Allegory Gallery Blog

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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Common Scents Workshop with Elise Wells


Allegory Gallery will host the ”Common Scents Workshop” with Elise Wells on Sunday, August 5th. Spaces will be very limited, and all money collected for the seats will be donated to a Veteran’s chartity (more details to come).

We will open up the purchase link once all details are solidified. Please stay tuned to THIS EVENTS PAGE for details!

Common Scents Workshop Information

Scents used: Sulfur water, rust water, chestnut honey, diesel, sand, burnt carbon, burnt sugar, pine resin, saffron, leather, saddle polish, pheromone, sawdust, brandy, and sage tea.

Path to memory: This workshop will be an exploration of how scent is directly related to memory, association, and feeling.

The introduction of this one and a half hour course will be to show images and literature excerpts concerning “scent memories”.

Participants will then be invited to take slow turns sampling each unmarked scent individually. Participants will have cotton rag paper in front of them and will be invited to write a word or draw a symbol for each experience of each scent. These written and drawn automatic responses will then be layered on a single page. The second half of the workshop will be spent sharing these associations and scent memories with each other, followed by discussions and questions. Smell reveals much subconscious knowledge and feeling. Participants are able to take the print/artwork/writing home with them.

About Elise and Background: I became interested in primal instinctual sensual/protection tools while deployed to Iraq. There we had the most highly advanced technology and weapons systems in the world and yet I was fascinated that we were still using bomb dogs to sniff out Improvised Explosive Devices. From there I researched canary mines and started to think about no matter how far technology takes us, we will always have this ancient “equipment”- our senses- to rely on. I was inspired to do an informal survey with the soldiers I served with to compile a list of common scent memories from time overseas, training, or the military itself. It was amazing how similar they were. From there I met and collaborated with Susan Barbour, a perfumist and master sommelier and we worked at the Institute of Art and Olfaction developing scent artworks and exploring the world of natural and synthetic smells, including attraction/mate selection and hormones/pheromones, which has evolved into workshops that both she and I give as a way of expressing some of these notions of scent, memory, sharing, experience and instinct.
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Bead and Craft Bloggers

Did you know that Allegory Gallery began with humble origins in the blogging community?  Before the brick and mortar, there was an online shop and blog.  As we got wrapped up in the day to day operations of the store, the blog sort of took a back seat, but we wanted to get back into the flow of things and promote other bead and craft bloggers of distinction.

Ann Schroeder of BeadLove shares a recent creation featuring a striking color scheme of black and white.  Her necklace incorporates several art bead components from the likes of Jenny Davies-Reazor and SagaHus Components.

What an amazing project!  Tammy, the incomparable Crafty Princess, works her magic on finishing a family heirloom that her grandmother started.  Some of our favorite craft projects are the ones that connect our histories, hearts, and hands.

Using the inspiration of Pantone's Pink Lavender, Cyndi elevates a button with bead embroidery and turns it into a pendant.  You can do it too!  Cyndi shares a tutorial on how you can make your very own!

Working with the July prompt from the Artisans Create Together group, Sarajo Wentling of Sj Designs produced several stellar jewelry pieces featuring a heavenly array of suns, moons, and stars.

Sometimes running a small business, let alone a craft-based business, can be daunting. Andrew shares how Allegory Gallery embraced the challenge and how their hard work paid off!  Allegory Gallery was recently recognized by SCORE as one of the 2018 American Small Business Champions.

Want to see what we've been working on here at Allegory Gallery?  We've got a fun new selection of heart-themed laser-engraved wooden pendants!
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A Letter from Governor Tom Wolf

Running a small business can be challenging at times and it's easy to forget how blessed we are to follow our dreams, but then there are days like these, that remind us that what we are doing is being seen and appreciated.  We were recently named one of SCORE's American Small Business Champions.  Out of thousands of entries, we were able to claim one of the 102 spots.  In Pennsylvania, we were one out of three small businesses in the entire state!  (There are just shy of a million small businesses currently filing in Pennsylvania, by the way.)  That recognition didn't go unnoticed.  Governor Tom Wolf recently sent us a personalized letter commending us for our hard work and for our efforts in the small business community.  Thank you, SCORE for empowering us to be #bizchampions and Governor Tom Wolf for your time, energy, and encouragement.  Today is a gold star... or rather... gold seal... day, for sure!
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New Laser-Engraved Heart Pendants

Since we got the laser, we've been working hard to create meaningful components that people can use to incorporate into their jewelry projects.  One of the motifs that has long fascinated us is the heart.  The typical Valentine's Day heart is very different than an actual thing!  The simplified caricature is an iconic symbol that crosses borders and is almost universally understood.  

But the heart is more than just a beating organ that pumps blood.  The heart is imbued with all sorts of stories and symbolism.  And depending on which culture you're participating in, it can change the meaning and significance.  A heart can mean friendship and companionship.  But a heart can also represent passion and love.  A sometimes a heart can symbolize bravery and fortitude.  Just like there are many different forms of love, so too are their hearts.

All of these new laser-engraved wooden pendants are etched onto 1/8 inch thick maple plywood and depict original artwork by Andrew Thornton.  They were made in house at Allegory Gallery with love in Ligonier, PA.

Laser-engraved wooden flying heart pendant by Allegory Gallery.

When we think of the word kindness, we think of something soft and fluffy.  We gave this heart wings, so that it could soar amongst the cotton puff clouds.  The two crossed arrows symbolize friendship.  CLICK HERE to find out more.

Laser-engraved wooden love heart pendant by Allegory Gallery.

Infatuation can quickly burn out, but love... true love... is a thing that grows over time.  This heart depicts a floral motif, abundant with growing things.  CLICK HERE to take gander at it in the online shop.

Laser-engraved wooden courage/sacred heart pendant by Allegory Gallery.

This design plays off the motif of the Sacred Heart.  The regular iconography of a sacred heart represents the love of God, is wrapped in a crown of thorns, and is burning with divine light.  This version shows the heart as an organ of fire and feeling.  The rose symbolizes beauty, new beginnings, hope, and balance.  The stylized thorns epitomize defense and protection.  All together, this pendant represents courage as the fiery zest of life.  Want to learn more about this pendant?  CLICK HERE.

We have been steadily working on increasing our selection of laser-engraved wooden pendants, including quote pendants.  To see the full selection of our current offerings, CLICK HERE.  If you have a bead store and would like to wholesale our pendants, contact us at info@allegorygallery.com for more information and to establish an account.  We can also do custom pendants with your own original artwork!
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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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We Hope to See You in Milwaukee!

It’s that time of the year again! Preparations are going full tilt to get ready for Bead & Button in Milwaukee! We’ll be sharing a table again this year with our family at Green Girl Studios (and they’re going to have some really beautiful new things for you, too). We always love going to shows, but because we’re a small store, we often don’t get to attend as many as we’d like. So, we try to make the most of it when we do! It's a great chance for us to get out to see our customers and friends in another part of the country, and we hope to see you there! We also hope that you’ll come by to say hello or introduce yourself if we’ve not yet met in person!

Some quick information:

Where: Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee, WI
Dates: Preview Day, June 7th (for registered attendees only) / Public Shopping happens on June 8-10.
Find Us: Booth numbers 1203 & 1205
More information about the show: https://www.beadandbuttonshow.com/

Get your tickets for the Expo by clicking here!

And, be sure to stay up to date by visiting our website to see the new items we'll be bringing along with us!

See you in Milwaukee!

William & Andrew
Allegory Gallery

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Upcoming Ligonier Art Walk



We in Ligonier are getting very excited about the Spring 2018 Ligonier Art Walk, and at Allegory Gallery, we’re especially proud to announce that we’ll have Kitsch Harris back on the wall with his latest collection, “Forgotten Vistas”! We’ll also be hosting a trunk show from Dakota Stones, and we can’t want to see what gorgeous new gemstones they have for us this time around! 

The Art Walk is Saturday, May 26th, and if you’re local, we’ll be open all day—with our official Opening Reception from 5pm till 7pm.  If you’re not local, we’ll still be uploading all the new artwork online for you to view and purchase.

What is this new artwork, you ask? Well Kitsch has started into the world of linocut and woodblock printing (as seen in the photo above)! His shows are always amazing (to the point where they often quickly sell out), so we’re super excited to see what he’s been up to—as we hope you are! 

If you can make it to Ligonier, we look forward to seeing you on May 26th, and if you can’t, we hope that you’ll check out the online exhibition. We will have the show on display until July 20th, for those who cannot make it the day of our Art Walk. 
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Some VERY Exciting News!


When we started this adventure nearly seven years ago, we could not have foreseen how our little dream would grow, evolve, and include so many amazing people. Through hard work and a deep commitment, we have nurtured our small business as a place that fosters friendship, creative exploration, and individual expression. It seems like every day there are stories about businesses like ours closing their doors and having to walk away from their dreams.  We are incredibly blessed and fortunate to be able to continue our mission despite the many hardships that face small businesses. We could not have confronted these challenges without the unwavering support of our many customers, friends, and fellow dreamers.  Because of your faith in us and our dream, we are able to continue to do what we do.

It is with a grateful heart that we humbly announce our recent success in becoming a SCORE Small Business 2018 Champion! We want to thank all those who helped make this a reality.  We know that so many of you contributed your time and energy to vote for us time and time again. This would not have happed without all of you.  It means so much to us to know that we are surrounded by such a dedicated support system, and that so many of you believe in our dream, too.  

We will be representing Allegory Gallery in SCORE's ASBC Training and Networking Celebration in Reno, NV in April. In a small way, we will be taking all of the people who have encouraged us along the way with us on this great journey. We will be joined by 101 other small businesses from around the country. We will use this experience as a way to continue to learn and grow, and better serve our communities.  From the attendees at the event in Nevada, three Grand Champion winners will be selected for the grand prize of $15,000 along with publicity and mentorship opportunities from SCORE. Those winners will be announced in September.  
  
We also want to congratulate the other Small Business 2018 Champions, and you can find the list of winners here: https://championship.score.org/winners. 

We hope that you are as excited about this news as we are, and we hope that you'll share our story with your social media friends and family. We are so thrilled to represent the beading and jewelry community, Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Small Businesses of Ligonier, PA!

Very sincerely,

William & Andrew

Allegory Gallery
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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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