Artists from around the world come to sell handmade, fair-trade goods including pottery, jewelry, wooden toys, and (of course) textiles of all kinds. Where else can you buy Japanese shibori silk scarves, a naturally dyed handwoven wool rug from Mexico, and then kente cloth from Ghana and talk to the makers of each one? It’s a textile lover’s paradise!
The official mission of the market is “to create economic opportunities for and with folk artists worldwide who celebrate and preserve folk art traditions.” Ninety percent of the sale price of each item goes back to the maker while the other 10 percent is used to support the next year’s market and pay for travel stipends for the next batch of new artists. (For more information on the market and how the benefits work, check out the article by Marilyn Romatka in the May/June 2014 Handwoven.)
The 2019 market was held July 12-14, but events are also scheduled for the days leading up to the market including book signings, lectures, and the annual artist procession in Santa Fe’s downtown plaza. The market proper starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at the Market Opening Party. This special ticketed event features food, music, and early access to the market. For those who can’t make the party and who still want to beat the crowds, early bird passes are available for Saturday morning. More information on all the special events and how to buy tickets can be found on the official Santa Fe Folk Art Market site.
The work of over 150 artists from 50 countries will be featured at the 2019 market, including artists from 3 countries never before featured at the market: Australia, Bulgaria, and Iraq. As with previous years most of the artists themselves will also be in attendance and available to talk about their work. Many of the artists speak English, and there are often translators available for those who do not, so you can learn all about the artwork and the traditions behind it from the makers themselves. Beyond textiles, the IFAM also features musical performances, family activities on July 14, and an international food bazaar. If things get too hot, there are several air-conditioned museums on Museum Hill within the boundaries of the market including the must-see Museum of International Folk Art. (Note: If you can't make it to the museum in person, there's an excellent book about the International Folk Art Museum's truly spectacular Girard Collection entitled Folk Art from the Global Village. The book is co-written by none other than textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, so you know it's good.)
More information on the International Folk Art Market including a full list of artists and entertainers, information on shuttles to the market, and where to stay in Santa Fe can be found at the IFAM website.