The nine artisan trails present the opportunity for you to visit the studios, workshops, galleries, and stores of artisans throughout the state, meeting them, watching them create their work, hearing their stories, and purchasing that work from a new acquaintance.
The trails are always changing, presenting new artisans and new venues, new experiences and new work. In July 2012, Group Tour magazine profiled some of the Trails’ highlights, and you can read that article here. In January 2013, the eighth trail became part of the Artisan Trail system, when the Rivers and Roads Artisan Trail was launched in West Central Indiana. In May, 2013, the two-county Rural Routes to Main Street Artisan Trail expanded the tourism-based effort to nine trails involving 44 counties. Here is a map that illustrates the trails and the Indiana Artisans in each county.
These descriptions present a glimpse of what each trail offers. Travel them for yourself. Shop for the perfect piece of local art. Stop to savor a fresh slice of homemade pie. Visit a potter’s studio and see a masterpiece created. Meet the artisans and share their stories. Your experience will be as valuable and unique as the art or food itself.
Travel to seven counties in northern Indiana that stretch from Lake Michigan to Amish country to taste regional cuisine, sample home-grown treats and see one-of-a-kind artistry on the Art and Earth Trail. Throughout Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph, Marshall, Elkhart, Kosciusko, and LaGrange counties, walk Native American trails, take a buggy ride or help farmers pick blueberries. Terry Armstrong’s watercolor paintings will delight you, grace your home with one of Jake Webster’s wood and stone sculptures or treat yourself to Lauri Isle’s handcrafted bar soaps and bath teas at the Shops at Winona. Each county features its own loop of the trail, so you can return to the region again and again for new adventures.
Three unique Indiana communities await you in south central Indiana. Columbus, Nashville and Bloomington, connected by State Road 46 comprise ArtsRoad 46. Columbus is a city known for its architecture, Nashville is home to a 100-year-old community of artisans and Bloomington boasts art and delicious food you won’t find anywhere else. Take home artisan-made folk-painted gourds, handmade jewelry, woven rugs, poplar bark syrup, flavored homemade marshmallows and more as you discover the twist in each city in Bartholomew, Brown and Monroe counties.
The arts and crafts heritage and traditions of the Ohio River Valley are easily seen in the work of artists on the By Hoosier Hands Trail in southern Indiana. Travel along the Ohio River Scenic Byway and meet craftspeople, fine artists and specialty food makers unique to Dearborn, Decatur, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, and Ripley counties. Handmade guitars, pottery, fiber art, wine, brandy, cinnamon candies, stoneware, photography and more authentic products made by Hoosier hands will captivate you as you travel the region. Paddle a canoe, climb through a cave or stay at a quaint bed and breakfast along the way. Click here to purchase a guide that explains all the trail offers, in detail.
In the hills and dales of southeastern Indiana, two counties offer an escape from reality and a doorway into your creative side. On the Creative Spaces Rural Places trail, artisans are hard at work – at home, in their studios, workshops, forges, and manufacturing facilities. In Ohio County, you’ll find Vera Curnow’s intricate colored pencil art in the Main Artery and handmade harps in Harps on Main. Tinsmith Sandra Wallin’s creative juices flow in Switzerland County, and in her shared studio with husband, and fellow Indiana Artisan, Jerry Wallin they make hand-forged ironwork and fashion delicate Windsor chairs. Don’t just be an observer, this trail offers many opportunities to learn that crafts that you will see.
If you love glass art, make your way along the Indiana Glass Trail, connecting communities, galleries, studios, museums and festivals that celebrate Indiana’s unique craft and tradition of glass blowing. Artisans like Robin Koza and third-generation glass artist Joe Rice make dazzling work to add to your collection. Workshops offered along the trail offer opportunities for hands-on experiences in glass-making skills in Allen, Bartholomew, Cass, Delaware, Hamilton, Harrison, Howard, Jay, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Wayne counties. The trail launched in 2010, and in 2013 the trail expanded to include glass-related programs, studios, activities, and education in more than 20 counties. The trail includes the Minnetrista Ball Brothers Glass Exhibit, Greentown Glass Museum, Kokomo Opalescent Glass Co. (the oldest glass factory in the U.S.), Artworks in Kokomo, the House of Glass and Prestige Crystal in Elwood, among many other working/production venues. If you’re into art glass, “like” this trail on Facebook to stay in the loop.
Discover the heart of Indiana on the Limestone Trail. As you journey through Lawrence and Monroe counties, witness the birthplace of Indiana’s limestone industry and see breathtaking buildings made from the famous stone used to clad the Empire State Building and to form many of the country’s most notable statues and monuments in Washington D.C. Indiana University, Bluespring Caverns and the Monroe County History Center offer varied looks at the importance and beauty of Indiana limestone. While on the trail, Butler Winery and Seeds n’Such are great places to stop and taste Indiana Artisan wines, caramels and baked persimmon goods. To take home pieces of the artisan experience, purchase some of Mia Beach’s exquisite photography, Amy Brier’s unique stone carvings, Don and Carolyn Madvig’s handmade greeting cards, and much more from dozens of Indiana Artisans who call this area home. Click here for trip ideas.
History, art and adventure blend perfectly in Hamilton and Tipton counties on the Nickel Plate Arts Trail. Follow the historic route of the Nickel Plate Railroad by rail, river or road as you explore central Indiana’s hidden treasures. You will find eclectic art galleries, custom jewelry designers, acrylic wildlife paintings, magnificent stained glass and delicious pies, surrounded by quaint and charming choices of lodging. Stop at Conner Prairie as you travel for a living history experience to complete the journey.
A line from Back Home Again in Indiana, “When I think about the moonlight on the Wabash, then I long for my Indiana home,” describes the feeling travelers will have for the Rivers and Roads Artisan Trail. Longing to travel along Indiana’s most storied waterway? This West Central Indiana trail includes the area along U.S. highways 40 and 41 and by-ways within Clay, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo counties. Launched in early 2013, and still being developed, Rivers and Roads will feature an interactive website, illustrating the region with a functional map allowing visitors to individualize their trip and print the map from their computer. Soon, trail brochures will be distributed at restaurants, hotels, visitor centers, and retail establishments in the region, including a map and descriptions of artisans to visit along the route. Of the 249 Indiana Artisans whose work has been identified as among the highest-quality in the state, six live and work within the trail’s six-county area: Mark Donham, Rosedale; Gretchen Kraut and Marilyn Oehler, Terre Haute; Ken Palmer, Perrysville; and Brooke Schmidt and Donna Thompson, Dana. From the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival to the Halcyon Contemporary Art Gallery to exhibits of work by university students, a strong local arts community flows throughout West Central Indiana and areas along the Wabash River.
Rural Routes to Main Street (RR2MS) links 24 unique places – wineries, orchards, artists’ studios, herb and fruit farms, farmer’s markets, beekeepers, organic gardens, galleries, and shops with fine art, woodwork, ceramics, pottery, sculpture, glasswork, jewelry, and metalwork made in Hendricks and Morgan counties. The website RuralRoutestoMainStreet.com includes a map and guide highlighting unique sites in Brownsburg, Clayton, Danville, Martinsville, Mooresville, North Salem, Pittsboro and Plainfield. Locales are numbered, and the map includes a suggested route throughout the area. It also highlights the trail in quadrants, offering visitors more in-depth experiences. Along the route, all RR2MS locations are identified with a blue “On the Trail” window sticker, making navigation easy. Of the 256 Indiana Artisans whose work has been identified as among the highest-quality in the state, four live and work in Morgan and Hendricks counties. All RR2MS sites are open year-round, Thursday through Saturday, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, and many are open additional hours. The trail employs a “Second Saturday” approach to include an additional nine unique locations. An electronic version of the printed guide is included on the website.