Monday, December 31, 2012

The Wren's Gift...

Last night when we returned from working at the Shop, we discovered a wee Carolina Wren fluttering around the house.  It came as a surprise, as neither of us recalled a bird flying in.  None of the windows or doors were open and we don't have a chimney for it to have flown down.

Wide-eyed, the cats starred at the feathered creature with rapt attention.  Being indoor felines, they had never been so close to a bird before without a pane of glass being between the two.  Babette's natural hunter instinct flared and she almost had a second dinner.  Luckily we were able to escort the bird out a window without too much trouble.  Before it plunged out into the blustery weather, it hesitated... looked back... and then flew.

As I prepared for bed, I discovered a feather on my pillow.  It was small and in the dimmed lights, it would have been easy to miss.  I gingerly picked it up and set it on the shelf for further investigation in the morning.

I'm sure that if we examined every duct and triangulated our entry times and checked all the possibilities over and over again, we might be able to figure out a real world way that the bird got in.  We could prescribe a method of how it managed to be inside the house flying between the high cabinet tops and ceiling fan blades, but then it would be less miraculous.  Why strip that magic from the everyday?  The world is already so factual and jaded as it is.  This little winged thing was a symbol of good tidings and of wondrous things to come.

The wren's gift serves as a reminder.  Sometimes small things matter.  Sometimes we escape the clutches of peril and doom and get a chance to fly again.

Happy New Year, my friends!  Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts over the years and carving out a little niche in the great expanses of the world wide web.  May the new year ahead give you wings to soar!

Double Happiness...

We at Allegory Gallery are so fortunate to be able to share Jessica Wiesel's latest show, "Double Happiness".  The exhibit is comprised of small-scale fabric pieces created with embroidery and applique techniques.  Jessica infuses them with a sense of whimsy and magic.

If you're around, please show your support for the arts in Ligonier and come out to the opening reception!  The opening reception is Friday, January 4th from 5PM to 8PM!  The artist will be in attendance!  She's coming all the way from Asheville, North Carolina... so let's pack the house and give her a warm welcome!

As an added bonus, Amy Yanity (author of "The Weather Inside Her") will be doing a special reading from her forthcoming book, "Tom None".  Flush with rich detail and laced with natural observations, this fantastical search for identity marries the hero's quest with a powerful coming of age story.  Amy will kickoff the reading around 7PM.

Don't let the snow scare you off!  We'll keep it nice and warm in the gallery and offer an assortment of snacks and beverages.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Amy Yanity at Allegory Gallery...

As a special treat, Amy Yanity, the poet of "The Weather Inside Her" and author of the blog, "The Maple Line", will be doing a reading of passages from her forthcoming novel tentatively titled, "Tom None".  This local wordsmith and teacher will be conducting her reading in conjunction with Jessica Wiesel's art opening, "Double Happiness" on Friday, January 4th at Allegory Gallery.  The opening reception is from 5PM to 8PM and Amy will be doing her reading around 7PM.  This is sure to be a magical evening!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


We just got in from Florida!  I apologize for my absence here while I was away, but my connection to the internet was not the greatest and there was a little niece and nephew who needed to be played with! Our flight home was delayed two days because of the blizzard here in Pennsylvania.  Luckily we had a place to stay in Florida and we were able to cram in a few more family activities before heading back to the frozen North.  I'll update more with what we got up to in the Sunshine State in the coming days.

The Reveals of both the holiday gift exchanges will have to be delayed a few more days.  (As will be the replacement gifts I have to send out still yet.  Sorry!)  I'm itching to open the packages, but it was pretty dark when we rolled in and I want to take nice pictures as I open things up.  So, to be completely fair... how about I schedule the Reveal date on my end for January 1st?  Start things off right and wipe the karmic slate clean for the New Year.

Speaking of the New Year, if you're around the area and want something to do for New Year's Eve, we have our annual get together.  It's informal and fun.  Just email me ( and I'll give you the run down and send you directions to the house.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Okay... so I know I'm supposed to be all happy and excited to leave on vacation, but I feel like my head is in a vice.  I just opened up the kiln and saw that a few of the holiday gifts I was making (not to ruin the surprise, but these cute little porcelain bowls) had exploded.  I tried to do a technique of applying the glaze directly to the greenware to skip a step (apparently this can be done with the right glaze) but something went wrong and the glaze acted as cement glue for razor sharp pieces of broken porcelain.  Maybe I didn't let them dry long enough or there were air-bubbles or.... I don't know.  Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket.  Ugh.  Ugh.  Ugh.

Anyway, so the things I were going to send out have been delayed another week from when I get back.  I feel crappy about it, but at this point there's nothing I can do.  So sorry Lorelei and everyone in the gift exchange!  I will make it up to you though!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


When I signed up for Lorelei's gift exchange and created my own exchange, it was before we had plans to have a big family Christmas down in Florida.  I thought that we would have a nice, quiet holiday at home and that business would go about as usual.  But with the recent development, I realized that I wouldn't be home until LATE the day after Christmas.  So, I will most likely do all my reveals on the morning of December 27th.  I'm sorry if this threw a wrench in anyone's plans.  Just think of it as the day after the day after Christmas reveal!  Everyone I've partnered with should either have their exchange gift or be getting it shortly!  Hope everyone has a very happy holiday season and that it's full of happiness and promise.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Frost Pattern...

It has been a relatively mild winter so far, but there have been a couple of mornings when everything is covered over in a patchwork of crystalline frost.  I'm no lover of the cold, but I appreciate the networks of wintry iciness.  I like the seemingly random geometric patterns and the idea that they grow one frozen water molecule at a time.
When I opened the latest Lucky Mag, I saw these very Nordic Whistler Print Bandeau headbands by L. Erickson.  Being that my head is shaved, this isn't a very practical fashion accessory for me, but I still liked them.  The pattern on it reminded me of the frost I had seen earlier in the day and I knew that I wanted to make something with this wintry motif.

Since we've opened the store, I've been familiarizing myself with seed beads and various stitches.  I'm new to this form of jewelry-making and am slowly adding to my knowledge of the craft.  When I thought about the frost growing, one molecule at a time, it made me think of peyote stitch.  The pattern develops slowly and one bead at a time.

I didn't have a pattern to follow for this graphic snowflake design, so I winged it and graphed it out myself.  I have never done anything like this before, so it took a couple of tries to figure it out.  I thought it might be as simple as drawing a bunch of circles on a piece of scratch paper and figuring out the pattern that way, but I quickly learned that it was hard to spatially plan without a more consistent grid.  I didn't have any peyote stitch graph paper, so I found a piece of regular graph paper and meticulously drew out the staggered pattern of the stitch.  It was a learning process, but I think I created something similar and captures the vibe of the original print without copying it exactly.  It was a really helpful exercise to wrap my brain around the stitch conceptually.  It's unfinished, but I'm quite pleased with it so far.

Sneak Peak...

Here's a sneak peak of the next art exhibition at Allegory Gallery!  We'll be featuring the work of Jessica Wiesel in her show, "Double Happiness".  Jessica is a talented artist who hails from Ohio and has a degree from the Columbus College of Art and Design.  Her work was most recently seen in a show titled, "Wondrous Creatures" at Hotel Biron in San Francisco.  If you're in the area, mark your calendars now and make a point of coming out to see the whimsical and fantastical show!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2nd Annual Ornament Swap Blog Hop hosted by Sally Russick...

The lovely Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime hosted the Annual Ornament Swap Blog Hop again and I was lucky enough to be able to participate this year.  The rules were simple enough... create an ornament that includes at least one art bead and exchange it with a partner.  Sally paired me up with Therese Frank of Therese's Treasures!

Before I reveal what Therese sent, I'll show you what I made for the exchange.  I stayed up late in the nights working on this bad boy.  In working on it, I was reminded of a Paul Klee quote.  He said, "Drawing is like taking a line for a walk."  I sort of felt like I was taking the beads for a walk.  I didn't know how it would turn out or even how to do some of the techniques I attempted... but things just fell into place.

The focal is a ceramic snowflake pendant by Gaea.  I wrapped filigree around it and then embellished it with peyote stitch and Swarovski crystals.  From the core of the ornament, I hung a crystal coral branch, a bronze coin (that I made), a polymer clay bead from Heather Powers of HumbleBeads, and an AB crystal drop.  I attached the ornament to the beaded loop to hang it from the tree with a bead that I enameled.
Here's a close-up detail of the focal of the ornament.

I wanted to show the back of the piece as well to reveal some of the construction of the piece.

And here's what Therese sent!  She did a wonderful job at creating such a beautiful piece.  In her note with the ornament, she said that she used a modified pattern from named Tricia's Pendant.  It features a glass ab made by Susan Kennedy of SueBeads.  On the other side, there's a rivoli.  Both sides are just lovely!  There's also a lampwork glass bead from Sue between the core of the ornament and the wire hanger.  Check it out:

Didn't she do a nice job?  I love the combination of cool silvers, watery blues and the pearly whites.
Here's the other side!  Pretty all around!

Here's a list of all the participants:


Friday, December 14, 2012


Here's a quick glimpse at two of the projects I've been working on lately.  I've been working on a bunch of other things too!  (Some of them are projects that I can't show right now... but soon!)

A bowl of black cherries?  No!  They're new polymer clay beads that I made.  Notice how they have a nice satin sheen and that's not from a coating, but from hand-polishing and buffing them.  (Yep, I'm pretty sure I've worn off a fingerprint or two.)
One of the other things that I've been doing a lot lately is enameling iron components and building an inventory of candy-colored pieces to work with and sell in the shop.  I try to jump on the torch at least an hour a day... but often find myself working until I run out of gas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Other Side of Morning...

The days (and nights) have been long lately.  I often find myself working through the night until the windows start to lighten with the pink glow of dawn.  It's that time of year.  The holidays are just around the corner.  Being in retail, we're scrambling to collect as many proverbial acorns before the cold season sets in.

We'll be going to Florida for Christmas and taking a week off to meet up with my siblings and parents.  We really shouldn't leave.  It's the last big hurrah before things start tapering off for the winter.   In theory we should stay to sell as many holiday gifts as possible, but this will be the first time that the whole family will have been together for Christmas in 25 years.  It's hard to believe that it has been that long.  It's also the first time that all of the siblings' Significant Others will be under the same roof at the same time and William will finally meet my parents.

I'm looking forward to the trip, but at the same time I get knots in my stomach when I think about it.  Not only is there a lot to do before we leave, but there's another person lurking under my parents' roof that William will meet that I'm not thrilled about.  In fact, I dread it.  That person is... "me".  Not the "me" he knows today, but the "me" of adolescent angst and rebellion.  My parents, particularly my father, have a magical power to transform me into that petulant, bratty, awkward, emotionally unstable teenager all over again.  I can feel my face breaking out already and my voice cracking.

But... maybe things will be different.  Maybe that me of yesteryear will stay hidden in the past.  Maybe now that my brother is back and old wounds are finally healing, things will change.  We were all grieving for so long in our own ways, that maybe this trip will signify a new chapter – a new dawn – in our lives.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Fanciful Interludes...

Will you be in the area tomorrow evening?  If so, you should stop by!  Shirleah Kelly will be debuting a new show at Allegory Gallery!  The show is called, "Fanciful Interludes" and will include ballet-themed photographs.  The show is simply lovely.  Shirleah does a masterful job at capturing both the strength and vulnerability of the human architecture.

The opening reception starts at 5PM and ends at 8PM.  We'll be serving local wines from Royal Welsh Winery AND there will be a book signing at Second Chapter Books.  Lonnie C. Rittenour will be signing copies of "Poems Of The Hunter".

It should be a wonderful evening in Ligonier and if you're around... you should come by!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Metal Clay Component Destash...

It's my nature to hold on to things.  I remember a friend coming over to the studio and looking (with horror in their eyes) at the piles of papers I have accumulated.  They asked, "What are all those for?"  I replied back that one day I intend to collage again and these were supplies for that fateful day.

Needless to say:  I have a lot of stuff.

Fast forward to a few days ago.  One of the girls that helps out at the store was putting something away when there was a minor avalanche.  Beads and pendants started pouring down from the shelves.  And that's when I realized that I needed to make room.  If not actual room... mental room.  The solution comes by way of a destash.  I'll be parting with "wholesale lots" of metal clay components that I used to carry in my personal shop.

We're working on some new designs for Allegory Gallery and I want to get rid of the stuff that we've been holding on to for awhile.  Really, it won't do anyone any good, if I just sit on the pieces for years and years.  I made these pieces to be used and transformed into jewelry.  This goal won't happen if I hoard everything I ever make.  Some of the pieces included in the lots will return in new incarnations on the Allegory Gallery site and some of them will be retired and never made again.  I might even have a mold-breaking party.

So, take a look and see if there's anything you might like.  They're priced at least half off of the original prices.  CLICK HERE to visit the shop and take advantage of the major Destash in progress.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Poems of the Hunter...

Things have been buzzing along at Allegory Gallery.  On Friday (December 7th from 5PM to 8PM), local photographer, Shirleah Kelly, will be debuting her latest show!  The show is titled, "Fanciful Interludes" and will showcase her stunning, ballet-themed photos.

But that's not all... as an added bonus, her friend and writer, Lonnie C. Rittenour, will be signing copies of his book, "Poems Of The Hunter" at Second Chapter Books.  Come by and enjoy the fun!  Same time.  Same place.  Two stores.  Two events.  One location.