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
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.
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.
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.