BY LEE ANN SANDWEISS
Talia Halliday is a rookie retailer who trusts her instincts. When opportunity knocked early, she didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I thought, ‘Why wait? Strike while the iron’s hot!’” exclaims Halliday, a leather artist and owner of Gather :handmade shoppe & Co: at 101 W. Kirkwood, Suite 112, in Fountain Square Mall. Her success with a pop-up shop in the mall during the 2013 holiday season convinced her that owning her own year-round store was feasible. “Sales from the pop up were so encouraging that I planned to open a store when my youngest son started school full time in 2015. But this perfect space was available in August, so here I am.”
Ninety artists and craftspersons, mostly from Indiana and throughout the Midwest, have works for sale in Gather, which opened Labor Day weekend. Another 20 crafters are poised to join them. “I did craft shows for almost five years, and during that time I met a lot of vendors, some of whom I’ve invited to send work. I want Gather to be about creating a community around art and the process of making art,” explains Halliday, 34, a Marion, Indiana, native who came to Bloomington in 1998 to attend Indiana University and stayed. “I have my studio in the back of the store so I can work while people browse. Halliday also offers workshops and classes so people can come to the shop and explore their creativity.
Gather is a cornucopia of handcrafted objects, including shaggy faux-fur monster pillows and handbags by Bearmojo, based in Crawfordsville, Indiana; Bloomington-made all-natural Sabun bar soap; Hoosier-made Indiana and IU merchandise; Halliday’s own book boxes and leather goods; and much more. The store also has a children’s section with handmade clothing and toys, and a table with “nonhuman companion” goods such as handmade dog and cat collars, artsy ceramic food and water bowls, cat- and dog-themed jewelry, and allergy-free gourmet treats. A gallery wall has rotating displays of fine art by local artists.