New Mexico and the Folk Art Festival

My textilian friend, Sheri Brautigam set up a friend’s getaway for 4 old friends last July. First, we were going to the PowWow at Taos Pueblo. But that got cancelled so we stayed at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s house and tooled around Taos, visiting the Earthships site, Uncommon Threads and Steppin’ Out, buying Lior pants and other sartorial delights. We also stopped in to Millicent Rogers Museum, rich with pattern, on weavings and pottery. The patterns go back centuries and feel completely modern and current.

The women are never at a loss for self -entertainment!

Sheri had signed us up for visiting Georgia O’Keefe’s house in Abiquiu. I had been to Ghost Ranch before but never to the house of the Southwestern master painter. It was all we could hope for: spare, neutral and intimate. The light and shadows on adobe walls juxtaposed with deep blue sky was transporting. She lives on in this sheltered environment.

Sheri was part of the build-up for the Folk Art Festival and did a showcase/fashion show at the De Vargas Center, also called Travellers Market. Sheri collects Mexican and Guatemalen clothing and textiles and has written a book about textile markets in Mexico. There were enough wonderful outfits on display, colors and patterns with embroidery and weaving for anyone’s taste.

The big build-up was for the International Folk Art Festival in Santa Fe. This is a global forum for indigenous artists to come represent themselves and sell their wares. Sheri and I had both signed up to be translators, which I thought would be an interesting and fun way to be in the market. The catch was that our shifts started at 7am, thus avoiding extreme heat and getting the shift over, allowing time for shopping. True. But by the time the shift was over the market was at max capacity, making it difficult to move, and the afternoon monsoons were about to begin.

At any rate, I helped a lovely, elegant woman from Mali who was representing her indigo dye cooperative from Mali, stripe after stripe of shibori scarves, dresses and pillows. I am hoping she did well. It’s a long way to come, and there were many other people selling beautiful goods. I looked for the Guatemalen woman who weaves the practically sheer gauze huipils. I found the one for me and stood in line to pay while the rain gushed over my feet, luckily I was under a canopy.

Racing to take a friend to the airport in Albuquerque we passed through the massive storm clouds that had dumped on me in Santa Fe. We crawled to a standstill, the rain obliterating our vision of the highway. That was a serious New Mexico moment.