Society Celebrating the Middle Ages Creates Illuminated Medieval Text

BY JULIE GRAY They may live in Indiana, but Hoosier members of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) consider themselves denizens of the Middle Kingdom, a realm that includes Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and parts of Iowa, Kentucky, and Canada. The SCA, founded in Berkeley, California, in 1966, is an international organization of people who love the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Members gather regularly to do (mock) battle wearing suits of armor, followed by feasting, singing, and dancing. They give themselves medieval names, fabricate their own costumes using ancient methods of production, and practice ancient skills, such as jousting. John Cash, a Bloomington resident who works at Indiana University, has been an SCA member for 38 years, under the name […]

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A B-town Boy’s Dream Comes True: Now the Maker of Hot Air Balloons

BY JULIE GRAY Hot air balloon maker Andy Richardson, 30, grew up a mile south of Oliver Winery on the outskirts of Bloomington. “As a young boy, I would see the winery’s balloons flying over,” remembers Richardson, now the owner of Adams Balloons in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Richardson’s mother took him to the winery on weekends to see if he could help out on the chase crews that rig, inflate, follow, and deconstruct the balloons. Then the magic day came: “Bill Oliver [Oliver Winery CEO] took me for my first ride in July 1994,” Richardson recalls. “From that day, I decided I wanted to fly balloons.” Oliver continues to mentor Richardson, in ballooning and in business, and the two talk […]

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Martinsville Artist Creates Miniature Replica That ‘Genuinely Moves’ President Carter (Photo Gallery)

BY CARMEN SIERING For someone who says he learned about art on the “know as you go” plan, Thomas Norpell, 70, has some impressive credentials. He’s sold more than 200 works through commissions and more in art galleries. His mixed-media bas-relief French Café won the prize for Outstanding 3D Work at the 2016 Hoosier Salon. But the honor of a lifetime occurred this summer when Norpell presented a 1:8 scale miniature replica to former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, a replica the Carters were thrilled to receive. How did this Martinsville, Indiana, artist acquire the prestigious commission and end up in such esteemed company? A few years ago, Norpell created a barn miniature for Steve and Caron Morgan […]

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Charlotte Hess: Fascinated by Life’s Patterns (Photo Gallery)

BY MOLLY BRUSH Artist Charlotte Hess has had a lifelong fascination with patterns. One of her earliest memories is of lying in her crib as a baby and tracing the pattern of a quilt with her finger. That enduring interest is evident in Hess’ solo exhibit, Community, on display at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. The show features more than 30 framed oil pastel and chalk pastel paintings, as well as a number of unframed drawings. Hess’ works are all abstract pieces that explore patterns, textures, and round forms. Her most recent work focuses on the intersection of patterns in the human and natural worlds. She encourages viewers to approach abstract art with an open mind. “Open up […]

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Mild-Mannered Architect Doug Bruce Savors Alternate Life in the Fast Lane

BY MOLLY BRUSH Architect Doug Bruce’s passion for racing first took root when he was growing up near the Bloomington Speedway, where he watched sprint cars race around the dirt track. It grew during annual trips to the Indianapolis 500 with his grandfather. When he was in high school, his father bought a vintage Triumph Spit re, sparking in him a lifelong love of classic British sports cars. It was this combination of racing fandom and an affinity for classic cars that led Bruce, owner of Bloomington-based Tabor/ Bruce Architecture & Design, to vintage racing in 2007. By then the owner of a 1966 Austin-Healey 3000 and a 1968 Austin-Healey Sprite, Bruce attended his first vintage race that summer, watching […]

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