Feature Story: Homes That Reflect Our History (Photo Gallery)

BY NANCY R. HILLER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY KENDALL REEVES Bloomington’s built environment says a lot about the history of this place and the people who have made their lives here. When you look around our town and the surrounding rural areas, two things become clear. First, although this city is nearly two centuries old, the majority of buildings date from the most recent hundred years. Second, the buildings that have survived are those that have adapted to changing patterns of use. Each of the homes featured here was built in the 20th century. Together they create a portrait of Bloomington’s changing social and economic makeup during those years. While families have become smaller, individual family members have become used to more […]

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IU Furniture Designer in the National Spotlight

BY NANCY R. HILLER Furniture designer Vincent Edwards lives in a world where the usual constraints of form and function don’t run the show. In Edwards’ hands, a delicate wall cabinet constructed of wood and fabric calls to mind a glowing chrysalis, and the fluid lines of a glass-topped coffee table evoke marine forms: a ship, or perhaps a whale. Less than two years after his 2012 graduation with an M.F.A. in furniture design from IUPUI’s Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, Edwards, 33, is receiving national attention for his work. Students at Herron have opportunities to compete for real-world commissions through the school’s Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life. Edwards submitted a design for a […]

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Dry Stone Masonry: An Age-Old Craft Still Practiced

BY NANCY R. HILLER Bart Hammond was 20,000 feet in the air when the decidedly down-to-earth art of dry stone masonry first caught his attention. A U.S. Marine Corps officer in training during the mid-90s, Hammond was flying home to the Midwest from Quantico, Virginia, flipping through a magazine. A story about a Scottish dry stone wall building competition held him rapt for the remainder of the flight. Hammond’s interest in the craft is easy to understand. Incorporating age-old construction principles, the walls exude an earthy elegance. Built from local stone, they vary in design from one region to another. Since their structural integrity depends on friction and gravity, not mortar, they work with nature instead of against it, which […]

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Diane Buzzell: Choreographer

BY NANCY R. HILLER Bloomington is full of artists who support themselves with jobs in unrelated fields: Everyone knows musicians who cut hair or painters who wait tables. But it’s rare for an artist to make her living by working full time for the same organization that provides a vehicle for her art. Diane Buzzell is one of these fortunate people. Since 2012, Buzzell has worked as development director for Bloomington’s Cardinal Stage Company. “That’s my day job,” she notes. “But then there’s my night job. I just finished choreographing Les Misérables with Randy White, Cardinal’s artistic director. It was absolutely amazing to be a part of it.” Buzzell, 49, has spent her career in dance and is one of […]

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Bloomington’s Flower Lady

BY NANCY R. HILLER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES KELLAR It’s the classic back-to-the-land fantasy. Purchase some acreage. Build your own home. Support yourself with work that’s honest, good, and necessary: growing food, weaving cloth, making pottery. Most who set out on this path, whether in the “back-to-the-land” movement of the 1960s or in more recent decades, find it rockier than they imagined. Manual labor takes a toll on the body. Injuries, even minor ones, can spell economic disaster. Days spent in repetitive tasks are decidedly more monotonous than romantic. Financial security is nonexistent. Most end up abandoning their dream, or at least consigning the beloved activity to spare-time status in favor of work that’s less physically demanding, more secure, and held […]

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