For more than 100 years this was the site of the village blacksmith shop. Descendants of that family not only live in Bishop Hill today, they are working artists within the cooperative that now occupies the space. For more than 35 years it was The Village Smithy Quilt Shop, built on the site of this earlier black smith’s shop. Recently it has been converted to an art gallery and concert venue. More than a dozen local artists produce art in a wide range of media and styles including quilts and felting, watercolor and oil painting, mixed media and book making. They offer classes for kids and workshops for adults. There is a concert almost every week with some of the world’s best touring musicians from Europe, Australia, South America, and the best of the USA. The Bishop Hill Creative Commons is an artists’ cooperative that creates every day art for every one. The building you see today was built in 1983, not 1893, and though it is a very modern Butler Steel building frame, it is clad in barn wood with a pine plank floor to fit into Bishop Hill’s historic ambience. Nelson Farm Service won a national award for the design and execution of this building and the photo was featured on the Butler Steel Building catalogue the next year.
Official Walking Tour Bishop Hill Illinois Guidebook to Buildings, 2010.
Wheat Flour Messiah, Eric Jansson of Bishop Hill by Paul Elmen Southern Illinois University Press 1997
History of Bishop Hill, A Story of Swedish Pioneers Collected and Compiled by Theo J. Anderson, self-published.