If I were to go anywhere in the world as a pilgrimage, my choice would be the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. I can't think of another place that would be a Mecca of all my interests in culture, people and the wonderful things they make. Sure, there are many other folk art festivals that would be interesting, but this has to top them all! Every year I hope I can go and so far I haven't been able to afford the trip. You see, it's not only going there and experiencing the environment that would thrill me, but I also would want to buy, buy, buy!!!! Someday it will happen!
Meanwhile, you go. Go be my eyes and ears and report back about how much fun it was! Tell us all about the wonderful people you met and what treasures you bought. The Market will be loaded with all of the ingredients to make anyone clap with joy, dance with delight and participate to their heart's content. There will 140 artists present representing 41 countries! You can travel the world just by walking around! Workshops, ethnic foods, live music and cultural presentations combine to make this a world event in one of the most interesting cities of the world.
Here is a video from last year's market:
My biggest joy would be to interact with the artists and see them at work. The International Folk Art Market's website has a full listing of those who are scheduled to come with a bio of their work. I picked a sampling just to give you an idea of the wonderful diversity of both regions represented and the work they produce, although I have to admit that even though I love all craft forms, I do tend to gravitate towards the textiles. The photos and text belong to the Santa Fe International Folk Art's site and I am quoting a partial bio just to entice you over to their site. Click on the Artist's name to see their full page.
Artisan Committee of Centro Poblano de Chijnaya
EmbroideryThe Andean village of Chijnaya was born after a flood in 1963 devastated villages near Lake Titicaca. As part of the resettlement project, and through the influence of Peace Corps volunteers, the concept of having the children embroider scenes of daily life took hold. What emerged were “bordados” employing hand-dyed alpaca yarn embroideries soon captured world attention and on a ground of “bayeta” or hand-woven simple weave woolen cloth.
Sulafa Embroidery Shop/project of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency runs a self-supporting embroidery program which employs over 500 refugee women in the Gaza Strip to produce articles to sell at the Sulafa Embroidery Shop, helping preserve valuable traditions and increasing family incomes.
Silver and Gemstone Jewelry
Moussa Albaka is from Niger, Africa, and as a metal-smith he designs gorgeous jewelry using sterling silver, Tuareg silver and semi-precious stones. His techniques include engraving intricate geometric designs, using decorative inlay, and a lost wax process.
Georgian Textile Group
Embroidered, Woven and FeltedNino Kipshidze, founder and president of The Georgian Textile Group (GTG), has been involved in crafts since her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. GTG is an association of artists, designers, researchers, art historians, and ethnographers working to revive and improve the quality of Georgian folk textile art and craft and to support artisans works and by creating an international market for their work.
Textiles and Objects
Textiles and Objects
Tesoros Trading Company
Woodblock Prints and Chapbooks
José Borges, one of Latin America’s most celebrated folk artists, wields his knife and piece of wood in his humble workshop, attracting collectors and curators from around the world. Considered an unlettered folk poet, Jose has more than 200 cordel, or chapbook, titles to his name and is still writing.
Minority People Textile Folk Artists Cooperative of Southwest China
Weaving, Embroidery and BatikYuzhen’s family continues to farm in Guizhou while she lives part time in Beijing working in an embroidery workshop and selling Miao textile items at an open air market.
As you can see, each artist comes with a story, a life-line that connects them to their region. It will surely be fascinating for anyone who can make it to the festival. But, I also think this is such a profoundly valuable opportunity for all of the participating artists. I have worked in multi-cultural groups for many years and remember how disturbing it was to me that each group has its own set of biases, misconceptions and stereotypes that can lead to racism and narrow-mindedness. This is not only about white people learning about the world and "helping" through their dollars, but instead, contact and interaction opens all people to a larger world filled with new opportunities. We all have the need to both give and receive, to teach and to learn, to share and to grow and this makes the world a safer, healthier and more dynamic place to live.
If you make it to the Market, please report back here and tell us how it went! Or, if you like to write, I would love to have your experiences documented in a post. Take lots of photos and share them with us! Someday I will make my pilgrimage, but until then, enjoy yours!
Visit the Santa Fé Convention and Visitors Bureau for travel info.