Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Allegory Gallery Creative Camp!

This past weekend my husband Eric and I travelled to the picturesque town of Ligonier, Pennsylvania for a weekend of jewelry making classes, friends, and fun.  And, yes, Eric took the classes too... and he did awesome!  (More on that in just a minute.)  We added on a little time to the beginning of our trip to explore Pittsburgh and try many of its craft breweries.  (This may have been a bribery technique on my part... don't judge!).  Anyway, I thought I'd share a little bit about our adventures at Allegory Gallery's Creative Camp!  If you don't already know, Allegory Gallery is a wonderful gallery and bead store in Ligonier, PA that is owned by Andrew Thornton and William Jones.  Let me just tell you... those guys know how to put on a fun event and their shop has plenty of tempting goodies too!

I know that Eric will eventually cover all our beer and cider stops over on his blog, so I'll stick mostly to the jewelry-focused portion of our trip.  I will share one highlight of our stop in Pittsburgh... the National Aviary.  We were looking at possible destinations for Friday during the day and discovered that the Aviary was nearby and, as Minnesota Zoo Members, we were eligible for a discount.  Score!  We enjoyed a nice interlude exploring their fabulous exhibits.  I even got to feed the lorikeets (and Eric got pooped on while photographing them)!!  

We got into Ligonier a little bit later on Friday than we originally planned so we checked into our hotel and made a bee line over to the Vendor Night event that was at a nearby hotel.  I neglected to take any pictures that night, but I did pick up some fun new goodies including a bunch of new Humblebeads from Heather Powers.  Eric even found an adorable baby Groot made by LES Polinko to adopt!

After a yummy breakfast of crepes at our bed and breakfast, Eric and I were fortified and ready for our first class on Saturday morning.  We both took Cynthia Thornton's Alchemical Bronze Medallion class... as an added bonus Andrew was teaching with his sister!  In this class we learned how to create our own reverse molds from polymer clay then press bronze metal clay into the molds to make our own medallions.

Eric hard at work on his molds and Andrew moving our bronze clay pieces to the dehydrator.
Since I've never been super artistic as far as making something that looks like something else, carving the molds was a little intimidating for me.  On the other hand, Eric took to it like a duck to water and got some amazing results!  We both had fun with the process and went home with molds that we can use in the future with polymer clay, metal clay, etc.  Since the metal clay has to be fired in a kiln and then tumbled, we will have to wait a little while to get our finished pieces in the mail.  I'll make sure to share them when that happens!  For now, behold the molds we made!

Mine are on the left and Eric's on the right.

On Sunday we headed off for a day of cutting, filing, texturing, and coloring metal in Heather Powers' Luna Moth Metal Sketch class.  Heather taught us her super cool Metal Sketching technique to give fun textures to the moth shapes that we cut out of copper sheet.  (If you want to know more about the basic technique, check out her book Beautiful Elements.)  To add the green color to the metal we used Swellegant patinas.  This was my first time using true chemical patinas and I definitely would like to play with them more!  I think this class gave Eric a much better appreciation of the work I do... his hands were super tired from all the filing by the end of the day!  Maybe a new tumbler may be in my future to help with all those rough edges instead of needing so much filing.  A girl can dream!  

Some of my completed moths; Eric (the overachiever) made an awesome Death's Head Moth!
In addition to the classes, there were plenty of opportunities to socialize with the instructors and our fellow Creative Campers.  We made new friends and saw old ones... ate, drank, and were merry.  All in all it was a fun and productive weekend full of fun, learning, and some delightful surprises along the way.

I want to give a HUGE shout out to Andrew, William, and all the instructors!  It was a wonderful event!  If you ever get the chance to visit Ligonier and take classes through Allegory Gallery, you won't regret it!


  1. I agree! I learned a lot their last fall and Heather, William, and Andrew are so talented and fun! Lucky you!

  2. Looks like lots of fun and those moths are fantastic!

  3. It looks like you had a great trip and learned a lot. I think both yours and Eric's stamps are great. I look forward to seeing what you make and your metal clay pieces.