The 2016 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is over. Hard to believe it’s been ten days since I last wrote a blog post.
This is the second year I’ve come to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to volunteer for this amazing, often overwhelming experience of meeting hundreds of artisans from around the world. They come from as far as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, remote regions of the Himalayas, Thailand and Africa, Algeria, South America, and more. There is hand-woven silk, cotton, wool and plant fiber dyed with indigo, cochineal and persimmon. They fashion silver and gold jewelry, dresses, bed coverings, hats and shawls.
Mexico is one of the most represented countries, and Oaxaca artisans are well-represented:
- Odilon Merino Morales brought his family’s beautiful Amuzgo huipiles, woven on back-strap looms, many with natural dyes
- Miriam Leticia Campos Cornelio and the Cornelio Sanchez family from San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Ocotlan, Oaxaca, who make incredible embroidered and crocheted clothing
- Fernando Gutierrez Vasquez Family, from Tlahuitoltepec high in the Oaxaca mountains, who weave shawls and scarves with natural dyes
- Arturo Hernandez Quero from San Pablo Villa de Mitla who weaves wool blankets, throws, shawls and ponchos using natural dyes
- Moises Martinez Velasco from San Pedro Cajones, three hours from Oaxaca city in the mountains, where the family cultivates silk worms, spin the silk on a drop spindle needle, weave on back strap looms, and use all natural dyes
- Erasto “Tit0” Mendoza Ruiz is a weaver of fine Zapotec textiles from Teotitlan del Valle, many with natural dyes
- Flor de Xochistlahuaca cooperative makes traditional clothing from natural dyes and harvested cotton
- Magdalena Pedro Martinez from San Bartolo Coyotepec who sculpts black clay into exquisite figures
- Agustin Cruz Prudencio and his son Agustin Cruz Tinoco carve wood figures and then paint them using intricate designs representing Oaxaca life
- Soledad Eustolia Gacia Garcia fashions traditional Oaxaca jewelry using filigree, lost wax casting in gold, silver and copper. Her family workshop preserves Oaxaca’s Monte Alban traditions
- Jose Garcia Antonio and Family are primitive folk artisans who make larger than life clay figures. He is blind and uses his memory and touch to represent Zapotec life
- Isaac Vasquez and Family from Teotitlan del Valle brought hand-woven wool rugs in the Zapotec tradition
- Jovita Cardoza Castillo and Macrina Mateo Martinez from Cooperative Innovando la Tradicion shipped lead-free elegant clay pots and dishes hand-polished to a brilliant sheen
- Arturo Faustino Rodriguez Ruiz and Federico Jimenez create gold, silver and gemstone filigree jewelry, which can be seen at the Museo Belber Jimenez in Oaxaca
It was an intense three-days of volunteering with Arturo Hernandez and Moises Martinez. Being a volunteer assistant is more than writing up sales receipts.
It means helping non-English speaking Oaxaca weaving friends show and sell their amazing textiles. I opened indigo, cochineal and marigold dyed silk and wool shawls to help people see the full beauty of the textiles. On Sunday, I worked from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and helped them pack up what was left.
Santa Fe is also a place of reunion for me. Many friends who I’ve met in Oaxaca converge on Santa Fe for this market, and it’s a chance to catch up, have a meal or a glass of wine, and share stories.
Special saludos to Ellen Benson, Ruth Greenberger, Sheri Brautigam, Norma Cross, Sara Garmon, Barbara Garcia, Susie Robison, Leslie Roth, Kaola Phoenix, Winn Kalmon and Dori Vinella. We converged from Philadelphia, Chapel Hill, Denver, Taos and San Diego to help sustain this tradition and see each other.
I’ll be here until Friday, when I go to Los Angeles and then San Francisco to see my family. I’m certain there will be more synergies with Oaxaca as my travels unfold.
P.S. The International Folk Art Market needs more volunteers! Considering putting this in your travel plans for 2017.
February 2017: Tenancingo Ikat Rebozo Study Tour