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I'm just going to say it: I love art and craft markets. The opportunity to buy a one-of-a-kind object and meet the person who made it is absolutely irresistible to me. The work of craft artisans is my go-to holiday gift for family and friends - last year it was ceramic picture frames, the year before hand-blown glass ornaments. That's why my calendar has two big red circles around November 8 and 9, 2013. Those two dates mark a conflagration of craft markets in Bloomington - four in total; three on the east side and one downtown. Each uniquely special and when taken all together, a craft-lovers dream.
Let's start on Bloomington's east side. At the intersection of College Mall Road and E. 3rd Street, at St. Mark's Methodist Church, is the Holiday Pottery Show and Sale. Produced by Local Clay Potter's Guild, this popular show is in its 16th year and features the work of 24 regional potters. Work ranges from the distinctly decorative to the festively functional - and everything in between. The budget-minded can find hand-stamped brightly colored magnets, mugs and ornaments as well as statement pieces perfect for the mantelpiece or the holiday table. The show kicks off with an opening reception Friday, November 8 from 5 - 9 pm and continues Saturday, November 9 from 9 - 5 pm.
Located close by at 3420 E. 3rd Street is the Fiber Arts Show and Sale sponsored by the Bloomington Spinners and Weavers Guild. Here, you'll find some of the finest textile work available in the region, all in a cozy setting at First United Church. Not only are there wearables of all sorts, there are throws, wall hangings, greeting cards, ornaments, toys, rugs and even jewelry. You may even be lucky enough to catch an artist weaving, spinning, or knitting - demonstrations go on throughout the show. The opening reception is Friday from 5 - 9 pm, and the show continues on Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm.
The newest addition to the east side craft market scene is the Bloomington Glass Guild's Holiday Show, which takes place at University Baptist Church, 3740 East 3rd Street. This popular destination for glass-lovers is in its third year with a growing list of artists showing glass crafting in all its forms including hand-blown, fused, slumped, kiln-fired and mosaic in glittering pieces including jewelry, ornaments, functional and decorative tableware, hanging art pieces, vases and more. Shopping hours are Friday from 5 - 9 pm and Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm.
With some space still available in the trunk, let's head downtown to the Bloomington Handmade Market at the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center, 302 S. College Avenue. Now in its 5th year, the Bloomington Handmade Market is the destination to find contemporary, emerging artists and crafters showcasing their wares at an affordable price. With an emphasis on contemporary design aesthetic and sustainable materials and practice, the art and craft you'll find at the Bloomington Handmade Market has a decidedly urban and fresh feel. Jewelry, wearables, letterpress prints, toys, home décor are all there to tempt you, and a shopper's café and live local music help energize the browsing and shopping experience. The Bloomington Handmade Market runs Saturday, November 9th only from 10 am - 5 pm.
Back home unpacking my new hand-crafted treasures, I'm once again glad I made craft market-shopping a weekend priority. See you there!
This fun blog post comes to us courtesy of Miah Michaelsen, the Assistant Economic Development Director for the Arts for the City of Bloomington. Michaelsen's responsibilities include leading management of the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD), serving as a liaison with the City's Arts Commission, working with artists and community arts organizations to promote the arts as economic development, and coordinating public arts projects throughout Bloomington. In her spare time she is an committed arts "consumer" enjoying art and craft markets, galleries, public art, live performances and more. Sometimes she can even cajole her husband and two sons in coming with her!
Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 8:51 AM by: Tosha Daugherty