Recently, my husband surprised me by saying, “If we don’t make a point of going out and seeing things, we’ll never get around to it.” He was right. So we got out the calendar, made some plans, and set off. I had really enjoyed the beauty of western Pennsylvania when I drove to Synergy last year so we headed that direction with the goal of seeing Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic masterpiece. (Did you know that it’s fairly small, built it 1936-37 and is actually a vacation home for the owners of a department store that eventually became Macy’s?) I highly recommend touring the site and if you love architecture, don’t miss the nearby sites of Polymath Park and Kentuck Knob. Anyway, while in the area, I also wanted to visit a bead store and art gallery, Allegory Gallery, that I’d been hearing about for quite a while.
I always love checking out the bead stores when I travel to a new area (and supporting awesome local ones)
Not only do I find unique treasures and unusual beads, I learn about the area by talking to the people in the shops. True to form, Andrew Thornton and William Jones, the guys behind the shop, were eager to tell me about their delightful community of Ligonier, Pennsylvania. If you’re ever in the area, don’t miss it!
Ceramic and Polymer Clay Beads at Allegory Gallery
Allegory Gallery is active in purchasing from the artisan bead community at therefore had some incredibly unique artisan beads made from ceramic and polymer clay.
Tribal and Trade Beads
When you’re a polymer clay artist who makes your own focal beads, what you often need to complete your creation are unique supporting beads that give a touch of exotic elegance. I was impressed with the array of tribal or ethnic beads imported from places like Nepal, Indonesia, and India. There were beads, charms, and more made from brass, glass, stone, and wood.
Classes, Supplies, and Support
Allegory Gallery also has regular beads, too. Plus supplies and stringing materials. Andrew said they often have classes and even have a Facebook group where you can join in challenges using selected bead mixtures. They often sponsor world-class teachers such as Christi Friesen to teach at Allegory Gallery.
Allegory Gallery Online
Allegory Gallery also has a good online presence. You can buy their beads online from their website and also from their Etsy shop. Follow along on their Facebook page. And don’t miss their active Facebook group Allegory Gallery Design Challenges. And brand new in their lineup of community and customer education is their podcast where they interview leading jewelry and bead artists. You can learn more about them here.