Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Art...

When I was in art school, I read an essay about how artwork was for the rich.  In the article, it said that throughout the ages, it was a status symbol and nothing more.  It made me so mad.  While I don't care if people have money or don't have money, I didn't like the idea that my chosen profession was about catering to a certain demographic and my life would mean nothing more than securing someone else's societal place.  For me, when I create work and it goes to a new home, I want people to really want it and love it.  Art isn't just a status symbol to be worn on someone's sleeve, but an enrichment of one's life and imagination.

That's one of the reasons that we run the Project Wall at Allegory Gallery the way we do.  For us it's all about introducing new ideas and images to people and making it accessible.  I like the idea that people can afford to enhance their lives and add beauty to it.  It isn't just for one group of people.  I also like the idea that by buying artwork, you're helping support an artist and their ability to make things.  Even though we don't have a lot of money, we make a point of collecting work we love and hope it helps the artists continue to do what they love.

With all that being said... here are a few of the things we found while we were away.  Nothing is super big and over the top... they're just things we fell in love with and wanted to add to our collection.

This mug was made by Karen Newgard.  I've been admiring her sgraffito pieces for awhile now.  My sister has a few of her mugs and I've wanted one since the first time I saw them years ago at a fine craft festival.  I remembered that she had a studio in the River Arts District and made a point of visiting it.  I love my new mug with the red wing blackbirds.


One of our new favorite galleries is Horse and Hero.  It represents some of my favorite artists that I've been following online for years.  The nice thing is that it is all under one roof and they have such an eclectic vibe.  One of the pieces that we found was a small one from Rosy Kirby.  It was propped up next to the cash register and I knew that it had to come home with us.  I love that there's a story here.  I don't know what it is, but I look forward to spending years living with it and figuring out just what that story is for me.

Another piece that we found at Horse and Hero, was this archival print from Hannah Dansie.  I love the surrealistic symbolism and the fine line work.  We admired her work the last visit to Asheville and finally decided to pick this one up.  It has such a dreamy feeling.  It's called, "An Urban Space House".

One of my favorite new additions was made by my sister, Cynthia.  She created these airy backgrounds with the new Pan Pastels and then added these creatures in.  She calls this piece, "The Final Form".  I'm smitten with the expressive little critters and how they're all in a state of transition, exploring the vastness of the universe.

I'm really happy with all the new pieces and look forward to seeing them every day.  Maybe one of these days I'll take a picture of our walls, crowded with little treasures we've collected over the years and surround ourselves with.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Short Trip to Asheville...

We just got back from a whirlwind trip to Asheville.  We went to visit my family and go to a gem show down there.  As an added bonus, our trip aligned with Jessica Wiesel's and we were able to catch up with her as well!

We drove all night on Thursday and got to Asheville super early on Friday morning.  After a short nap, we headed to Franklin to shop for the store.  It is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows.  Not only do I get to see my family while I'm down there, but it's a manageable size and not quite as daunting as sprawling Tucson.

While we were in town, we had to stop at White Duck Taco Shop.  We went to the West Asheville location and even though the line was pretty epic, we were really happy with what we ordered.  I shared a couple of different ones with William, including the pork belly and the thai peanut chicken tacos in the above picture, and the shrimp and lump crab tacos (not shown).  I also couldn't resist ordering a Mexican Chocolate Pot du Creme.  All delicious!

Since we were over in River Arts District, we went to a couple of the galleries and studios.  I particularly wanted to see Karen Newgard's pottery studio.  I've been smitten with her sgraffito for years!

No trip to Asheville would be complete without a stop at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.  We were already downtown visiting one of my new favorite galleries, Horse and Hero.  So we popped in.  It was pretty hot and muggy out, so even though I adore their Liquid Truffles, I was in the mood for something a little cooler!  I selected their Jitterbug!  It's a frappe of espresso and chocolate with creme anglaise with caramel drizzled on top.  Delightful!

This trip, we managed to enjoy a little bit of Asheville's night life.  We started the evening off at The Imperial Life and enjoyed some fancy mixed cocktails and sampled artisan made pickles and charcuterie spreads.  I was really impressed with all the variety and deletable offerings.

We sauntered down the street and made our way to the Buchi Bar at Rosettas Kitchen.  During our last trip, I sampled some of the bottled Air Kombucha and was inspired to brew my own concoctions at home.  If you're not familiar with kombucha, it's basically a fermented tea.  And Buchi is mighty tasty!

Since we were at a kombucha bar, we wanted to try all the different flavors and ordered flights.  I was really impressed and am glad we tried them.  There were so many subtleties and were way more complex than my more straightforward home-brew.  My favorite was still Air, but I also enjoyed the berry-flavored Water.  While the Fire was a bit strong for me, I could definitely see how the bold fiery flavors of ginger and cayenne would be most useful if one were clearing up a cold.

I was happy that we could spend a little bit of time exploring more of Asheville's night life.  I didn't take advantage of it nearly as much as I should have when I lived here.  Of course, a lot has changed since then!

OH!  And since William has never been to 12 Bones and I talk about it non-stop, we had to get lunch on our way back to Pennsylvania.  We split one of their Turkey and Brie Sandwiches and one of their BLTs.  It would not have been complete without their corn pudding.  (Cynthia had their cookbook, so I made sure to jot down the recipe.  Of course, it'll be hard to stop at their perfectly portioned sizes and not eat an entire pan.)

During our short trip, we did a little wax craving, planned future workshops, played with Pan Pastels, and spent quality family time cooking and playing with the kids and catching up.  We even squeezed in a 1000 piece puzzle!  It was a short trip, but we got a lot accomplished and have plans for more adventures yet to come.

Fairy House Workshop with Les Polinko...

I'm utterly charmed by Les Polinko's work.  She works with fantastical themes and uses polymer clay to make the most delightful creations.  Her little critters and creatures are just so expressive and whimsical!

We've invited Les to come to Ligonier to teach!  She'll be showing how to craft this fun Fairy House.  It'd be a perfect lighthearted touch to add to a garden or add a little magic to one's home decor!

The class takes place THIS SUNDAY (August 2nd) from noon to 4PM.  We are working with Main Exhibit Gallery and will have the class in their new Lower Level Art Center.  The class costs $45 and includes all materials!  What a steal!

After the class, we will be having a Meet-and-Greet event at Allegory Gallery.  This takes place from 6PM to 8PM.  It's free and open to the public and a great way to see more of Les Polinko's work in person and to pick her brain.  She's super nice and as magical as her artwork is!

To find out more and to sign up online, CLICK HERE.  You can also sign up by calling Allegory Gallery (724-610-3770), stopping by in person beforehand, or emailing us (info@allegorygallery.com).  Hope you can join us!  This a great way to support the arts and creative education in our community!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New from the Tumbler...

We're busy getting ready to leave on a trip, but I couldn't not share my latest batch of bronze coins freshly pulled from the tumbler.  I'm smitten with them!  I was really inspired by ancient coins and wanted mine to have that same look and feel as the originals.  (Top row from left to right: Olive branch, octopus, owl, and dolphins.  Bottom row:  Hare, Roman wheel, Pegasus, and a honeybee.)  Did you notice that there aren't any holes in them?  We'll be using them in some rings that we're going to make.    I'm really pleased with my yield and can't wait to start making them into rings!

Lunar Eclipse Challenge...


This is our latest Design Kit Challenge: Lunar Eclipse!  If this is your first time learning about our challenges, they're a really fun way to play with your creativity by working with an array of pre-selected components.

To participate, you must purchase a Design Kit. This kit features a selection of premium Czech glass (both new and vintage), vintage acrylic, smoky quartz, waxed Irish linen, vintage glass, vintage seed beads, and a Luxury Bead Blend. 

The Luxury Bead Blend consists of Japanese Miyuki seed beads, Toho seed beads, Japanese Matsuno seed beads, vintage Czech seed beads, freshwater pearls, glass pearls, Czech glass (both old and new), smoky quartz, tiger's eye, stone, vintage sequins, German glass, electroplated hematite, Swarovski crystals, vintage Japanese glass, Javanese glass, and vintage lucite. 

But wait... there's more!  Each kit will come with a special handmade component that will remain a mystery until it arrives at your door! It may be more than one piece!

The mystery component(s) will be publicly revealed on Monday, September 28th, 2015! 

For the past few challenges, I've been looking to gemstones for as a starting off point.  Once I've thought about the stone, I go from there.  This kit was inspired by smoky quartz.  When I first saw the stone, I was in elementary school.  We had sort of a mock science center/museum set up in one of the multi-purpose rooms and in one of the displays, there was a hunk of smoky quartz erroneously labeled "moon rock".  (It could also have been that our budget for our makeshift museum didn't include the budget for an actual lunar specimen.  Though in hindsight, a handful of gravel probably would have been more convincing.)

Ever since then, I've there's been a mental bridge between smoky quartz and the moon.  Smoky quartz also has a silvery, gray tone that reminds me of the moon.  I started looking up images of the moon and came across a few of lunar eclipses.  The moon, bathed in the shadow of the earth takes on hints of umber, sienna, and warm browns that almost appear copper with the silver light of the moon coming through.  This provided the perfect autumn color palette.

Speaking of color palettes, this kit was strongly influenced by the Pantone Color Forecast for Fall 2015.  I pulled colors like Dried Herb, Desert Sage, and Stormy Weather.  I sprinkled in bits of Oak Buff and even a dash of Marsala.

With your kit, using as much or as little of it as you like, create a piece that showcases your creativity, individuality, and artistic expression!  Ideally you'll pull from the components in the kit and spotlight them, but feel free to use beads from your own stash to supplement the offered selection.  Whether you use a little or a lot of the kit, make sure you keep your project secret until the reveal date!

The Reveal Date for this challenge is: Thursday, October 15th, 2015! 

Post a picture on your blog or send one to me to post on your behalf (if you don't have a blog of your own).  The Lunar Eclipse  Challenge will end in a blog hop, sharing all the lovely things created with your kit with your fellow participants.

There are only 30 Design Kits available (with one set aside for me)! Once we receive your order, we will process your kit and send it out within seven Allegory Gallery business days. 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 that it take 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.  Sorry!

With all that being said... we really hope you'll enjoy working with the kit and have a ball playing with it!  We can't wait to see what you make!

CLICK HERE to get your Design Kit!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tell Your Story...

We've been working away in the studio, making rings.  I love rings.   When I was growing up, I loved stories of magic rings and the fantastical tales that seemed to accompany them.  So much so that I would create wild scenarios involving me and my CrackerJack prize ring.  To me it was a Ring of Power.  It allowed me to speak the language of cats and find lost things... and people.

Like all adornment, rings tell stories.  Within each piece can be hidden meanings.  They are touchstones to memories and intentions.  Hands can be so expressive and speak volumes without even saying a single word.  The rings become a part of that communication and they help us tell our stories.  I love rings.

We're planning a trip to a gem show soon and would like to raise a little extra spending money for more supplies.  So we thought we'd list our rings and send them out in the world to find new homes.  I like this idea.  Art begets art.  And hopefully our art will grow with someone else and become a part of their story.

If you're interested in finding out more about our offerings, CLICK HERE.

New Czech Glass...

I confess... I have a weakness for Czech glass.  I love all the colors, shapes and finishes.  I thought it might be nice to share some of the Czech glass beads that can be found in the brick and mortar store with our online friends.  I posted some of my favorites and hope you enjoy them as well!  CLICK HERE to see our Premium Czech glass offerings.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bead and Craft Bloggers...

DIY Crochet Bead and Wire Crochet Necklace
Learn how to crochet wire and beads into a fun, whimsical necklace.  Here is the link to the video on how to crochet a chain stitch.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
So many beautiful creations were made for the latest challenge, Endless Sky.  Check out what all the participants made!

Review of Crafting Memories by Tammy Powley
Crafting Memories is the well-known craft author's first book of fiction and it's a very good read as career struggles mix with family scandal.

Yarn Review & Subscriber Giveaway
The Crafty Princess takes a look at a popular yarn used for knitting/crocheting baby items and has a YouTube subscriber giveaway in the works.

Mum's the Word
This free pattern from Connie Gee's Designs is suitable for cross-stitch, needlepoint, and beadwork.  Use the small design to experiment with different flosses or techniques.

Beading Arts
Cyndi's been going to town making Shamballa bracelets!  Here she shows you how to make smaller feminine ones using cords and captain.

Art Bead Scene
Check out Rebecca's roundup of ocean-inspired beads for this week!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Joan Tucker Online...

One of the great things about the internet is that we've been able to connect with artists and art enthusiasts all over the world.  Unfortunately this means that many loyal customers are left out when we host local events.  With that being said, we try to include everyone and provide online alternatives.

For instance, if you can't make it to the opening reception of Joan Tucker's new show, all is not lost!  You can still view images of her work online AND purchase pieces from the show.  CLICK HERE to view Joan's work online.

If you are local, I do hope you'll join us in celebrating this incredible work!  The opening reception is Saturday, July 18th from 5PM to 8PM at Allegory Gallery.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Warrior Stone Challenge SOLD OUT...

This might have set a record for the kit to sell out the fastest!  Many thanks go out to everyone who scored one of the Warrior Stone Challenge kits.  We appreciate your support and can't wait to see what everyone creates!  Thanks again!

Warrior Stone Challenge...

Say hello to our latest Design Kit Challenge: Warrior Stone!  If you're not familiar with the challenges, they are a fun way to nudge yourself creatively and create from an assortment of pre-selected components.

To participate, you must purchase a Design Kit.  This kit features a shimmering array of Czech glass (both old and new), vintage acrylic, labradorite, waxed Irish linen, labradorite chip strand, vintage small bugle seed beads, and a Luxury Bead Blend.

The Luxury Bead Blend consists of Japanese Miyuki seed beads, Toho seed beads, Japanese Matsuno seed beads, freshwater pearls, glass pearls, Czech glass (both old and new), labradorite, stone, base metal, vintage sequins, German glass, jade, Swarovski crystals, vintage Japanese glass, and vintage lucite.

But that's not it!  Each kit includes a special, handmade Mystery Component!  The component is a secret until arrives at your door!

The Mystery Component will publicly be revealed Monday, August 31st, 2015!

Labradorite was one of my first "stone crushes" and I've hoarded it for years.  According to Inuit legend, once the aurora borealis went missing and a warrior was sent to look for it.  As he was about to give up, he saw a sparkle in a stone, where it had been trapped.  He speared the stone and released the Northern Lights.  Some of the light remained in the stone and some say that's the origin of the flashes of light and chatoyance in the stone.  There are also those that believe that labradorite is a stone of magic, transformation, and protection and can increase the wearer's intuition and psychic development.  The stone with it's shimmering gray with hints of blue, gold, green, and purple was the inspiration for the kit.

With your kit, using as much or as little of it as you like, create a piece that showcases your creativity, individuality, and artistic expression.  Ideally your creation will spotlight the fantastic assortment of beads included in the kit, but the sky is the limit with what you can create.  Feel free to use beads from your own stash to supplement the offered selection.  Whether you use a little or a lot of the kit, make sure you keep your project a secret until the reveal date!

The reveal date is set for Thursday, September 10th, 2015!

Post a picture on your blog or send one to me to post on your behalf (if you don't have a blog of your own).  The Warrior Stone Challenge will end in a blog hop, sharing all the lovely things made with your kit with your fellow participants.

There are only 25 Design Kits available (with one set aside for myself)!  Once we receive your order, we will process your kit and send it out within seven Allegory Gallery business days.  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 fourteen.  For international participants, it may take longer! If you know that 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 kits out as early as possible, but unfortunately we 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.  Sorry!

With all that being said... we hope you have a great time working with the kit and have a lot of fun!  We are super excited to see what you create!

CLICK HERE to get your Design Kit!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cosmic Communications at Allegory Gallery...

I'm so proud of Joan and her new show, Cosmic Communications.  The show is brilliant and I applaud Joan for chasing her dreams and going after the artistic life.  The above article appeared in the Ligonier Echo and is a fascinating read.  CLICK HERE to read the article.

Please join us for the opening reception on Saturday, July 18th from 5PM to 8PM.

Book Club Reminder...

"Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell is the first book in our new cycle of selections for the Inspired by Reading Book Club.  We've changed the dates for the in person meet up to Wednesday, August 5th from 6PM to 9PM.  We'll be meeting at Allegory Gallery.  The date of the blog hop has also been changed!  We'll be posting things all day on Thursday, August 6th.  Hope you'll be able to play along!  (I'm really curious to see what everyone will make!)

Endless Sky Challenge Reveal...

Today is a gold star day!  It's the reveal of the Endless Sky Challenge.  Before I share the lovely creations made for this challenge, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who participated and purchased a kit.  Even though these challenges are a lot of work for us, we continue to do them because people seem genuinely excited by them and we love to see what people make.  It makes it all worth it!  So, thank you for sharing your time, creative energies, and support!

The color palette of this challenge started with a strand of aquamarine. I love the stone.  It's got shimmering, cool tones of subtle blues.  It made me think of the sky and from there, I wanted to capture a wide breadth of sky-inspired tones... from the dark blue of angry storm clouds to the airy frosts of misty clouds.  

Each of the kits also included a Mystery Component!  It's a surprise piece made by me.  I forgot to reveal it this past month, so here it is!  It's sort of a faux cloisonné and is made out of polymer clay with resin in the recessed areas.  I touched it up with Glider's Paste and pigments to make it shimmer and stand out.  It reminded me of that scene in Girl with a Pearl Earring, when Vermeer asks Griet what colors the clouds are.  Sometimes the way the light shines through them, they seem to be gilt and outlined in gold.

And without further ado... here's the reveal:

Melissa Wynne made all these pieces.  Here's what she had to say about them:  "Here are my submissions for the Endless Sky Challenge.  I had such fun working with the package.  Thanks for reawakening my love of beading!  I especially liked the large clear quartz ovals.  They screamed, "SIMPLE EARRINGS!" to me.  So I made wire findings and that was that.  On the choker, I sewed the ribbon into a narrow strand and then wrapped it around a piece from one of my late Mother's necklaces.  I also made earrings to match.  The colors of the rocks in the necklace and bracelet reminded me of a trip to the ocean.  This challenge was so inspiring!"

Laurel Ross made this necklace.  Here's what she had to say about it:  "This was a fun palette for me because I loved the color combo so much.  I had recently scored the labradorite, which make up the long double strands of the piece.  It worked perfectly with the large quartz and glass components from the kit that I used to surround the focal.  My favorite tidbits are the flat-backed round aquamarine stone which I made the centerpiece and the Green Girl Studios sun rock to tie it all together."

Laurel Ross also sent a picture of this piece.  "I admit it, none of the components are from the kit at all, but it fit so perfectly with this challenge that I couldn't pass up sharing it.  I fell deeply in love with these faceted aquamarine rounds.  So in keeping with the color scheme, I made this piece to go along with the other.  Perfect pair with jeans or business suit!"

This multi-strand bracelet was made by me.  It's nice and chunky!  I used lots of different shapes, cuts, and grades of aquamarine with little brass round spacers and gold Czech glass.  I added pearls, to almost look like clouds and accentuate the sky them.  I used white bronze cones from Saki Silver to disguise the strand ends and I used a bird toggle from my family at Green Girl Studios.

But wait... that's not all!  Check out what these participants made for the Endless Sky Challenge!  Make sure to hop around and comment with wild abandon!  They did such a great job!

Dolores Raml
Marybeth Rich
Mona Arnott
Christina Hickman
Shaiha Williams
Kathy Lindemer
Ann Schroeder
Tammy Bowman
Alison Herrington
Jeanne Steck
Andrew Thornton, Melissa Wynne, and Laurel Ross

Up next is the Dreaming Tree Challenge!  I hope you'll swing by and see what everyone made for it!  The reveal date is scheduled for Thursday, August 13th.

The next kit goes on SALE TOMORROW!  The new kit is called, Warrior Stone.  I'm smitten with it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Put a Ring On It...

I have a confession... I love rings.  I have a collection that I cycle through and have always wanted to make my own.  In the past I've made a few, but they were lacking a certain... finesse.  After Kieu's trip to the gallery and learning more about soldering and bezel setting, I've felt a lot more empowered.

The ring on the left was a collaborative effort with William.  We don't often get a chance to work together creatively, so it was nice to be able to share that.  I made the bronze coin and he set it in a sterling silver ring.

The rings on the right were made by me.  On the left features a Petoskey stone that Julie Tomes sent me.  She collected it with her family.  Petoskey stones are basically fossilized coral that can be found along the Michigan shoreline.  Some say that the stones have protective powers.  Next to it is a ring with kyanite.  I soldered on some granulated fine silver as a decorative embellishment.  I love the denim color.  It reminds me of my favorite blue jeans.

I also made these rings.  I love mixed metals and the contrast of colors.  I used silver for the base of the ring and bronze to bezel set the faceted ruby.  I love how the bronze really compliments the ruby.  I will say that the bronze was a little trickier to work with than the fine silver.  It work-hardened a lot faster and was a little more challenging to push down.  I might use gold in the future for the same effect, but less strain on my hands.

On the right is a ring with one of my bronze coins.  It features a jackalope.  I'm quite pleased with it.  It's whimsical and I am smitten with the contrast between the shiny silver and more rustic looking bronze.

I'm really excited about all the possibilities!  Now I just have to find time to work on more rings!

Art at Allegory Gallery...

If you're an art enthusiast, you're in luck!  We have packed a lot of creative energy within a very short amount of time at Allegory Gallery!

Our featured artist for the Spring 2015 Ligonier Art Walk was Lynne Suprock.  She created a beautiful display of mixed media work spotlighting her enameling and wire-working skills.  Her show recently ended and we thought we would allow people who didn't get a chance to see her work in person to see it online.  If you did see the show and missed out on grabbing your favorite piece, here's your second chance.  We will have a selection of her pieces posted online for 48 Hours!  So hurry!  Don't delay!  CLICK HERE to see Lynne's candy-colored cityscapes.

We had a short gap between the end of Lynne's show and the start of Joan Tucker's exhibition.  So we thought we'd give you all a little taste of things to come.  Later this year, we have a show planned featuring the work of Judith Jaidinger.  She is a supremely gifted artist who has been creating wood engraved prints for over 40 years!  Her work has been shown around the world and she's represented in major art meccas like Chicago and London.  A selection of her work from her upcoming show will be hung on the Project Wall for the next few days.  If you can't make it to the gallery in person, CLICK HERE to see some of her amazing prints online.

On Saturday, July 18th from 5PM to 8PM, we will be celebrating the work of Joan Tucker in her exhibition, "Cosmic Communications".  Her show is composed of dreamy abstract paintings.  Make sure to join us for the reception.  It promises to be a lot of fun!  We will have wine and tasty treats from the new patisserie in town, Warrior King Pastries. 

And don't forget!  We will also be debuting the treasures in our new Dakota Stones Trunk Show!  They sent an amazing assortment of gemstone strands!

We hope you can join us for all the artsy things we've got in the works!

Monday, July 06, 2015

Allegory Gallery Update...

We've been working like crazy putting together our upcoming schedule of events!  We have a lot of great things planned at Allegory Gallery!  So much to see and so much to do!  If you're curious about all the fun things that are on the horizon, why not check out our latest newsletter?  CLICK HERE to see what we've got planned.  While you're at it, why not sign up to receive our newsletter?  That way you won't miss a thing and will always be the first to know what we've got going on.


Friday, July 03, 2015

Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn Avenue...

Cynthia sent me a notice about a show called "DOLLirious" at Most Wanted Fine Art in Pittsburgh.  The show was all about fine art dolls and even included the work of a friend and fellow artist that we've shown at the gallery, Junker Jane.  We don't often venture into Pittsburgh, but it sounded like too much fun to pass up!

We were really impressed with the number of people strolling around.  The art opening was part of a bigger event called, Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn Avenue.  Many of the galleries were open and featuring receptions or special events.  Some had live music and bands playing.  There was a great energy!

Here are pictures of the work of Australian artist, Mahlimae aka Nicole Watt (on the left) and our friend, Junker Jane (on the right).  I really wanted the little Mahlimae piece, but we were a few minutes too late!  (I blame the parking!)  We were happy to see that Junker Jane sold one of her pieces and saw a group huddled around, going back and forth about the remaining doll.  Hopefully they decided to adopt it.

We ended up getting a small, Forever Limited Run Print Poppet plush piece from Dr. Morose and Miss Macabre

We also popped in Artisan Pittsburgh (part tattoo parlor, art gallery, and cafe) and found a lovely print by Adrienne Rozzi of Poison Apple Printshop.  We also ducked into Clay Penn and found a few pieces!  We found a tiny mixed media piece by Gus Fink, a smoking cat piece by Sherry Rusinack, and a sgraffito plate by the owner of the gallery, Laura Jean McLaughlin.  We hopped around a little more, visiting various galleries and stopping by outdoor tents.  In one of the Night Market tents, William found a nice ceramic mug and I found a Day of the Dead ceramic ornament from Araina Marsden.

We ended up sharing a plate of chicken curry, sitting on the curb, watching children play and people walk around, talking, and laughing, and looking at art.  It was a lovely evening and we were definitely glad we went!

Dreaming Tree Challenge Update...

Many thanks go out to all those who pre-ordered kits!  Thank you for your support and thank you for your patience!  Getting the supplies for this one was a little more tricky than other challenges.  I had ordered some supplies that came damaged and when replacements were sent, they were the wrong ones.  Finally things got straightened out!  And we set about kitting everything with wild abandon.

Here's the reveal of what's in the kit!  There's a full strand of fluorite chip, a baggie of Dreaming Tree Luxury Bead Blend, waxed Irish linen, vintage lucite, African glass, crystal, vintage Czech glass, Czech glass, vintage plastic, and fluorite.  

And there's the Mystery Component that we'll reveal at a later time.  

If you're curious about your package, the kits will go out at the start of next week.  So sorry for the delay!  We really hope you have fun working with the kits and I can't wait to see what everyone makes! 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Inspired by Reading June Blog Hop...

For June we read, "An Atlas of Impossible Longing" by Anuradha Roy.  The novel chronicles three generations of an Indian family and details their struggles and successes.  The book was met with mixed reviews.  Some said that they stopped reading because it was too emotionally engrossing and others enjoyed the lavishly detailed writing that sounded almost like a fairytale.


Without further ado... here's the reveal:

Laurel made this necklace.  Here's what she had to say about it:  "This is not what I originally hoped to create.  However, this happened to be a project that I started a few weeks ago and it fit the bill for what I envisioned in the part of the book when the narrator describes where Amulya (the family patriarch) comes home to have lunch or finish his day in peace and quiet in his garden.  I brought in a piece of my Michael Aram to serve cheese and crackers on for the in-person meet up just because the leaf reminded me of something tropical from that garden."

I made this piece.  The first part of the book is called, "The Drowned House" and it was hard for me to get this image out of my mind.  The way that Roy describes the water as a fading sepia tone photograph, just stuck with me.  I recently acquired these brown chalcedony faceted rondelles and wanted to use them, since they looked so much like the image of the water in my mind.  I balanced them out with bronze spacers and a bronze toggle from Saki Silver, and used metallic gold Czech glass beads.  I incorporated a little bit of gold in the piece because Amulya's wife recalls a traveling goldsmith that would come to her door in her family home.  And who doesn't want a traveling goldsmith to drop by?

But wait... there's more!  Check out what these other participants of the Inspired by Reading Book Club made with "An Atlas of Impossible Longing" in mind:


"An Atlas of Impossible Longing" marked the last selection from our 2014/2015 titles!  Our July title, "Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell, is our first book in the new selections!  The newest selections were all nominated by different participants.  CLICK HERE for the full list.  The in-person meet up is scheduled for Wednesday, July 29th and the blog hop is scheduled for the next day.  If you're interested in keeping up with what we're doing, CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook page.