We moved through the canopied areas, eager to visit as many boothes as we could before the party ended at 9 p.m. And of course, even though my goal was to get photos and stories, I couldn't help but find items I'd like to purchase.I ran into another acquaintance who works with artists in Mexico helping them sell their work in the United States. This weekend he was assisting Oaxacan artist Jacobo Angeles Ojeda and his son. They create carved wooden animals that are unlike any I have seen. Their booth displayed not only their art, but that of others from the village. The price difference was commensurate with the difference in quality. Just before we arrived, they had sold a lion for $4400. A striking owl was sold as we were there. He had otters, cats, horned lizards, and an amazing stingray.
Bud visited with the artist's son, Ricardo Angeles, who demonstrated one of the important differences with their animals. They create all their own paints from natural sources. He showed Bud how he mixes indigo with lemon juice and honey to create a bright blue paint and how a tree bark mixed with juice and honey makes their red paint. The difference in their paints, along with their attention to detail and realistic depictions of the animals brings their work to an entirely new level from what we've come to expect.
While I would love to have purchased one of the otters for over $300 (and which represents about a month of labor), I ended up leaving with a small fish that a family member had made. A momento, but not the same as one of his exquisite and intricately painted sculptures. Perhaps when we return Sunday afternoon one will still be there and I'll let temptation win.
Another booth represented a women's cooperative from India, the SEWA Trade Faciliation Center. They told us a few amazing stories - one about misadventures in travel and another about their cooperative itself, which represents 1.3 million women. One of the artists, Jamuben, was traveling from India to Santa Fe alone and somehow ended up on the wrong plane and the wrong state. After a harrowing ordeal, compounded by her inability to speak English, she ended up in Santa Fe in time for the market. Her friends told us that after a good cry, Jamuben was able to bounce back and she seemed to be in good spirits. When I was looking at a small fabric purse and admiring the embroidery, Jamuben gestured to the embroidery and herself so I would know that it was her work. So, of course, I had to buy it. And at $12, it was quite a bargain!
It's nice to know when you're buying at the market that 90 percent of your purchase price goes home with the artists. On average, each artist earns $15,000 that helps supports a family, a village, a cooperative. According to the organization which runs the market, this year artists cooperatives in 44 boothes will represent 30,000 members and impact some 300,000 lives. First time artists can apply for funds to help pay for them to attend the market. The entire project is an amazing effort to allow artists from countries as big as China and as small as Rwanda to earn a living at their craft. It also allows us to visit the world without leaving Santa Fe as 51 nations are represented this year.
The market is held on Museum Hill near the Museum of International Folk Art. Wear your comfortable walking shoes and be prepared for crowds. But in addition, be ready to make friends with people from the world around and support them by buying their art. Learn more at www.folkartmarket.org.
Posted by Cheryl Fallstead
Explore! New Mexico