by AARON BREWINGTON
On the city’s north side, in an area that has sprung to life with the development of the Bloomington Trades District, is where you’ll find Blue Heron. It’s a place where wood artisans come to buy supplies, take classes, and sell their work.
The shop has been open since 2015 but relocated two years ago to 611 W. 11th St., the former home of Bender Lumber Co. Since then, owner Michael Evans says the shop has enjoyed improved business from increased visibility. He also feels the new location allows artists to do more than just buy supplies.
Here, Evans is able to rent out space, host classes, and sell quality woodcrafts in the upstairs Blue Heron Gallery.
The gallery includes the work of eight to 10 woodworkers including Evans, Ron Carter, Max Monts (who teaches classes for the shop), and David Reuter. “The idea was to have a place where anyone has a chance to show their work,” Evans says. “I want to support woodworking. It helps me and my business, helps with putting on classes, and gives people a place to display their work.”
The only requirement for artists is that the work has to be properly constructed—they must be products built to last. The display features a wide variety of woodcrafts, including lamps, burl wood bowls, and sculptures harvested from locally sourced wood.
On the main shop floor, customers will find both local and exotic hardwood lumber, finishing supplies, hardware, a selection of woodworking books and magazines, and new and vintage tools. “I’ve always been into vintage tools and use them a lot for my work,” Evans says. “They are getting harder to find now, at least good ones. It used to be pretty easy. People didn’t see the value in them.”
Visit blueheronbloomington.com for more information.