Allegory Gallery Blog

Road Trip with Candie Cooper and Green Girl Studios

Every year, we head down to North Carolina to see our family at Green Girl Studios and shop the gem shows in Franklin, NC.  It just so happened that our trip aligned with a visit from Candie Cooper!  You might know Candie from one of her many books like, "Metalworking 101 for Beaders", "Necklaceology", "Earringology", or "Felted Jewelry".  Candie also does some hugely popular Facebook Live sessions.  CLICK HERE to visit her Facebook page.

Over the course of the weekend, we had several Facebook Live sessions giving a sneak peek into the inner workings of Green Girl Studios.  One of them was about Cynthia and her process carving and shaping wax.  Another featured Greg and how he casts the pewter beads.  In one of them, I demonstrated how to wire-wrap bead caps onto a glass bauble.  Candie offered a lot of custom, special listings in her Etsy shop and throughout the experience, Candie shared her positive energy and gracious camaraderie.

It was a fantastic weekend!  Not only did we have a great time interacting with customers, shopping the gem shows, and sharing stories, but we also got a chance to spend time with each other.  We empowered one another with our experiences and expertise, motivated one another, and bonded over friendship and beads.  It was a great weekend, indeed!

Bead and Craft Bloggers

What a wonderful line-up of links from our Bead and Craft Bloggers group!  There's so much talent on display this week!

Awareness can be beautiful.  In this post, TappingflamingoBling shares her beach style with these autism awareness bracelets!  The cherry on top is that a portion of the sales will benefit a nonprofit that supports autism awareness.

Summer is a busy time!  Keeping up with your crafts can be tricky.  In this post, Cyndi shows how she side-stepped packing and planning for a dozen different projects and focused on one technique: the Russian Spiral rope that she learned from Carol Ohl's article in Beadwork magazine.

Tammy, the Crafty Princess extraordinaire, let's us take a look at a tiny Blythe Doll dress she made and talks about the importance of adding details, especially when working on a small scale.

Allegory Gallery has a monthly design kit challenge.  July's challenge was, "Wild Jungle".  See what Ann made with the kit!

Brenda Schweder, Jess Lincoln, Heather Powers, and Erin Prais-Hintz teamed up this year to headline the Adornments Retreat in Galena, Illinois!  In this blog, Sarajo shares what it was like to attend this amazing experience!

Each month, this book club reads a new selection.  Unlike a lot of other book clubs, after they finish reading, members are encouraged to make something inspired by what they read!  See what Andrew created with Rainbow Rowell's book, "Eleanor & Park" as inspiration!

The store is constantly evolving!  Each day new items are added to the showroom floor.  Check out what's new at this local bead store!

Rainbow Rowell-Inspired Mixed Tape Necklace for Charity

We recently had our meet-up for the Inspired by Reading Book Club.  Andrew made a pair of earrings inspired by "Eleanor & Park" by Rainbow Rowell.  CLICK HERE to read about them and our book club.  When Andrew posted his earrings, he shared his creation with the author and she responded back!  How awesome is that?  Pretty dang awesome!!!

Andrew was so excited that Rainbow Rowell checked out his blog and retweeted his post that he decided to pay the good energy forward.  He decided to make a few pieces using the Mixed Tape component he designed (inspired by her book) with profits going to the nonprofit of her choice.  Rainbow Rowell picked Everytown for Gun Safety.

We have six necklaces up for grabs in our online shop.  Each necklace features a laser-engraved acrylic pendant designed by Andrew Thornton on an 18 inch sterling silver 1.2mm stringing cable chain with a spring ring clasp.  Each necklace is $20, plus shipping.  All of the proceeds from the sales of these necklaces will go directly to her chosen charity.  If the necklaces are popular and sell out, we'll do another run.  CLICK HERE to check out our online shop and get a necklace.

Many thanks to Rainbow Rowell for her kind words and for her inspirational talent as a writer.  We appreciate the time she took to brighten our day and share our book club and small business with others.  THANK YOU!
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New Additions to the Online Store

When we started Allegory Gallery, we did so with a shoestring budget.  That means that a lot of the things we did early on were geared towards the independent artist business model, either free or low-cost.  This included our online store.  For years, we had an online shop with BigCartel.  While we loved them and how easy it was to use, they have a cap on how many products a shop can have.  Eventually we supplemented our BigCartel store with an Etsy shop.  The online shopping experience was a little fragmented.  When we were out in Reno for the SCORE American Small Business Championship conference, one of the things we talked about was putting your best foot forward with your online presence and to work on optimizing the shopping experience your customers have.  With some of the recent changes to Etsy, we decided it was the perfect time to take things to the next level.

We've been working hard on creating our own online store built directly into our website.  We want the online store to mirror the in-store experience, focusing on a carefully curated collection of unique items.  We've been adding products a little at a time to fill it up.

Here are some of our newest additions:

These mixed metal pendants were created by Andrew Thornton.  They combine flame-polished copper and sterling silver.  The different metals provide a nice contrast and has a graphic impact.  To find out more about these pendants, CLICK HERE.

These pendants were also created by Andrew Thornton.  Andrew raided his rose-cut sapphire collection to make these new pieces.  The sparkly stones are bezel-set and have long style bails.  The bails are a nice design feature that changes the way they're hung and increases their ability to be customized and personalized for the wearer; you can dangle charms off the bails, wrap them in colored fibers, or add seed bead embellishments.  The pendants can also be worn with other pieces without worrying about it getting buried in the jumble.  To take a closer look at these pendants and other sapphire beads, CLICK HERE.

Art beads are some of the things that we focus on a lot at the shop.  We have art beads created by artisans from all over the world in various different mediums.  There's beads in glass, metal, you name it!  These ones are made by an Oregon-based artist named Dana Swisher.  She works in ceramic and created these charming face beads.  CLICK HERE to learn more about them.

Keep coming back and checking out our latest offerings!  We try to add something everyday.  And if there's something that you're looking for, let us know and we'll try to find it for you and add it to the shop.  You can see a full listing of all our offerings by CLICKING HERE.
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Allegory Gallery on Instagram

Are you on Instagram?  So are we!  It's another place to keep up with what we've got going on here at Allegory Gallery.  If you like the content on our Facebook page, blog, and website, we recommend you follow us there too!  CLICK HERE to visit our Instagram feed and make sure to follow us if you haven't already!

Bead and Craft Bloggers

It has been a busy week for the Bead and Craft Bloggers!  There's a wonderful array of different projects, experiments, experiences, kits, challenges, tutorials, and all kinds of creative goodness!

Breathing new life into components, Ann and her mom experiment with adding surface treatments using Vintaj Patinas and old papers with Mod Podge.

Sometimes you find something that speaks directly to your heart and you know it's the things you've been waiting for your entire life... and sometimes you don't.  Tammy talks about how she thought she'd be a Blythe doll customizer, but realized it was just not meant to be.

Cyndi has used Nora Toth's design from Bead&Button magazine to create a bead-woven flower pendant using dagger beads and put her own spin on the pattern.

The road to monetizing your passion can always have unexpected challenges.  Terry discusses her journey with her Etsy shop and questions whether she should keep it going or give it up!

Sarajo teams up with her husband each month to create a new Honey Do List challenge.  Eric shares a photo and she creates something based off it.  July is a flutter of activity with a beautiful crow photo as inspiration.

In this post, Andrew shares some of his insect-inspired art beads from his private collection.

Allegory Gallery launches their new kit, Coral Coast.  Inspired by sun-kissed beaches and warm days spent beachcombing by the water, the new design challenge incorporates shades of peachy coral, pinkish reds, and creamy ivory.

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.

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!

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!