City Guides · Resources

The Crafty Guide to Bloomington, Indiana

Hoosiers know that Indiana is more than just Indianapolis. A little city just to the south of the capital has quite a crafty reputation, and we asked fellow conner and all around crafty badass Talia Halliday to create this crafty city guide to Bloomington, IN.

Public service announcement: The next Midwest Craft Con is Feb, 16-18, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio, and tickets are on sale now!

I’ve been lucky enough to call Bloomington home now for (omigoodness) almost 20 years and, honestly, around every corner just about every day there’s a new public art piece being installed or a new art co-op being founded. It’s amazing to live in such a small town with a heart and public hand in the arts. Our little town is so supportive of everything we do, be it an art fair, a handmade store or a mural spanning a city block. It’s a pleasure to call this artsy city home. — Talia Halliday

gather, indie craft store, bloomington indiana

Crafty Stores

116 N Walnut St, Bloomington, IN 47404
Gather is located in the heart of downtown Bloomington and carries the handmade work of over 300 makers from the Midwest and beyond, focusing on modern and independent handmade designers. Gather also hosts bi-monthly craft nights and is home to a monthly changing gallery as part of Gallery Walk Bloomington.

The Venue
114 S. Grant St., Bloomington, IN 47408
The Venue is located in a quaint Victorian house just off Kirkwood Avenue, close to Indiana University, focusing on “the finest in artistic and functional, handcrafted works of art.” They also host weekly events spanning from art talks to music.

By Hand Gallery
101 W. Kirkwood Ave. Suite #109, Bloomington, IN 47404
A handmade art gallery co-operative featuring ceramics, textiles, paintings, drawings and woodworking, as well as an extensive jewelry selection.

Made at Artisan Alley
222 W. Second St., Bloomington, IN 47403
Made focuses on selling the artwork of emerging makers in the Bloomington area. Artisan Alley is also the home of businesses including venue rental, artist studios, art galleries, co-working space, music studios, a cidery and so much more.

Honorable mentions: Global Gifts, In a Yarn Basket, Pygmalion’s Art Supplies, Kleindorfer’s Hardware, Friends of Art Bookshop

Places for Makers

1609 S Rogers St., Building 4, Bloomington, IN
Bloomington’s very own hacker space! A space for sharing tools and knowledge to make stuff! Bloominglabs is Indiana’s first maker space.

Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center
122 S Walnut St., Bloomington, IN
The John Waldron Arts Center houses a unique blend of artists, performers and educators. They host many stage performances, four galleries and art classes for all ages.

I-Fell Building
415 W. Fourth St., Bloomington, IN
Located on the near-west side of downtown Bloomington, the Fell houses working artists’ studios, small businesses and a bakery.

FAR Center for Contemporary Arts
505 W. Fourth St., Bloomington, IN, 47403
Opening in 2018, FAR will be host to a gallery, library, venue rental space and so much more.

Honorable mentions: Artisan Alley and the Monroe County Public Library

Craft Shows

  • Bloomington Handmade Market: Organized by Gather, BHM will be celebrating 10 years in 2018. BHM has a holiday show the second Saturday in November featuring 80+ indie makers at the Monroe Convention Center. And in 2018, BHM will be rolling out its first outdoor summer fair on the first Saturday in June.
  • Fourth Street Art Fair: Created in 1977 and held over Labor Day Weekend, Fourth Street Art Fair is one of the premier fine art fairs in the Midwest, featuring artists and craftspeople from all over the country.
  • Honorable mentions: Art Market at the Fell Building and Weekends at Artisan Alley

Best Vintage

Cherry Canary
214 W. Fourth St., Bloomington, IN 47404
The best place to find in vintage clothing in downtown Bloomington. Nuff said.

Bloomington Antique Mall
311 W. Seventh St., Bloomington, IN 47404
Located in one of Indiana’s most vibrant downtown districts, the Historic Bloomington Antique Mall features quality antiques merchants, artists, and artisans, in 50 showcases and 120 booths.

Jeff’s Warehouse
424 S. College Ave., Bloomington, IN 47403
The place to go for mid-century modern furniture and fixtures — also home to a funky fun mix of industrial fixings and decorative arts.

Crafty Hangouts

Cup & Kettle
208 N. Walnut St. #100, Bloomington, IN 47404
This tea shop downtown makes their own loose-leaf teas and serves local coffee and pastries. Locally owned (of course) by two strong lady bosses and makers, the shop hosts monthly craft nights, knit nights, games nights and more!

235 W. Dodds and 212 N. Madison, Bloomington, IN
Best coffee shop in town owned by the best people. Hop has two convenient locations, the best modern style and the tastiest coffee.

Rainbow Bakery
201 S. Rogers St., Bloomington, IN
Also in the Fell Building and owned by the family behind Hop, Rainbow is a vegan bakery that has amazing pasties, donuts, muffins and cookies. The Twin Peaks references and the plant wall make this my favorite!

Talia Halliday is the owner of Conduit Press, an arts business specializing in hollow books and leather goods. She also organizes the Bloomington Handmade Market with the help of a few very opinionated minions and runs her own brick-and-mortar shop called Gather in downtown Bloomington, IN. 

News · Resources

Shop Handmade Stores Across the Midwest!

Whether you’re a crafter looking for new markets or a crafty fan looking for shops to visit on your next road trip, this list of indie craft stores of the Midwest is for you! Inspired by our Crafty City Guides, we created this directory of Midwestern handmade stores to help out our entrepreneurial friends. This list focuses on physical retail locations across the Midwest (and some adjacent states) where handmade products from local and national makers are in the spotlight. Check out the full list here!

handmade stores of the midwest, indie craft store list

News · Resources

2017 Fall + Holiday Craft Shows around the Midwest

Midwest Craft Con comes just once a year, but we are deeply rooted in the DIY craft show scene all year round. This list of 2017 Midwest craft shows and fairs is for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! If we missed any events, add them in the comments section.

And don’t forget to save the date for Midwest Craft Con, returning Feb. 16-18, 2018, featuring Kathy Cano Murillo, Gemma Correll and Kelley Deal! Tickets are on sale now!

us midwest, vintage map, craft shows

News · Resources

Spring + Summer 2017 Midwest Craft Shows

Midwest Craft Con comes just once a year, but we are deeply rooted in the DIY craft show scene. This list of Midwest craft shows (and shows within driving distance) is for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! We’ll also put together a list of fall and holiday craft shows in August. If we missed any events, add them in the comments section.

Vendor applications for our three affiliated craft shows are now open: Craftin’ Outlaws, Crafty Mart and Crafty Supermarket!


Crafting a Better Community: The Akron Craft + Social Club

The Akron Craft + Social Club came together because three local creatives wanted to drive some positive change in their neighborhood, while having some fun at the same time.


Their mission is simple: to give a fun and fulfilling creative experience to themselves, to create beautiful gifts to give to one another and to give a donation to a local or national charity.

In the short time since they formed in 2016, Karen Starr, Mary Oliver Bethel and Jennifer Davis have launched monthly DIY workshops that have raised money towards local and national charities while giving Akronites the opportunity to make something unique and handmade. Their inclusive spirit has taken all the stuffiness out of philanthropy and encouraged the community to get down and dirty to inspire do-gooding! You can follow their beautifully documented adventures on Instagram.

Karen will be representing the Akron Craft+ Social Club at Midwest Craft Con by participating in a panel Sunday about philanthropic crafting. Also participating are Tricia Brancolini-Foley of Handmade Arcade, and Esther Hall, who is also teaching a session on grants for artists.

The panel will take place on Sunday. You can buy a day pass or get your ticket for a full weekend of fun here!

City Guides

The Crafty Guide to Indianapolis

Amanda Mauer Taflinger is a pillar of the indie craft scene in Indiana: Not only did she start the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange in 2007, she also runs Homespun: Modern Handmade, a bricks-and-mortar store established in 2010! So when we wanted a tour of the Hoosier capital, we knew who to call. This is her crafty guide to Indianapolis!

There’s still time to get your ticket to Midwest Craft Con, a creative business conference in Columbus, Ohio, happening Feb. 10-12, 2017! Day passes are now available!

I grew up in this city and had to leave to appreciate it. I came back in 2007 after 10 years away and noticed a huge difference. I have seen amazing growth and development in the city since then, particularly in the arts community. It’s a small city, but it’s easy to make your mark here and to gather support if you have a great idea! — Amanda Mauer Taflinger & Amanda Dowdal


Homespun: Modern Handmade
869 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204
A boutique, classroom and gallery space all in one, and all focused on contemporary handmade goods and modern design. Named by Indianapolis Monthly magazine as “the best place for cheap (i.e. inexpensive) art” in and “the best selection of same-sex greeting cards.”

Crimson Tate: Modern Quilter
845 Massachusetts Ave., Suite A, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Offering quality fabrics, notions, patterns, and classes in Downtown Indianapolis.

Mass Ave Knits
862 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Mass Ave Knit Shop is one of Indianapolis’ premiere knitting stores, offering a large selection of yarns in all fibers, notions, accessories, supplies and classes.


Ruckus Makerspace
1125 E. Brookside Ave., Door G-10, Indianapolis, IN, 46202
Ruckus is a place where inventors, designers, artisans, photographers, craftspeople and engineers can share equipment, technology and ideas to help launch their next creation.

Cat Head Press
2834 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46201
Cat Head Press provides area artists and the neighboring community a place to work, collaborate and share ideas in a fully equipped facility space by offering traditional fine art printmaking workshops, gallery space for exhibitions opportunities, art sales, and monthly First Friday events.

Harrison Center for the Arts
1505 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
With studios always in high-demand, the Harrison Center for the Arts is a great place for working artists to connect and create! (It’s also where we host the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange!)


  • INDIEana Handicraft Exchange: The INDIEana Handicraft Exchange is a contemporary craft fair that consciously celebrates modern handmade goods, the relationship between creator and consumer, and local, alternative economies.
  • Alternative Gift Fair: What began as a traditional alternative gift fair has grown into a handmade, locally produced fair that encourages shoppers to be alternative and skip the big box stores for their gift buying purchases.
  • Talbot Street Art Fair: With over 270 artists from across the nation, this juried art fair in the historic Herron Morton Neighborhood continues to be ranked as one of the finest fairs in the country.


Midland Arts & Antiques
907 E. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Having been a destination for more than 16 years and voted “Best Antique Store” many years running, Midland has over 200 independent art and antique dealers from around the Midwest.

Society of Salvage
1021 E. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Society of Salvage rescues the utilitarian, the curious and the aesthetic from aging factories and commercial buildings for resale in our 9,000 square-foot warehouse in Downtown Indianapolis.

Broad Ripple Vintage
824 E. 64th St., Indianapolis, IN 46220
Since 1998, Broad Ripple Vintage has been offering many kinds of vintage pieces to the Indianapolis area.


534 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Milktooth has grown from a passionate commitment to great local ingredients and an inspiration to connect childhood food memories with unconventionally creative morning fare. With an ever expanding love and pride for Indianapolis they invite you to come enjoy a great cup of coffee, a cocktail, a pancake or perhaps some sweet tea fried chicken.

Foundry Provisions
236 E. 16th St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Located in the historic Herron-Morton Place neighborhood of downtown Indianapolis, Foundry Provisions serves up coffee, breakfast, and lunch offerings in the little red building on the corner.

General American Donut Co.
827 S. East St., Indianapolis, IN 46225
Made fresh daily, these donuts sell out early and the contemporary, minimal interior is heaven for any creative.

Amanda Mauer Taflinger is the owner of Homespun: Modern Handmade and the event founder and organizer of the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange. She loves to run around with her ginger husband, Neal, and two rowdy-ass kids, Zeke and Clementine. From store to school, store to soccer, and store to trying-to-find-adult-time, our lives are never dull!


Meet the Speakers: Lesley Ware & Nicole A. Taylor

nicole taylor and lesley wareMichigan native Lesley Ware is an author, entrepreneur and fashion educator. Lesley works with youth discover their personal style and talents through fun and creativity. She has written two books: Sew Fab: Sewing and Style for Young Fashionistas and the recently published My Fab Fashion Style File. Lesley’s passion for inspiring young people began when she earned her degree in elementary education, and continued when she orchestrated a national program for Girl Scouts of the USA. When she’s not working as a contributor to Martha Stewart Living or teaching, you’ll find Lesley with her husband, seeking out fun, artistic activities around Brooklyn.

Nicole A. Taylor is a multimedia storyteller and author of The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen (featured in The New York Times, Ebony Magazine, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and New Republic). She has contributed to SheKnows, Civil Eats, First We Feast, Cherry Bombe, Amtrak, Southern Foodways Alliance Gravy, Travel Noire and hosted the Hot Grease podcast on Heritage Radio Network. She founded The Modern Travelers’ Green Zine and is an editor for Crop Stories, a biannual zine that digs deep into relationships between farmer and table. She lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

At Midwest Craft Con 2017, Lesley and Nicole are teaching a session called Bound: Work Your Way to A Book Deal, and Lesley is also teaching Teaching Your Craft!

How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?

Lesley: Fashion loving, patient, creative, happiest when caffeinated

Nicole: Curious, precious, stylist, master home cook, food storyteller, donut addict

What is your earliest crafty memory?

Lesley: Shopping at JoAnn Fabrics with my mom in the ’80s.

Nicole: Baking a caking while home alone.

What is your favorite thing about the Midwest?

Lesley: After being in New York for 10 years, everything feels relaxed, affordable and semi-worry-free when I’m in the Midwest. I love it!

Nicole: I haven’t spent much time in the Midwest, but all the stories of makers are drawing me towards the region.

What would you be if you weren’t a creative?

Lesley: A librarian.

Nicole: A teacher.

What three things would you recommend to makers?



What are your personal resolutions for 2017?

Lesley: Get more passport stamps!

Nicole: More patience.

What are your 2017 resolutions for your business/professional life?

Lesley: Write a fiction/fantasy/fairytale book + more crafty stuff of course!

Nicole: To improve my long-form writing skills.


Meet a Speaker: Stephanie Capps Dyke

stephanie-dykeStephanie is a quilter, mixed media artist and writer living in Baltimore. Her story goes something like this: Five years in art school led to an unfulfilling corporate career and a very sad 10-year creative hiatus. When her inner child said, “Hey, knock that off!” she found meditation and a renewed interest in making stuff. Mindfulness and creativity have become an important part of Stephanie’s day-to-day, and she is always looking for ways to connect the two in fun and meaningful (but mostly fun) ways. She blogs at Creative + Mindful, and you can find more of her quirky brand of inspiration in her Secret Design Portfolio.

At Midwest Craft Con 2017, Stephanie is teaching sessions on Project Management Strategies and Goal Setting that Sticks.

How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?

I’m quirky, stubborn and super nerdy. But a great listener.

What is your earliest crafty memory?

My mom is a talented seamstress and life-long crafter. I pretty much grew up surrounded by “the making of stuff.” I think I was probably 6 or 7 when I was allowed to use the sewing machine under supervision. It was a great privilege… right up there with scoring my own library card.

What is your favorite thing about the Midwest?

People are so friendly! And the beer and food is great!

What would you be if you weren’t an artist/creative?

An archaeologist. I’m fascinated by history and ancient cultures.

What three things would you recommend to makers?

What are your personal resolutions for 2017?

I’m not a big resolution person, per se. But my ongoing personal goals include maintaining my meditation practice and further simplifying my home/workspace.

What are your 2017 resolutions for your business/professional life?

My 2017 goals are to ramp up my business by offering more online classes and releasing patterns I have in development. Social media consistency also remains a challenge for me. I’m planning on 2017 being the year I get a handle on that!


Meet a Speaker: The Wonder Jam

the wonder jamAdam and Allie Lehman operate The Wonder Jam. Focused on helping small — even tiny — businesses with their branding, photography and web design, The Wonder Jam has helped 200+ brands. They love hosting workshops, traveling and drinking both too much La Croix and too much coffee. The Lehmans met in 2005 on Allie’s very first day at college, and they were married in 2009. They moved to Columbus, didn’t know anybody and jumped in headfirst to building a strong network of creative, ambitious people who are still the backbone of their business today. In helping brands and businesses much larger and more sophisticated than The Wonder Jam, the Lehmans have constantly wrestled the impostor syndrome and have some helpful tips they’ve learned to help them win and continue to step into new opportunities.

At Midwest Craft Con 2017, the Wonder Jam is teaching a session called Getting Rid of Impostor Syndrome.

How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?

A married couple that helps brands look and be better.

What is your earliest crafty memory?

Adam remembers playing in his dad’s workshop on their farm; taking random pieces of wood and connecting them with nails, glue and whatever. It was some very “abstract” art for sure! 

Allie remembers gluing papers to the inside of her books just like the library so she could pretend to check them out.  

What is your favorite thing about the Midwest?

We love the combination of kindness, blue-collar work ethic and affordable living. The Midwest has supported our business so well!

What would you be if you weren’t an artist/creative?

Adam: High school teacher/athletic coach

Allie: Health coach

What three things (books, podcasts, philosophers, tools, whatever) would you recommend to makers?

  1. The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield
  2. The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
  3. Paying a coach to help you get better. We hire business coaches (Mike Albert, Chris McAlister & Matt Kimberley) and we hire experts to teach us particular skills (nutrition, photography lighting, cooking, etc). The best people continually invest in themselves!

What are your personal resolutions for 2017?

Adam’s going to roast more coffee, and Allie is going to read more books!

What are your 2017 resolutions for your business/professional life?

For our professional life, we’re aiming to increase the number of people who participate in our workshops and coaching programs.


Meet a speaker: Caroline Creaghead

creaghead_carolineCaroline Creaghead is a creative producer and director from Covington, KY. She’s also a preparer at Brass Taxes, providing tax help for artists, freelancers and other nice people. Once based in Brooklyn, NY, Creaghead began her career as a live comedy show producer. She worked with some of New York’s most celebrated stand-ups — like the cast of Bob’s Burgers — and lots of comics you’re maybe not as likely to have heard of, but should definitely check out. She’s developed a strong appreciation for how much an understanding of some business and finance basics can impact your ability to do creative work successfully and independently.

At Midwest Craft Con, Caroline is teaching a session called Taxes Don’t Have To Suck, and she means it.

How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?

Fiercely independent comedy snob waiting for invitation to cool club

What is your earliest crafty memory?

Paint-a-plate in preschool. My mom unearths the plate every Christmas. I drew my family as heads on long legs under a dangerously close and misshapen sun.

What is your favorite thing about the Midwest?

Abundant friendliness, duh.

What would you be if you weren’t an artist/creative?

A tax preparer! I’m doin’ it! Living the dream!

What three things would you recommend to makers?

  1. The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese
  2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  3. None Of Your Business (my podcast!)

What are your personal resolutions for 2017?

To create more and consume less. Might make myself try dating, but I doubt it.

What are your 2017 resolutions for your business/professional life?

I’m going to get more aggressive about saving, and be bolder about putting my self-produced work out into the marketplace.