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Past President’s Letter: Last Year’s Santa Fe International Folk Art Market—Join us this year!

For all the years that I have travelled annually to Santa Fe, in the past it was generally to see the Ethnographic textile shows that take place in August. These have always been a great chance to see what is around in the art world, and to catch up with scholars, collectors and dealers in the beautiful city of Santa Fe. Last year, after hearing about the amazing transformation of the city during the International Folk Art Market that takes place in July, I finally had the chance to go. The incredible number of international artists and artisans was overwhelming—some were old friends, like Nilda Callañaupe from Cuzco, Gasali Adeyemo from Nigeria and Santa Fe, and the velvet ikat weaver from Uzbekistan, Rasuljon Mirzaahmedov, who demonstrated his art at the TSA Symposium in DC, 2012. Others quickly became new friends. The mix of weavers, rug makers, dyers, embroiderers, and others came from all over the world—from Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, South America, Guatemala, Africa, Turkey among other areas—each with their stories and their heartfelt craft.

Karin Hazelkorn (TSA member) and Philippine weaver at her booth (2014) Photo: E. Phipps

Karin Hazelkorn (TSA member) and Philippine weaver at her booth (2014) Photo: E. Phipps

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Le Ta and Fey Ta Mey from Vietnam were among several artisans from the region. Their joy and curiosity at the proceedings of the event, (along with their wonderful embroidered pants !) were evident.

 madagasgarsilk

My favorite silk from Madagasgar! The large Anthera moth creates huge cocoons, whose silk is spun. The texture and color is subtle and varied.

gasali indigodyer

Old friend Gasali—who I met for the first time at La Rochelle France during the incredible Natural Dye conference organized by Dominique Cardon and others in 2011. Gasali is a Nigerian indigo dyer, who lives now in Santa Fe. He has beautiful fermented indigo leaves formed into balls, alongside his Adire cloth. Some of you may have met him in at TSA in LA this past Fall.

The organization at the scale of this market warrants accolades. With hundreds of international artisans, the process of vetting the vendors and their wares—which goes on year(s) in advance—the assistance for stepping them through the legal process of coming into the US, the showering of support with translators, aids, and workshops to help them gain proficiency in the business end of marketing their goods, and lots of personal care and engagement on behalf of the legions of volunteers who help is truly amazing. TSA Past Treasurer Mary Littrell plays an important role in this process and TSA member Sandy Peinado has become engaged as well. Mary and Sandy have now organized a special opportunity for TSA members and others to experience the 2015 market under their wing and I for one will be excited to participate!

– Elena Phipps

Registration is now open. See http://textilesocietyofamerica.org/tcu-santa-fe/ for more information about the TSA program for 2015.

*Elena Phipps currently serves on TSA’s Board of Directors as Past President. She is also s a curatorial consultant for Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe’s forthcoming 2015 exhibition The Red that Colored the World, inspired in part by her 2010 publication Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color (2010 Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press).