|Palestinian Embroidered Pillow by Crossroads Trade|
TAFA is having its first public event during the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah. We are excited to introduce TAFA to the public at large and are hoping to raise funds for our new website. We have a silent auction and raffle, both available to online participants and an exhibit and vendors. These are ways in which you can donate to support our efforts. This blog will feature the works and vendors in the next two weeks. You can see all of the TAFA Market posts in one place by clicking on this link.
Today's TAFA Market focus zooms in on:
|Otomi Embroidery (Mexico) from Crossroads Trade|
Kate Harris is coming all the way from Massachusetts to be a vendor in our TAFA Market! Her car will be loaded down with gorgeous textiles and treasures from around the world: molas, African embroideries, Wounaan baskets, Palestinian pillows and much more! I have worked with ethnic textiles and crafts for over 20 years and Kate's selection and commitment to quality are among the best I have ever seen. Extra bonus: Crossroads Trade is committed to fair trade. These products represent traditions and people who have honed skills over the centuries, many whom now live in precarious and dangerous parts of the world. Embroidery, weaving and sewing allow communities to maintain the traditional structures of their communities without having to leave their homes for work in factories or meaningless labor.
|Kuna Mola: Monkeys, Bananas and A Hammock from Crossroads Trade|
I always find it interesting how simple and similar materials can generate such different results. For example, the first image in this post is of a Palestinian embroidered pillow. The following image is a South African embroidery, both using black cotton fabric as the background. But, look at the results! The Palestinians excel at cross stitch, boldly emphasizing negative and positive spaces. The South African embroidery uses running stitches, almost calling pointillism into mind.
|South African Embroidery, "Cow", from Crossroads Trade|
All of these cultural textiles are easily recognizable to those of us who are familiar with them. We can easily point out which countries or communities they represent. However, as with everything in life, styles also evolve. For example, certain mola makers become famous world-wide for their individual techniques and themes. And, contact with people like Kate has also inspired groups to adapt their traditional crafts to products which can be marketed worldwide. We then end up seeing two kinds of product: collectible pieces by artists within the communities and production pieces artisans who don't necessarily have the "muse". This means that there are huge variations of prices within similar kinds of pieces. One mola might be $35 while another might be $350. Kate will have that range with her, both low and high ticket items.
|Arpillera from Lima, Peru, Crossroads Trade|
Many quilters and sewers like to use unfinished textiles or vintage remnants to incorporate into their own pieces. A mola, for example, can be sewn into a quilt, a bag, a pillow, on to a jean jacket, or if you want to "go" Kuna, make a blouse for yourself, too! (The Kuna women wear them on the front and back of their floral, puffy-sleeved blouses.) Take a look at Crossroads Trade and if you see anything on the website that you would like Kate to bring, you can send her a message through her site or leave a comment here. Kate is bringing mostly textiles, but she also has gorgeous Wounaan and Emberá baskets from Panama.
|Wounaan and Emberá baskets from Panama, Crossroads Trade|
I don't know about you, but I do know that I will have a hard time looking at Kate's things and not getting them all slobbered up with drool. I'll have to wear a bib or something.... (Excuse the 4th grade humor.... just lost a bit of control!) And, I am super excited to meet Kate. We have talked once on the phone and I just know that the stories will be flying. It will be a great time at our TAFA Market and I do hope that you can join us!
|"Peace", Israeli Applique from Crossroads Trade|