BY SOPHIE BIRD
Michael Evans, owner of Blue Heron woodworking supply and vintage home furnishings on West 17th Street, says that, so far, he hasn’t found anything he can’t make into something else using his woodworking skills. He has turned a piano into a desk, waffle irons into jewelry boxes, and an old icebox into a wine cooler. He even recalls the time he was commissioned to make a cover for a customer’s cat litter box.
Evans, 62, has been building custom furniture on commission for more than 35 years and combining found materials with lumber to make his functional multimedia artwork for nearly 20 years.
Evans says that before he and his wife, Shelia, opened Blue Heron in April, Bloomington lacked a place where people could purchase specialty woodworking supplies. The store stocks the basics, such as lumber and wood finishes, but also offers products a woodworker might aspire to have, such as German-made Festool carpentry tools. He also carries a selection of refurbished vintage woodworking equipment and hand tools, which includes several functional antique saw blades. “I’m especially proud of these,” he says.
Michael and Shelia say they believe Blue Heron brings a unique blend of services to the community. “I’ve always wanted to open a woodworking supply store,” he says. “Shelia has always liked vintage things. We thought we would sort of combine them together.”
Blue Heron’s mid-century furnishings department is primarily Shelia’s domain. She defines mid-century as the time between the 1950s and the 1970s and travels to locations throughout Indiana to find period pieces, typically end tables, vanities, lamps, and glassware.
Some of Michael’s own repurposed artwork is available for purchase. His materials are sourced from auctions, estate sales, and friends, yielding unusual furniture and decorative items. His creations cost between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars.
Blue Heron is located at 840 W. 17th St., Suite 10. For more information, visit blueheronbloomington.com.