Artist Spotlight: Kate Cole – Contemporary Abstract Expressionism

Sight of Sound - 24" x 36" - Acrylic on Canvas - Kate Cole

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Who are you and what do you do @ Artisan Alley?

My name is Kate Cole and I’m a Contemporary Abstract artist.  I call my work, emotion on canvas. Currently, I’m a board member of Artisan Alley and volunteer coordinator for events.

How Did You Get Started with being a Contemporary Abstract Artist?

When I was 15, my mother took me to Target and said “Have at it”. I muraled my entire bedroom. I freestyle painted a geometric design all over my wall. The day that Ryan White died, I dedicated an entire wall. I have another wall dedicated to the Cure, to the Smiths (Louder than bomb’s voices). I have a burning desire inside of me to paint. When the world is crashing around me, I have an insatiable desire to paint.

Why Do You Love Being A Artist?

Art is my voice. My emotion is volcanic and it has to get out. If I can’t express an idea with words, it seems the only thing I can do to make myself feel right is to paint.

I love my job because I get to do what I love and celebrate art through a variety of channels.

How were you drawn to your art form(s)?

My first reality check with abstract work was when I was a freshman in high school. I gave an informative speech on painting using different brush strokes without using a brush. I demonstrated using sponges, foam brushes, bubble wrap, business cards, and anything else I could find laying around that wasn’t a paint brush. The only thing that I use a brush for is throwing paint! People really enjoyed my paintings as a whole and seeing the process that I go through. This speech lead to several other performances and I really enjoy sharing and performing art for other people.

What other artists inspire you or have motivated you to be a creator?

I didn’t read THE BOOK. Some people go to art school so you can learn how to break rules. I make my own canvases and I have been trained by other artists. I learn the best by being “hands-on” and have learned by doing. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of art collabs in my life and have had some very good training from other artists.

Why did you get involved with Artisan Alley?

I believe in what Adam and Artisan Alley stand for. I want to see artists thrive, get their name out there, and do well. When you are an artist you owe it to society to get your art out there. When I get involved in something I want to find the best group to be involved with and this organization is the best!

How can others get involved and help further the cause?

Show up! In life, it’s those that show up and contribute. Everyone is good at something, so contribute!

Contact Information

Visit my Facebook Page at and you can email me at

About the Artist Spotlight Series:
The Artist Spotlight Series is a series of articles that highlight the outstanding artisans that are resident members of Artisan Alley.

Artist Spotlight: Justin Cox – Tattoo Artist

Cox Art Studios - Custom Tattoo Artist in Bloomington, Indiana.

Who are you and what do you do @ Artisan Alley?

My name is Justin Cox and I’m a Tattoo Artist & Board President of Artisan Alley.

How Did You Get Started with being a Tattoo Artist?

I participated in a work study program through my high school in 2002 at Cain’s Grafik Dragon, a local tattoo shop in Ellettsville, Indiana. I received some valuable experience by doing the extra work that other artists did not want to perform. I stepped up to show my dedication and helped pick up cigarette butts using hemastats, mopped floors, polished chrome on my boss’s Harley, learned sterilization techniques, and a bunch of grunt work. Apprenticeships through tattooing is necessary to training and to learn patience and dedication. It’s a difficult apprenticeship and they really test you. I did all of the gross work including cleaning up puke and scrubbing toilets. After high school, I worked for various tattoo shops and then landed at Artisan Alley in early 2017.

Why Do You Love Being A Tattoo Artist?

I love the lasting and permanence of artwork on the human body. The artwork is seen and it’s not just hung up in a gallery. It may be seen my hundreds or thousands of people who may not even be seeking out artwork. For many forms of traditional artwork, you have to visit a museum, an actual gallery, etc… and not a lot of people take that opportunity. With tattoo art, you can go to a gas station, the mall, etc.. and see meaningful artwork just walking around. Tattooing has a huge history longer than most people realize and it’s one of the oldest forms of artwork. I love to be a part of this ancient tradition.

How were you drawn to your art form(s)?

It seems that art is dying in today’s world. I stencil, paint, sketch, make signs, pastels, etc… It’s not just tattooing and this other work transfers over to my tattooing. I always try to approach things in a creative way. One thing that separates artists from others is that we are problem solvers. Whether it’s building a shelf or drawing a picture we are going to find a way to make it work.

What other artists inspire you or have motivated you to be a creator?

Seeing my parent’s friends that were covered in tattoos and my grandfather’s old naval tattoos piqued my interest. Seeing my high school friends pay to get tattoos definitely influenced my decision to try this out. My entire family is a creative group of artists that provided me the support and told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be… and they were right!

Why did you get involved with Artisan Alley?

Affordable rent for a studio work space was a good first step. I knew when I met Adam and some of the other artists that I was going to join Artisan Alley. I viewed this as a great space for artists to plan the future of art and to reach out to the community to help save local art. My goal is continued growth for Artisan Alley and Cox Art Studios. I am looking to draw in more of a variety of artists. Sometimes people don’t view their work as “art” but I want to help Artisan Alley provide the space and opportunity for others to promote their craft.

How can others get involved and help further the cause?

Come and get tattooed, volunteer for Artisan Alley, or just come and visit and take a look at the place.

Contact Information

Cox Art Studios
Justin Cox
phone: 812-318-8643
fb: coxartbtown
instagram: justincoxtatt

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Artist Spotlight: Travis Puntarelli – Singing Telegrams

Travis Puntarelli - Singing Telegrams

Who are you and what do you do @ Artisan Alley?

Travis Puntarelli - Singing Telegrams
Travis Puntarelli – Singing Telegrams

My name is Travis Puntarelli and I do a variety of activities related to music including musical lessons, audio recording, and a singing telegram service. I like teaching young folks, old folks, and middle aged folks. I teach fiddle, guitar, composition, and song writing. I have a mobile studio setup that allows me to travel and do in house recordings.

I have been doing theatre and music in Bloomington for 15 years & also directed a puppet troupe.

Why singing telegrams?

My father had a singing telegram company called Mad Messenger in the 80’s & I’m excited to revive the tradition. I ♥ polling people from different vocations to collaborate on community art projects. Singing telegrams is a great platform for doing this.


  • An accordion player with a bottle of wine in an alley way @ 2am.
  • A string quartet under a bridge in the country.
  • A monkey who sings Italian arias.

Why did you get involved?

We saw the space and it looked interesting. We needed a space for some arts & crafts, recording, & Dungeons & Gragons (talk to me about this).

How can I get involved?

I am currently seeking people (especially string players) who want to learn, collaborate musically, & foster a creative culture in the Bloomington area. Email Travis at or visit his MADE studio at 222 W 2nd Street.

Artisan Alley moving to make way for Bloomington’s new Switchyard Park

Artisan Alley is moving to a new location

Artisan Alley announces that we will be moving, no later than December 31st 2017, from our South Rogers location making way for Bloomington’s new Switchyard Park.

In addition to the 1609 South Rogers address, we will lose our original location at 1607 South Rogers. Our location @ 222 W 2nd Street is still available and we have space available for anyone interested. Moving forward, we are looking for new locations for Burl & Ingot, our industrial warehouse, and the Flex space and are hoping to find a location that can house everything.

Our ideal location would have:

  • both commercial and industrial zoning
  • multiple spaces pre-divided or multiple buildings on a single lot
  • total square footage between 10,000 and 20,000 sqft
  • a lot size greater than 1 acre
  • Less than $6/sqft/yr

We will work to get everyone transferred over to spaces that are comparable in size and price. We look forward to serving you at our new locations & we thank everyone involved over the last 4 years for your support and we look forward to working with you in the upcoming months.

For questions about our upcoming move or if you have information on a new possible location please send an email to

Winter Arts Market- presented by Artisan Alley

2017 winter art market

This event is FREE and Open to the Bloomington Public as we celebrate the beginig of 2017 year plus Artisan Alley’s Grand Opening of our newest location of the B-Line and 2nd Street called MADE!! Feel free to come dressed up with your favorite sweater on Saturday January 21st from 10 PM to 4 PM as there will be prizes for ugliest/funniest/weirdest sweater!!!

Artisan Alley’s Fall Art Market and Open Studios is sure to be a great time!! This event could be our biggest to date! Come see live demos all day of different mediums including: glass working, blacksmithing, woodworking, painting, leather working, clay pendant making, jewelry making and MORE!

Our private studios will be open and over 25 local artists will have all kinds of goodies on display. There will also be food, drinks and live music!

Additionally, since we will be expecting winter weather we are making sure to have our Food Truck Vendors, bring delicious warm food and drinks, including sales for local beers sponsored by Upland. (Must bring valid ID’s).

If you are interested in offering your services as a visiting artists, food/drink vendor or a performer/music group, please follow the below link to find the application. We will be taking applications in until January 19th.

The application is at
Or follow us on Facebook at



Presented by Artisan Alley, Kate Cole’s ‘Gallery 4:44’ and C.S. Stanley

otisa-very-krampus-xmasCS Stanley

We invite you to join us at Dimensions Gallery in Bloomington Indiana just off Rogers, just south of ‘The Warehouse” at 1607 S. Rogers Street. We will be featuring the dark and mythical artworks by Steve Otis, Craig A. Roberts, Adam Nahas and CS Stanley with a special look into the Krampus culture on December 10th from 6 pm – 10 pm.

Free to the public with refreshments donated by Upland
Also, on December 17th visit our final gallery showing at Kate Cole’s Gallery 4:44 at 19 N Harrison St, Shelbyville, IN 46176. Music by Doug Dillman (blues) from 6pm-10pm. See you all there!
You better watch out,
you better not cry,
you better not pout
I’m telling you why.
Those Kampus are coming to B-town!


Metal Monday

Metal Mondays at Artisan Alley

Come on out to Metal Monday!! FREE to the public, we will be offering a live tool demonstration in our metal shop, “Ingot”.

We will let you aspiring silversmiths try your hand at working with precious metals! Arturo will guide you through some basic foundation techniques for jewelry making. There will be an opportunity to try out some of these tools. So,please consider wearing closed-toe shoes and clothing that can handle heat (natural fibers).

So come on out, have some fun, and possibly learn something new!

Artist Spotlight: Terran Marks at Brown County Forge

Artisan Alley: Who are you and what do you do at Artisan Alley?

Terran: My name is Terran Marks, and I’m a blacksmith; and basically what that means is, I hand forge metal at 1800 degrees and then bend it and shape it using a hammer and anvil. I’ve been doing this for over five-and-a-half years.

I started blacksmithing in 2011 doing a work-study program at the John C. Campbell Folk School in western North Carolina. In exchange for six weeks of maintenance/landscaping-type work, I got three free weeks of class, and I just devoted all three of those weeks to learning how to do it.

Artisan Alley: Why do you continue to practice Blacksmithing today?

Terran: I really like working with my hands, being able to create something out of raw materials. I like being able to have an idea, and then make it happen. I’m also drawn to how challenging it is to try to build a business based around the arts. I like that. I like that challenge.

Artisan Alley: What in your life inspires you to create and work in those different ways?

Terran: I’d say my main inspiration is trying to create something that people can use. Something that’s functional, and also a piece of art. If you had to get more specific about it, I get a lot of inspiration from American Colonial ironwork. So more rustic, traditional designs. That sort of thing. But the main focus, rather than being a decorative piece of ironwork, it’s more about function. So I ask, “Can you use it? Can it do a thing? Is it a tool?” before I start.

Artisan Alley: Give us some examples of utilitarian art pieces that you make?

Terran: The main things I make are wall hooks, to hang up your bathrobe, your jacket, your keys, etc. I also make a lot of bottle openers that I sell on Amazon and Etsy. To date, I’ve probably made somewhere around 1,000.

Artisan Alley: And you’ve authored a book, I hear, targeted specifically at manufacturing and vending these items and more?

Terran:  Yes. “Hooks 101″ and “How to Make $99 An Hour”, so yeah.

Artisan Alley: Where did you come up with this strategic business approach to the craft?

Terran: Just kind of doing research online. I’m a big reader and I’ve always been interested in doing that myself, being a writer. For ‘Hooks 101’ and the other books, I saw an opportunity by just looking at what was available about blacksmithing online and I said, “I can probably fill that niche better”. The Hooks book, especially. It’s one of those things, when I was learning how to do it, I had multiple blacksmiths tell me that I needed something that was easy to make. Something that could be my bread and butter. This is what’s gonna sell on a regular basis. You’re not gonna be selling tons of iron gates right off the bat, but people will probably buy wall hooks just because they’re useful. Taking that idea, I wanted to reach people who were getting started in blacksmithing, or even thinking about it, and give them a boost. “Here’s something you can do right away. It’s fairly simple to make, and you’ll probably be able to sell it.”

Artisan Alley: Sounds like a point of accessibility into the craft.

Terran: Yeah, definitely.


Artisan Alley: Exposure. Like every third friend we have is a painter, or a musician. (he laughs) But I know very few people who can say, “I’ve got this forge, you know, and I sell a bunch of wall hooks.” Do you find people are intimidated by that, or interested to jump in and see how accessible it is to make all these things that everyone can find use for?

Terran: I think it’s a mix. There are probably some people that just aren’t used to seeing that or being around that, and it’s kind of intense. It’s really hot work. You’re dealing with heavy things and manipulating metal. So, I think there’s some intimidation there maybe. But my hope is that from writing these books and from offering classes, I can reduce that intimidation factor. Bring ’em in, and have them experience the art form and get a handle on it for themselves.

Artisan Alley: How were you first drawn to this? Did you attend the Campbell school specifically for learning blacksmithing?

Terran:  It kind of just popped up. I used to fight fires for the U.S. Forest Service, and I had these seven-month stretches where I didn’t have any work. You fight fires in the summer, generally for five or six months, and I was looking for something to do in my off season. My cousin lives not very far from the John C. Campbell Folk School, and she said to come take a class sometime. I said okay, took a look at the work-study program they offer, and went for it. The Folk School offers classes in all sorts of folk arts. You can do woodworking, chair caning, painting. I had some experience in woodwork and painting, so I didn’t want to do that. Blacksmithing sounded interesting, so I went for it.

Artisan Alley: And ended up sticking with it even after?

Terran: Yeah, so when I was a little kid, I started off drawing and painting, but I never really felt I could see the business side of it. I didn’t see it as a way to make a living for me. I still do that stuff, but being able to make something that people can use makes way more sense in my brain. I can make a thing, you can buy it. But you can use it! It’s different than painting something and hanging it on a wall. And paintings are so subjective, too. Whatever it’s of, it’s gonna be a little harder finding that one person who’s gonna really enjoy that particular piece of art. But if you make something like these bottle openers and wall hooks, it’s kind of one-size fits all.

Artisan Alley:  Even though it may seem so niche. For the majority of our history, despite the technical skill level needed, blacksmithing was so ubiquitous! Everyone in every town who needed something wrought from metal, every town needed one, right?

Terran: Every town did had one!


Artisan Alley:  What feelings are you experiencing when you’re working and creating?

Terran: There’s definitely some excitement. The opportunity to create- making something out of these raw materials, using fire, these basic elements- that’s pretty exciting. And it’s also gratifying. Knowing how to manipulate the materials. There’s a lot of satisfaction that you get out of that. You’re using your muscles, your body, to create this thing… Yeah. If I’ve been in the shop for a while, there’s definitely tiredness. Exhaustion can set in. It’s definitely part of it.

Artisan Alley: On average, how long do you spend in the shop?

Terran: With the forge going, usually not more than three to four hours at a time. That’s usually enough. So when I make hooks or bottle openers, I can make about 25 bottle openers in an hour, but I don’t like to really go over 50 in a day. My arm can’t really do that day-in and day-out. Two hours tops if I’m really crankin’ it, but usually three or four.  The rest is just finish work: drilling holes, fitting them with key rings, dipping them in oil to do the finish.

Artisan Alley: When do you find your self in a place to do your best work?

Terran: Generally, in the evenings I have the most energy. I’m not much of a morning person, so I’m not right out of the gate at 7A.M. coming into the forge. Mostly late afternoon into the evening I can crank stuff out. Turn on some music, and just go for it.

Artisan Alley: You’re fully employed through your craft and this business. Do you work every day?

Terran: Yes, I do something for the business every day. Not necessarily in the shop creating something because a lot of it comes down to marketing and sales. I’m actually talking to some folks about working with me to take care of the sales and marketing aspect of the business so I can focus more on making stuff, but yeah every day I’m doing something.

Artisan Alley: Tell us how you came to be a part of Artisan Alley and working at this location

Terran: I finished up my last season of fighting fire in 2015 and I was coming back to the Brown County/Bloomington area since this is where I’m from. I had decided a year before that that I was going to set up a business, and that it was going to be blacksmithing. I was committed to it. But I needed space, obviously. I didn’t want to be out in the cold weather, because I came back in November. So I typed in Google search,“Light industrial artist space.” The top result was Cyclops Studios, which was the rental side of Artisan Alley at the time. I contacted Adam Nahas to see what space he had available.  He said he was actually about to start up a whole wood and metal side-by-side warehouse space and once I got back to town, we should sit down and talk about it. The rest is history.

Artisan Alley: So you were a founding artist of the Burl & Ingot space when it was created?

Terran: I was the first shop to get set up on the Ingot side. That was in November of 2015, so I’ve been doing it full time for almost a year.

Artisan Alley: What’s the biggest change or progress you’ve seen in that time?

Terran: It’s grown by leaps and bounds. We have so much interest just in the past few months with people who want to rent out space. There’s also a lot of interest in seeing what’s going on since we have so many different types of artists and things happening. The whole organization has gotten bigger. More people have gotten involved. I feel like we’re on the way to becoming a great arts resource for Bloomington.

Artisan Alley: What’s the next step?

Terran: Continuing to offer more of our free classes. Also letting people know that our community tool share is available. You can come in, rent out tools to accomplish a job so you don’t have to invest a lot of money into buying your own set. Continuing to welcome the community in.

Artisan Alley: Does the collaboration and range of arts have different results for your business than a more traditional business location and model?

Terran: I think it draws in more and different types of people. Say somebody comes over there to check out what’s going on with woodworking, and they realize that there are three working blacksmiths over here. They might have thought about blacksmithing and never really gotten deep into it. Since they were brought in by another artist it gets me more exposure to a different segment of people.

Artisan Alley: What Artisan Alley events and locations are you involved in aside from your work for Brown County Forge?

Terran: My shop is set up in the South building of our South Rogers St. location. I’m there most days. As far as events go, I’m at almost every one of our Arts Markets. That’s about four times a year that we do that. I do demos that people can come in and check out. I make hooks, bottle openers, and other small projects throughout the day demonstrating the craft. I help out with marketing and publicity around town as well.

Artisan Alley: Do you do a weekly workshop?

Terran: I generally attend Metal Mondays with Cody Craig of Silverpaw Workshop. I’m not always an instructor but I am usually there participating and being supportive of what he does, if he needs a second hand. There are some techniques he shows that need another set of hands. Tonight’s actually a Metal Monday, and I’ll be there.

Artisan Alley: Know what you’ll be doing?

Terran: You know, I’m not sure what Cody has in store for us.

Artisan Alley: Any closing thoughts on AA?

Terran: It’s a great place to work. Great place to be. It’s pretty amazing to be around this concentration of talented people.

If you are interested in more about Brown County Forge or what Terran Marks is up to feel free to check out his web and social media links below.
FB: @browncountyforge
IG: @terranmarks

PAGES by Suzanne Dittenber

PAGES by Suzanne Dittenber
– Opening Reception at Dimensions Gallery

Pages Come join Artisan Alley in our Dimensions Gallery for a solo Show from visiting artists Suzanne Dittenber during the latter part of September thru Mid-October. Her paintings of pages inquire into the proliferation of information alongside our continued valuation of the printed page. Through this body of work, she sorts out a certain dubiousness regarding dissemination of imagery and also expressing sympathy toward physicality and materiality, a determined valuing of the concrete and tactile.
Dimensions Gallery will be open for viewing from 6 to 8 PM on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, or by appointment. An opening reception will be held on Saturday September 17th from 6 to 9 PM. Located at Artisan Alley, 1607 S Rogers St. Email to make an appointment.


Suzanne Dittenber is a visual artist from Indianapolis, Indiana. Suzanne received her BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and her MFA from the University of New Hampshire. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center, the Alfred and Trafford Klots Residency in Brittany, France, and the Heliker LaHotan Foundation Residency on Cranberry Island, Maine. She currently is an Assistant Professor of Art at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S., notably at the Evansville Museum of Art, Prince Street Gallery in New York City, and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


I begin my painting process observing tangible objects – printed pages containing images. In the sleek, pristine form of a newly released magazine, images are preeminent. But as pages are turned and manipulated, they take on the added complexity of marks, creases, wrinkles, folds, waves. Consequently, imagery becomes servile, accommodating these alterations to the physical form of the page. Two dimensional illusions become relief sculptures.