Allegory Gallery Blog

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: www.agbeads.com/abundance/
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Ancient Kingdom Challenge



Your heart races as you climb through the boulders and toppled down trees.  Night is coming quick and you want to make it to the top of the ridge before it becomes too dangerous to navigate.  Not far now.  Closer.  Closer. Closer.  Finally!  You exhale deeply as you reach the summit and take in the painterly vista.  The sun has set and the sky is a blaze with fiery reds.  Rusty red light bathes the ruins of a forgotten civilization and long purple shadows stretch out from the crumbling stone structures.  Amidst the carved stones being swallowed up by thick woody vines, you make out glints of burnished bronze and flame-kissed copper.  There is treasure here - treasure that hasn’t been seen by human eyes for millennia in this ancient kingdom. This was the inspiration for our latest kit!  It’s made up of ruddy reds, warm purples, and earthy browns with touches of antique bronze and copper.



So... here's the deal: Participants of the challenge will purchase a kit. The kit is made up of a strand of amethyst, vintage plastic, ceramic, vintage glass, amethyst, vintage seed beads, waxed linen, and a luxury bead blend! The kit will also include a mystery component! No one knows what it is until it arrives at your door. Challengers will have a few weeks to make something with the kit. They 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.

And then... on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 we'll share all the creations in our Facebook group. CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group just for our design challenges.


Shipping of the Design Kits can take anywhere from one business day to ten. For international orders, it may take longer! If you know it takes a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! We will do our best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately we can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service. 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.

CLICK HERE to go directly to our NEW online store to get your very own Coral Coast Challenge kit!

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Coral Coast Challenge

Your toes sink into the sugar fine sand and cool water swirls around your ankles with a pomp of salty froth. As the water retreats, gifts are ceremoniously deposited at your feet. You bend down to examine your sea-given offerings. Half buried in the wet sand, a cream-colored pockmarked branch extends, reaching up to you. You pick it up. The once jagged roughness has been tumbled smooth. It evokes an underwater kingdom of darting fish and iridescent caverns littered with otherworldly life. Next to it is a shell covered in raised ridges with alternating bands of purplish brown and ruddy pink. You pick this up also. Flipping the shell over, you inspect the pearly recess, a buttery cream fanning out from a kitten tongue pink heart. Holding both your treasures in your palm, you look out onto the horizon. It is a coruscating seascape of pinks, and oranges, and tinges of scarlet, as the golden disc dips below the far off line that separates sea and sky. This is peace. This is possibility. This was the inspiration of our latest design kit challenge. The kit combines a mix of peachy coral and pinkish red, with pops of pearly cream and accents of purplish browns.

So... here's the deal: Participants of the challenge will purchase a kit. The kit is made up of a strand of prehnite, vintage plastic, ceramic, vintage glass, aventurine, vintage seed beads, waxed linen, coconut, and a luxury bead blend! The kit will also include a mystery component! No one knows what it is until it arrives at your door. Challengers will have a few weeks to make something with the kit. They 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.

And then... on Thursday, August 30th, 2018 we'll share all the creations in our Facebook group. CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group just for our design challenges.

Now, here's the fine print: There are only 20 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 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! If you know it takes a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! We will do our best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately we can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service. 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.

CLICK HERE to go directly to our NEW online store to get your very own Coral Coast Challenge kit!
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Wild Jungle Challenge

It's been awhile since our last design kit challenge!  After doing challenges for over nine years, almost 60 challenges, and sending out thousands of kits around the world... we thought that we were going to close this chapter on offerings at Allegory Gallery. But then I had a wonderfully wild dream and I knew we weren't done just yet.  

Let's go on a little adventure... sweat trickles down your face.  Your muscles ache as exhaustion weighs heavily.  You've been making your way to the heart of the jungle, pulling yourself over tangles of roots and through thick foliage.  It's a humid place with steam rising off the leaves and water droplets sparkling like glass beads.  Imagine trekking through this extreme landscape, surrounded by a thousand shades of green and tropical wildlife.  It's a challenging place, but it's also rewarding with plants and animals that seem dreamed up and completely imaginary.  This is a wild place.   Our design kit is loosely inspired by this expedition into the tropical unknown. Thus the Wild Jungle Challenge was born!  The kit combines a mix of lush greens and woody browns, with pops of cream.


So... here's the deal:  Participants of the challenge will purchase a kit.  The kit is made up of a strand of prehnite, vintage plastic, ceramic, vintage glass, aventurine, vintage seed beads, waxed linen, coconut, and a luxury bead blend!  The kit will also include a mystery component!  No one knows what it is until it arrives at your door.  Challengers will have a few weeks to make something with the kit.  They 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.

And then... on Thursday, July 26th, 2018 we'll share all the creations in our Facebook group.  CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group just for our design challenges.

Now, here's the fine print:  There are only 20 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 perfect.  HURRY!  Supplies are limited and are on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis!  (Sorry, no exceptions!)

I also wanted to mention that all the Design Kits will be shipped with Priority mail.  This can take anywhere from one business day to ten.  For international orders, it may take longer!  If you know it takes a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! I will do my best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately I can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service.

All sales of the Design Kits are final and there are no returns or exchanges.

CLICK HERE to go directly to our online store to get your very own Wild Jungle Challenge kit!
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Honor Mystery Challenge

The first time that I met Jen Palmer, I had just moved to Pennsylvania and she messaged me on Twitter.  We became fast friends.  What could have turned out dreadfully wrong ended up becoming something quite wonderful.  I've admired her work for a long time, whether it's her photography, encaustics, or paintings.  She has a sensitivity, that illuminates whatever her subject matter and whatever medium she uses.  We recently had an opening for a show called, "Looking Local" during the Ligonier Art Walk.  The show was a cross-section of work created by residents of Ligonier and the surrounding areas.  I knew that I wanted to feature Jen in the line up.  She created three small-scale paintings with an atmospheric, otherworldly quality.  They felt like you were looking deeper into something spiritual.  I picked, "Honoring the Space Between the No Longer and the Not Yet" to focus on.  Thus, the Honor Mystery Challenge was born!  (If you are interested in the piece, you can contact us by email at info@allegorygallery.com and we can give you a price and details.) This kit is loosely inspired by the art piece.  The kit combines a mix of of smoky grays, faded purples, and dusky reds with pops of vibrant orange and earthy browns.  The color palette is perfect for autumn!

So... here's the deal:  Participants of the challenge will purchase a kit.  No one knows what's in it except for us.  We'll send them out and folks will get a SURPRISE when they open the box!  Don't worry, it'll be a good one!  Mystery Challengers will have a few weeks to make something with the kit.  They 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.

And then... on Thursday, November 30th, 2017 we'll share all the creations in our Facebook group.  CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group just for our design challenges.

Now, here's the fine print:  There are only 25 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 perfect.  HURRY!  Supplies are limited and are on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis!  (Sorry, no exceptions!)

I also wanted to mention that all the Design Kits will be shipped with Priority mail.  This can take anywhere from one business day to ten.  For international orders, it may take longer!  If you know it takes a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! I will do my best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately I can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service.

All sales of the Design Kits are final and there are no returns or exchanges.

CLICK HERE to go directly to our online store to get your very own Honor Mystery Challenge kit!
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Yearning Mystery Challenge

The first time that I saw Christi Friesen's work, I looked through a window into a room off an atrium in a mansion in Tucson, Arizona.  The exuberance and curiosity in her work was evident.  Looking at her work, I could see someone who explored themes in nature and did so with whimsy.  We recently had an opening of Christi's work and I picked, "Yearning" to focus on.  This piece belongs to the "Germination Series" and all the pieces feature a bursting forth of energy and contain a sense of growth.  Thus, the Yearning Mystery Challenge was born!  (You can take a look at the piece and even buy it if you're so inclined by CLICKING HERE.) This kit is loosely inspired by the art piece by the same name.  The kit combines a mix of bleached pine wood beige, brilliant gold, poppy reds, dusty pinks, and springy greens.  

So... here's the deal:  Participants of the challenge will purchase a kit.  No one knows what's in it except for us.  We'll send them out and folks will get a SURPRISE when they open the box!  Don't worry, it'll be a good one!  Mystery Challengers will have a few weeks to make something with the kit.  They 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.

And then... on Thursday, October 26th, 2017 we'll share all the creations in our Facebook group.  CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group just for our design challenges.

Now, here's the fine print:  There are only 20 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 perfect.  HURRY!  Supplies are limited and are on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis!  (Sorry, no exceptions!)

I also wanted to mention that all the Design Kits will be shipped with Priority mail.  This can take anywhere from one business day to ten.  For international orders, it may take longer!  If you know it takes a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! I will do my best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately I can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service.

All sales of the Design Kits are final and there are no returns or exchanges.

And if you need more Luxury Bead Blend, we decided to offer additional mixes to those who were interested.  You can do so by CLICKING HERE.

CLICK HERE to go directly to our online store to get your very own Yearning Mystery Challenge kit!
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Kaleidoscope Mystery Competition

We've been having so much fun with the competition challenges recently!  The Forest Journey and the Water & Fire Mystery Competitions were all huge successes and we saw so many amazing things!  It's sort of surprising, because when we started doing the challenges, we never really wanted to do competitions.  Our goal was to inspire people to create and challenge themselves creatively.  But it seems as though the community that we've formed finds the competitions thrilling and invigorating.  The community that has emerged around the kits is one that we hold dear and is one that is both kind and encouraging.  To celebrate our community and to recognize and reward exceptional design, we decided to initiate another mystery competition: Kaleidoscope Mystery Competition.
Before I go further, I want to stress that while there is certainly a competition aspect of this particular challenge, the option to participate in that portion is completely voluntary!  We do not want people to be dissuaded from engaging in the challenge because they feel they're not qualified (for whatever reason) to be in the competition.  This is open to all skill levels and we encourage participation from beginners to long-time makers!  The biggest thing is that we want people to have FUN!

When I was a child, I remember laying on my back, looking through a kaleidoscope and thinking that it was pure magic.  I loved how the colors and patterns were constantly shifting and forming new combinations.  I loved the ever-shifting rainbow and spent hours playing with it.  When we were coming up with concepts, I knew that I wanted to play off this memory.  We pulled together a confetti of colors, shapes, and materials.  The assortment is very "bead soup" reminiscent, with clear beads as a foundation.  When I'm working, this is one of the ways that I draw inspiration... from spilling everything out and sort of seeing the patterns and relationships develop between components.  It creates unexpected results that I would never have dreamed up without seeing them first.
So... here's the deal:  Participants of the challenge must purchase at least one kit.  No one knows what's in the kits except for us.  We'll send them out and folks will get a SURPRISE when they open the box!  Don't worry, it'll be a good one!  Mystery Challengers will have several weeks to make something with one or both of the kits.  They can use as much or as little of the kits as they like and can supplement the kits with beads from their own stash if they so desire.  And then... on Thursday, September 14th, 2017 we'll share all the creations in our Facebook group.  Feel free to post however many pieces you were inspired to create from the kits!  CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group just for our design challenges.

The Reveal date is Thursday, September 14th, 2017!

From September 14th to September 21st, we will be conducting voting.  Participants may submit one design for consideration. The judges will narrow down the top selections and award a prize to one deserving designer.  The prize is composed of vintage plastic, dyed agate, amazonite, pressed glass bicones, dyed pearls, mixed stone fancy grade faceted briolettes, Czech glass druks, waxed Irish linen, amethyst large chips, dyed shell, a porcelain pendant by Andrew Thornton, a Diane Hawkey porcelain word bead, a selection of ceramic components by Marsha Neal Studio, and Czech glass flowers.  The prize is worth over $175 retail!

Judges' deliberation concludes and the winner will be announced Saturday, September 23rd, 2017!

Now, here's the fine print:  There are only 30 Design Kits available!  (Unfortunately we can't make more if we sell out, because some of the components are vintage and are hard to find.)  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 perfect.  HURRY!  Supplies are limited and are on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis!  (Sorry, no exceptions!)

I also wanted to mention that all the Design Kits will be shipped with Priority mail.  This can take anywhere from one business day to ten.  For international orders, it may take longer!  If you know it takes a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! I will do my best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately I can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service.

All sales of the Design Kits are final and there are no returns or exchanges.

CLICK HERE to go directly to our online store to get your very own kit!
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Grow Mystery Challenges

One of the things that we wanted to do with our upcoming challenges is to integrate it a little more with the artwork that we exhibit in the shop.  We bring in such amazing talent and we want to share that with others and use that to inspire others to create.  For our first Design Kit inspired by art, we are featuring the work of Mystele Kirkeeng.  Currently her show, "Wonder Works" is on display on the Project Wall.  CLICK HERE to see the show online, if you couldn't make it in to see the pieces in person.  Mystele works with mixed media in a modern folk art style.  What's striking about Mystele's show is that it is so vibrant.  It radiates color and has a layered richness.  It gives her portraits a strength and unique attitude.  The piece that we picked to focus on for this kit is called, "Grow".    CLICK HERE to check it out online.  (It is also still available for purchase, if you're interested.)  The painting is a rainbow of hues.  Coincidentally, the colors match the 2017 Pantone colors almost perfectly.  There's a lovely mix of lively yellows and glowing greens, with touches of brilliant pinks, teals, oranges, and purples.  Thus, the Grow Mystery Challenge was born!  This kit is loosely inspired by the painting and we've tried to incorporate components that play off her beautiful artwork.  


So... here's the deal:  Participants of the challenge will purchase a kit.  No one knows what's in it except for us.  We'll send them out and folks will get a SURPRISE when they open the box!  Don't worry, it'll be a good one!  Mystery Challengers will have a few weeks to make something with the kit.  They 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.

And then... on Thursday, August 24th, 2017 we'll share all the creations in our Facebook group.  CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group just for our design challenges.

Now, here's the fine print:  There are only 20 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 perfect.  HURRY!  Supplies are limited and are on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis!  (Sorry, no exceptions!)

I also wanted to mention that all the Design Kits will be shipped with Priority mail.  This can take anywhere from one business day to ten.  For international orders, it may take longer!  If you know it takes a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! I will do my best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately I can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service.

All sales of the Design Kits are final and there are no returns or exchanges.

CLICK HERE to go directly to our online store to get your very own Grow Mystery Challenge kit!
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Evening Serenade Mystery Challenge

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Water & Fire Mystery Competition

A few months ago, we launched our second competition, Forest Journey!  It was a huge success and a lot of people seemed really excited to participate.  The reveal for Forest Journey is coming up in April and we can't wait to see what people make.  When we started doing the challenges, we never wanted to do competitions.  Our goal was to inspire people to create and challenge themselves creatively.  But it seems as though the community that we've formed finds the competitions thrilling and invigorating.  The community that has emerged around the kits is one that we hold dear and is one that is both kind and encouraging.  When there's so much in this world that asks us to be divided, the kits are a reminder that we are stronger and better together.  To celebrate our community and to recognize and reward exceptional design, we decided to initiate another mystery competition: Water & Fire Mystery Competition.
Before I go further, I want to stress that while there is certainly a competition aspect of this particular challenge, the option to participate in that portion is completely voluntary!  We do not want people to be dissuaded from engaging in the challenge because they feel they're not qualified (for whatever reason) to be in the competition.  This is open to all skill levels and we encourage participation from beginners to long-time makers!  The biggest thing is that we want people to have FUN!

When we created the concept of this challenge, we thought about forces of creation and we instantly thought of the elements.  The more we pondered the powers of creation, we also thought of the role destruction plays.  Water and fire both have many beneficial attributes as life-givers and influencers of change, but they can also be harmful and detrimental to life.  Water and fire also cancel each other out.  As with all things, there's a balance.  And we wanted to make that balance the central focus of this challenge.

So... here's the deal:  Participants of the challenge must purchase at least one kit.  No one knows what's in the kits except for us.  But... there's a twist!  There are two separate kits.  And people who claim one kit may either get the fire kit or the water kit.  We will randomly select which one each participant will get.  (The only way to insure that you'll get a fire or water kit is to purchase two kits and we will include one of each.)  We'll send them out and folks will get a SURPRISE when they open the box!  Don't worry, it'll be a good one!  (I will say that the colors in the fire kit have fiery oranges, sizzling reds, and pops of luminous yellows.  The water kit has shades of watery blues with touches of green.)  Mystery Challengers will have several weeks to make something with one or both of the kits.  They can use as much or as little of the kits as they like and can supplement the kits with beads from their own stash if they so desire.  And then... on Thursday, May 25th, 2017 we'll share all the creations in our Facebook group.  Feel free to post however many pieces you were inspired to create from the kits!  CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group just for our design challenges.

The Reveal date is Thursday, May 25th, 2017!

From May 25th to June 1st, all of the members of the Facebook group can vote for one of their favorite designs (but not their own).  Participants may submit one design (per element) for consideration. The judges will narrow down the top selections and award a prize to one deserving designer.  The prize is composed of a copy of "Exposed Bead & Wire Jewelry" Margot Potter, Fernando DaSilva and Katie Hacker AND "Designing Jewelry with Semiprecious Beads" by Kim Glover!  The winner will also receive a prize package including vintage plastic, vintage seed beads, a luxury bead blend, Czech glass, a hand-dyed silk ribbon, wood beads, waxed Irish linen, a ceramic piece by Earthenwood Studio, a ceramic piece by Gaea Cannaday, and a few strands of stone beads.  The prize is worth over $150 retail!  (And like all good mysteries, there might be some surprise prizes for other participants who don't snag the grand prize!)


Judges' deliberation concludes and the winner will be announced Saturday, June 3rd, 2017!

Now, here's the fine print:  There are only 40 Design Kits available!  There are 20 water kits and 20 fire kits.  Participants will not be able to pick what kit they get unless they get both kits and then they will get one of each.  (Unfortunately we can't make more if we sell out, because some of the components are vintage and are hard to find.)  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 perfect.  HURRY!  Supplies are limited and are on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis!  (Sorry, no exceptions!)

I also wanted to mention that all the Design Kits will be shipped with Priority mail.  This can take anywhere from one business day to ten.  For international orders, it may take longer!  If you know it takes a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! I will do my best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately I can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service.

All sales of the Design Kits are final and there are no returns or exchanges.

CLICK HERE to go directly to our online store to get your very own kit!
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