Monday, July 21, 2014

Folk Art Extravaganza, part 2

The International Folk Art Market - what an amazing event!  I spent the better part of two days there, exploring the sights and sounds and, um, well, also spending some money.  It's hard not to!  The Folk Art Market is a riot of color with a huge crowd of people, all happy and smiling.  From the artists to the volunteers to the attendees, everyone I saw was enjoying their  time.  It is a joyous event. 
Some fast facts:  There were, I believe, approximately 150 artists with 61 countries represented this year.  Ninety percent of the money that is taken in at the festival goes directly to the artists and their organizations to improve livelihoods across the globe.  Over it's first 10 years (this year was the 11th) visitor purchases generated more than $18 million in artists' sales, and most artists at the festival earn more than 10 times what they might earn in one full year in their home country.  Market entries are juried, and it is a very selective process.  So what you see at the market is only the best of the best.  Yet participants bring a variety of products, so that even the more frugal among us  (me) can find beautiful purchases they can afford without breaking the bank. 
 When you exit the buses, flags mark the way to enter the festival.
 The pathway in seems to stretch on forever.
 We've finally arrived!
 Oh my gosh, look at the crowd of people in the photo below!

The organizing group has made the process of attending as smooth as possible.  Buses run steadily to and from the site (you cannot drive there; it would be a traffic disaster!).  Water stations are plentiful throughout the festival, so in the dry dessert air you should never get dehydrated.  At at International Food Court in the festival, you can find just about anything imaginable to eat.  Global musical and dance performances are continuous at a central stage. Free lunches were delivered to the artists by volunteers during the busy day.  Museums on the site are free of charge, with rest rooms, and are also a place to take a break from the hot sun or the rain (it rained a bit in the afternoon on both days of the festival).  I spent a bit of time at the Museum of International Folk Art, and it is an incredible place.  When we waited in line for the buses in a sudden torrential downpour, they began handing out umbrellas to those in the queue; yes, they seemed to have thought of everything!  (Unfortunately, we were soaked through and through by the time I got an umbrella;  remember those photos of the path that I posted above?  There's no cover on that very long path.  Weirdly, while waiting in the queue, I had another crazy allergic reaction, breaking out in hives all over my body from the cold rain.  I know, it sounds weird, and I'm still trying to figure out why this is happening to me!) 
Even the shopping experience has been made easy.  Rather than taking out your wallet for every purchase and carrying around your goodies all day, you get a receipt from each artist where you make a purchase.  After a couple of hours, you head to a cashier who totals up all your purchases in one payment, and then gives you receipts which you take back to the artists to pick up what you've bought.  So you have one receipt instead of a handful!  Very practical system. 

And now for a whole bunch of photos...
 This man (above) makes these amazing baskets from telephone wire!
 Below, the mad crush.  Seriously!!
 I plan to tell you about the incredible Huichol artist who made the yarn paintings in the photo below in my next blog post.
 These vases below are made from kind of a papier-mache process, but instead of paper, they are made with tobacco leaves!
 Below, balls of indigo
 These gorgeous silk scarves with wool felting were a huge hit at the festival, but, since I'm sensitive to wool, I took photos instead of buying. 
 And the mad crush continues...
Anyhow, I think the best way to tell you about the Market is with pictures, so I'm done typing now and will add a few more photos below.  In the next day or two, I'll have another post from my artsy Santa Fe experience.  Still so much to share! 
 Above, one of the incredible Huichol yarn painters that I'll be telling you about in my next post.
These retablos (the photo directly below) were maybe the most incredible thing at the entire Folk Art Market.  Obviously, out of my price range!!
I'll be telling you more in my next blog post about the Oaxacan woodcarving artist who made the beautiful pieces in the photos directly above and below this line of type.
 Kicking myself that I didn't buy any of this velvet fabric below which I believe was sold by the yard.  I saw it toward the end of my second day and I had already cashed out my purchases, but oh what lovely pillows this fabric would have made, and they would have looked lovely in my living room (which my husband would tell you already has too many pillows...)
Surprise, surprise!  In the midst of the market, here's Tracy (below), a blogger/Facebook/NAEA friend.  It looks like she's having a great time too!


  1. The colors are amazing. Looks like you had a grand time. I love those telephone wire baskets. I am curious -- what did you buy???

    1. Christie, I was especially intrigued by those phone wire baskets too, because I actually have some phone wire. But not needing a basket and not being able to afford them anyhow, I did the next best thing - I took a photo of him showing me how he makes them, and I bought the last bracelet he had left in his booth. I'm neither crazy about the pattern nor the color choice of it (it's a light purple/yellow thing) but I'll definitely wear it!

      As for the rest of my purchases, I expect to include them all in my next post, so be patient!

    2. I already posted part three, with pics of some of my purchases! Check it out!

  2. I've always thought this would be a wonderful event to attend - thanks for taking me there in your photos...

    1. And I still have more to share! I'd go again in a heartbeat!

  3. How fabulous. I lived vicariously through your postings. I love all the travel details too!
    The whole event is an absolute riot of color. I would love to go.

    I adore the paper mâché chickens in hats. So witty. Waiting for your next post.

    1. Ah, yes. The next post. It's half done. I insist in high quality photos, am dad a result, especially since I have so many from this trip, it's taking me as hike to load them up. But it'll be posted very soooon!

  4. You must need an extra suitcase to go there! I have never heard of this but glad that you took so many amazing photos to share:) Thank yoU!

    1. Yeah, Erica, I packed a suitcase lightly and checked it. Didn't try to go with just a carry-on! Since I hadn't stuffed it, there was room to bring home stuff. Though I really didn't buy anything big anyhow. Everyone else bought WAY more than me! I'm so frugal...