BY LEE ANN SANDWEISS
Hope Ellington had a dream of getting together with a group of her artist friends and selling their art together. Her dream was realized last December when Ellington’s Mercantile opened on her farm at 680 W. That Rd. Since then, the artists—a group Ellington calls “Girlfriends on the Farm”—convene most Saturdays and invite others to join them.
“The first gathering was a huge success. There were eight of us, but there have been as many as ten since,” says Ellington, adding that the core group includes artists Sue Blackwell, Susan Forney, Marci Hoff, Mary Ann Hope (Ellington’s aunt), Lisa Orme, Sara Pliske, and Pam Voorhies. “If someone is interested in joining us, they should contact me and show me a sample of their work. The only real requirement is that the work is handmade or repurposed. All of the things in Ellington’s Mercantile are handmade by local women artists, except for some candles we sell.”
Ellington’s Mercantile is filled with handcrafted creations. The walls are covered with Voorhies’ hand-painted wooden signs and Ellington’s hand-cut framed silhouettes, both with a yesteryear feel. Other merchandise includes embellished book bags, hand-painted glass egg ornaments, silver soldered charms, seasonal holiday décor, hand-stitched pillows, feed-sack shopping bags, and IU jewelry. Ellington says she recently became a licensed IU vendor and that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of IU jewelry goes toward scholarships.
Ellington’s Mercantile looks, smells, and feels like an old country store—the main structure was originally an 1850s blacksmith shop. Jeff Ellington, Hope’s husband, customized the building by adding walls made of Indiana hardwoods from trees felled by his business, J.R. Ellington Tree Experts. The well-worn wood floor was salvaged from the old Bloomington Tire building by Phoenix Demolition, Jeff’s other business.
“I think it’s really a treat to step into this time-honored historic property that has been artfully restored,” says Ellington, 47, a Bloomington native who majored in apparel merchandising at IU. “Plus, the price point of our handcrafted merchandise is very reasonable—from 25 cents to $185. Ellington’s Mercantile tries to have something special and affordable for everyone.”
For more information, contact Ellington at firstname.lastname@example.org.