TEXTILE CLOSE UP: INTERNATIONAL FOLK ART MARKET by Dr. Margaret Gbemi Areo
TEXTILE CLOSE UP: INTERNATIONAL FOLK ART MARKET – SANTA FE, JULY, 9 – 12, 2015
The Santa Fe Textile Close Up began on Thursday evening with an interactive session, involving two artists; Danyalal Kudecha from India who specializes in production of handwoven silk and cotton shawls and stoles; and Carmen Maldonado Garcia (Multicolours) from Guatemala, who produces hooked rugs. Judy Frater and Reyna Pretzantzin respectively served as interpreters for the artists, who explained how they have successfully used their folk art to shape their traditions from within and impacted the lives of their trainees and society. Carmen, a star teacher, designer and rug hooker, in an emotion-laden voice explained how the Multicolours Teacher Training Programme has impacted her life and made her a financially independent person to reckon with in her community.
Friday morning availed us of the rare opportunity of watching the artists unpack and arrange their wares in their booths on the Museum Hill. Later, participants were welcomed by Dr Marsha Bol to Museum of International Folk Art, founded in 1953 and which now houses the world largest collection of folk art, 20,000 of which are textiles. Mary Littrell, also gave a brief history of the market, artists selection process, the current market composition, and programs instituted for training the artists in product pricing, interacting with American customers, and finding new markets beyond Santa Fe.
A private tour led by Elena Phipps, special Consultant to the exhibition, “The Red That Colored The World” and immediate past president of TSA, deepened our knowledge of cochineal red dye, which is produced in the body of cochineal insect, Dactylopius coccus. The dye is used in campari, cosmetics, peppermints, sculpture, in staining ivory and leather and was a vital component of 16th and 17th century Spanish painters palette. A guided tour of costume and textile storage of the museum by Dr Carrier Hertz, revealed an amazing and commendably orderly array of textiles from every part of the world. Lunch at the museum Hill Café capped the afternoon after which participants explored the unfolding market booths and other museums on the Hill, while Santa Fe opening party with live performances kept us entertained.
Saturday, was further opportunity to explore the booths, museums, and enjoy a food bazaar with its array of delicious international ethnic foods. In the evening, participants visited Siegal Gallery, owned by Bill Siegal. This internationally-recognized gallery of ancient and contemporary art has the world’s largest collection of fine ancient, antique textiles and ceremonial objects dating from 750BC to 19th century from Maso, South America, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, Indonesia and Aymara.
Sunday morning, participants enjoyed personal tour of the market and other places of interests. In the afternoon, Victoria Scott let us into the rich knowledge of her private collection of indigo textiles from Nigeria where she lived and has visited many times, and textiles from West Africa. A sumptuous farewell dinner in the artistically breath-taking home of Suzanne Sugg, an avid collector of textiles from all over the world was further enriched by the visit of Asif Shaikh who showed us his award-winning embroidery designs.
The Santa Fe Textile Close Up was an exciting, fun-filled, educative and really rewarding four days of activities, colors and faces from all over the world. It was like touring the whole world and viewing the best of creative folk art traditions of many ethnic groups of the world in one place, in four days. I am sincerely grateful to TSA for the scholarship opportunity.
— Dr. Margaret Gbemi Areo. (Nigeria) is a recipient of Santa Fe Textiles Close Up scholarship.