International Folk Art Market, Santa Fe

Maasai bead necklaces from Africa Schools of Kenya

More than 1600 people in Santa Fe volunteer for the Folk Art Market every year — an incredible way for a community to support international folk art. More than 150 artists come to Santa Fe from over 54 countries, most of them developing countries. And more than 90 percent of the sales go back home with the artists, which supports their families and communities. The Maasai beads above were made by the Africa Schools of Kenya to augment the slim resources for children in the community. I love the necklaces but I love the backstory even more.

Leading up to the Folk Art Market, Shiprock Gallery hosted a demonstration by traditional Navajo weavers. I was mesmerized by a few things — how the weaving comes together, the beautiful end product, as well as the three generations who had come to Santa Fe to share the process. I loved that the elder weaver spoke Navajo and her granddaughter English – so the woman standing was translating for them both. The tradition and artistry was being shared with others but also handed down to another generation.

Shiprock Gallery is always worth a visit, the room of rugs is outstanding. So is the work by the Curtis family – I’ve bought a few of Jennifer’s bracelets. My favorite spot for Native American jewelry is Garland’s, in Sedona Arizona, if you’re ever in the neighborhood.

Navajo weaving demonstration at Shiprock Gallery in Santa Fe
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