

      This was the inspiration for the latest Allegory Gallery Design Kit Challenge. When we put together the kit, we wanted the capture the leafy lushness of the garden. It's made up of different shades of green, ranging from the bright citrusy greens to the darker, more earthy greens.

      Here's how our Challenge Kits work: Participants of the challenge will purchase a kit. Challengers are encouraged to make something with the kit and share pictures and descriptions of their finished work in the dedicated Facebook page. Challengers can use as much or as little of the kit as they like and supplement the kit with beads from their own stash if they so desire.

      There is no specific reveal date for this challenge.

      Now, here's the fine print: There are only 10 Design Kits available! Once we receive your order, we will process your kit and send it out within ten business days. Usually it's faster than that, but we like to make sure that there is plenty of time to make the kits are perfect. HURRY! Supplies are limited and are on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis! (Sorry, no exceptions!) Shipping of the Design Kits can take anywhere from one business day to ten. For international orders, it may take longer! NOTE: Chosing Priority Shipping at checkout will provide for a tracking number, insurance, and faster shipping than First Class Service. All sales of the Design Kits are final and there are no returns or exchanges.

      Purchase your kit here:

      New Wire Wrapping Class Hosted by Jennifer Tuschong!

      Hello Everyone! We hope that you're having an outstanding day today! We just wanted to put up a quick post to let everyone know that we've released a new wire wrapping class by Jenn Tuschong of JNTCreations! We know that during the Summer, people are often looking for fun things to do, and this should be a great activity here in Ligonier, PA to do with your friends—or to meet new ones!

      We hope that you'll join us for a great Sunday evening in August!

      Here are some details:

      Students in this class will create a pair of wire-wrapped crystal point earrings similar to the pairs shown (each earring is approximately 25mm - 35mm in overall length).

      This class will be held at Allegory Gallery on Sunday, August 4th 2019 from 4:30pm till approximately 7:00pm.

      All materials/tools needed will be provided.

      Price break down is as follows:

      $20.00 Class Fee
      $20.00 Kit & Materials Fee

      This class is limited to a total of 6 students. If this number is reached, and more students wish to take the class, we may arrange another class.

      Walk-ins will be accepted only if the class is not filled by online reservations. The best way to guarantee a seat is to purchase and reserve online. Purchasing in advance also helps us to plan for snacks and drinks.

      All classes are non-refundable, however, we reserve the right to cancel classes in emergency circumstances (including severe weather). In the event that we must cancel, we will reschedule the class and automatically reserve seats for paid students—If you have paid but are unable to make it to the rescheduled class date and time, we will refund your purchase.

      To sign up, please visit our Online Store here:

      Allegory Gallery Around the Town

      Here at Allegory Gallery, we know that the rising tide raises all boats. That's been our motto from the very beginning, and that's how we try to live our lives. A few years ago, we did a series on Facebook called Around Town where we visited our favorite places, stores, and restaurants in town. We have a wonderfully supportive community not only locally, but all over the world, and we wanted to show everyone how great our little town and community of Ligonier, PA really is! So, after some time, we've decided to bring the series back.

      We've recently filmed and released our seventh episode this year of our Around the Town Series. In this episode, we take a look at a really lovely women's clothing store here in Ligonier, Song of Sixpence! Natalie, the Owner, does a great job of curating colorful and fun clothing for her clients, and we think you'll just love this walk through of her clothing boutique—especially the Songlines Jewelry Collection by Jewel (one of very few boutiques in the country to carry this wonderful jewelry line by the singer/song-writer!

      There are so many activities and interesting things to do in Ligonier, and we have so many beautiful, independently-owned shops. That's why we created this video series. We can't help but want to show Ligonier off to the world! You can find this series on YouTube and Facebook, and we hope that you'll check all the videos out. And, even more, we hope that you'll see things you love, as most of these businesses will ship anywhere. So, if you want something that you see, please don't hesitate to reach out. And, if you have any questions, we're always willing to help get you in touch! And don't forget, if you're ever in the Pittsburgh area, we're not very far away! It's worth the trip to visit us in Ligonier! We hope this video series only reinforces that notion!


      Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery!

      We're big fans of creative challenges at Allegory Gallery! We decided to start the new year off right with a month-long challenge! Each day has a new prompt. You can pick and choose the challenges that appeal to you, complete them in any order (even from last to first if you're so inclined), OR you can really test your creative fortitude and try to tackle them ALL in order, carving out a little creative playtime each day! Participants are encouraged to share their projects with our special Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Facebook group. It's a private supplemental group where we encourage members to push themselves creatively and support each other in their artistic growth.

      Follow the link to visit the group:

      Think you're up for it? We hope you'll use this opportunity to have fun, challenge yourself, and grow in new and exciting directions! Please SHARE this post with anyone who you might think would be interested in this creative challenge! It's bound to be a wonderful time!

      Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery!


      Interview: Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree

      Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree's Faux Lampwork Donut Beads

      We recently had the pleasure to sit down with
      Ginger Davis Allman here at
      Allegory Gallery in Ligonier.  She was traveling through Western Pennsylvania and stopped on her way to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.  Ginger Davis Allman is the writer and teacher who creates the popular polymer clay website, The Blue Bottle Tree. Her specialty is eliminating the confusion and making polymer clay topics easy to understand. When she's not traveling through Pennsylvania, Ginger lives with her husband Gary, too many cats, and three blue bottle trees in Springfield, Missouri.

      Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree

      You can find out more about Ginger and her polymer clay adventures on her website: Don't forget to stop by her online store to see all her fantastic tutorials: Please also stop by and Like her Facebook page: Can't get enough?  She also has a growing Facebook  group called Polymer Clay Success, that you can find by following the link:

      Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree's Rustic Beads and Components

      Allegory Gallery:

      How did you get started? Do you have an interesting origin story?

      Ginger Davis Allman: As a kid, I had three passions. One, I wanted to make things. Two, I wanted to know why things worked the way they did. And Three, I loved art and color. I found myself being equally pulled toward careers in art and science. It was neck-and-neck for a while, but ultimately science won and I got my education in Microbiology and then worked doing molecular biology research. Science was fascinating because it fulfilled my passion for understanding “why” and I loved the artistic elegance of complex biological systems. But life is life and when kids happened, the science career ended. I had always been a serial crafter, so once I was home with the kids, I got them hooked on crafts, too. Soon we found polymer clay. They weren’t impressed, but I was. It was an obsession. That was back in 2001. In 2012, I started The Blue Bottle Tree, a website that supports the inquiring polymer clay artist. Now I use my science brain to bust polymer clay myths and help others understand how to get the results they want.

      Photo by Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree


       "The Blue Bottle Tree".  That's an interesting name.  Where did that come from?

      GDA:  Here's the story behind them.
      AG:  I can relate.  My early creativity was fueled by escapism.  We didn't have a lot of money growing up and there were some family issues, so art was my way to craft my own reality.  I could turn a cardboard box into a fortress and a box of pebbles into a treasure chest full of riches!  For so many people, art is their savior and their own "blue bottle tree".

      Photo by Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree


      :  And there's another aspect of the origin story. This shows the constant pull inside of myself between the science and the art. You can read more about it here:

      Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree's Faux Seaglass Rainbow Colors


       So, do you think that's what really lights the fire under you to create? Is that the core inspiration behind your work?

      GDA:  I’m insanely curious. I always want to know why things do what they do. This is the motivation behind many of my articles. I use my science background to design experiments and tests to learn how polymer clay and other products behave, then I show them in my articles. I don’t do as much creating artwork as I wish I could. My website and tutorials keep me pretty busy!

      Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree's Organic Scallion Beads


       The duality between science and art is definitely something that drew me to your website.  I particularly enjoy how you use your background in science to demystify the materials and processes, empowering other artists to create their visions.  I feel like polymer clay is one of the more "accessible" materials out there.  Folks might not be able to plunk down money for stone-carving equipment, a kiln and torch for glasswork, a lathe for wood... etc.  But a lot of people have access to the basic polymer clay tools and materials. Polymer clay is the great "chameleon" and you show people how to best tap into that magic.

      Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree's Faux Ancient Roman Glass


       Speaking of being busy, what are you working on now?

      GDA:  I just wrote a 90 page guide to using pigments and powders with polymer clay. As of August 1, I will have finished a 100 Day Project where I made a different polymer clay veneer every day.

      Cover of Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree's Powders book


       Wow!  I applaud your stamina!  Not only do your examples show the beauty and versatility of polymer clay, but keeping that up is a major project.  I'd probably get ten days in and then things would get all sporadic and sputter out!

      Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree's Veneer Example: Day 54


       I’m  now getting ready to write a book on “Practical Color for Polymer Clay”.  Color confuses people and I believe the way it’s taught makes it harder to understand. I hope to make it more approachable and accessible for those without a fine art background. The photos of my work show what polymer is capable of. Most people, for example, don't realize it can make convincing sea and Roman glass.

      Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree's Veneer Example: Day 82


       Color is such an important tool in any artist's toolbox!  I DO have a fine art background and still find it can be a tricky, fickle beast.  Sometimes when I start a new project, I'll make a new color wheel or inspiration board with different magazine clippings, textures, and important words that best encapsulates the tone and feel of the project.  They help ground the new work in how I'm relating to color in that exact time and space.  I feel like color is such a personal thing and one's color sensibilities are always evolving and changing.  I think the veneers are a great way to explore color and get to the bare bones of polymer clay color use.

      Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree's Veneer Example: Day 55


      Do you have any exciting plans or goals for the future that you'd like to share?

      GDA:  I have trouble thinking too far in the future. I have so many things that I want to explore, figure out, and share that it can be overwhelming at times. Most of the time I have a full plate just oiling the squeaky wheels!

      Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree's Faux Lampwork Headpins


       But ultimately, I want to bring the incredible versatility of polymer clay to crafters and artists who don’t yet know what it’s capable of. There’s a lot to polymer clay and because of that, newbies often run afoul of its quirky nature. I’d like to help them overcome the quirks and use it with confidence. I’d like to change how polymer is seen in the world.

      William Jones, Ginger Davis Allman of the Blue Bottle Tree, and Andrew Thornton at Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, PA

      Ginger really is an important voice in the polymer clay community.  She works hard to inspire and encourage people interested in polymer clay and expand the working material knowledge of the material.  I encourage you to sign up for her newsletter if you get a chance.  Her email list isn’t just about polymer clay. There’s also a lot of creative inspiration there as well. You can sign up at It’s not spammy and is well worth the read.

      Her tutorials are well-written and investigated.  I recommend her Rustic Beads and Components Tutorial for beginners, as well as her Organic Beads Tutorial. If people like glass, her Faux Glass Effects Tutorial has some of the most convincing sea glass out there and it also includes tutorials on how to make an utterly convincing Roman Glass from polymer clay. (Which is one of my obsessions!)  There are also projects on how to make faux carnival glass and Czech glass beads. There’s also the Faux Lampwork Tutorial which shows how to make polymer clay look like lampwork beads and pendants. The other tutorials are more for people who want to know more about polymer itself. The Powders book has info about mica, pigment, and dye powders that go well beyond polymer clay.  Stop by her website for more information and to connect with this amazing polymer clay guru:

      Want to read more about Ginger's trip to Allegory Gallery?  You can take a tour of the shop through Ginger's eyes (and discover a special offer for readers of her newsletter) by following the link: