International Folk Art Market 2022

by Debbie Durham

Image above: Yanet Soto of CTTC

The International Folk Art Market (IFAM) is held annually in Santa Fe, NM in July.  Many WARP members volunteer at the Market, filling roles ranging from delivering water or box lunches to helping artists with sales in their booths. 2022 was my second year volunteering, with 3 shifts on the schedule – as Booth Photographer, Server for the Opening Night Party, and as Artist Assistant covering 4 booths.

IFAM can be sensory overload – displays of ceramics, textiles, carpets, baskets, jewelry, metalwork, and 3D art make for tantalizing displays.  This year 162 artists were selected to participate in the Market.  A recent thank you note from the IFAM staff noted 1,300 volunteers helping out, and sales of $3 million to 11,000 guests. Impressive!

Wafae Safar with Cherry Buttons Cooperative, Morocco
A few other faces familiar to WARP who were in attendance: 
  • Marilyn Murphy with the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cuzco (Peru). CTTC featured master weaver Nilda Callanaupa – one amazing lady!  So professional, busily setting up a backstrap loom demo with her colleague Yanet Soto, taking needle and thread to tighten up loose seams of the spectacular weavings. Marilyn talked about her experience on the selection committee during WARP’s Panel Presentation last week, a program you can watch again on WARP’s YouTube channel. 
  • Susan Davis assisted the Cherry Buttons Cooperative, based in Sefrou, Morocco. This was artisan representative Wafae Safar’s first trip to the US. She got a BA in English which proved very useful at the market. Her photo is pictured below.
  • Porfirio Gutierrez explained to potential buyers the importance of preserving traditional Zapotec natural dye techniques in weaving textiles.  He presented a talk for WARP in March 2021 on these traditions.
  • I purchased a gathering basket from Omba Arts Trust of Namibia and greeted founder Karin le Roux who spoke to WARP during the Annual Meeting in June. You can watch Karin’s presentation here as well. 
  • Mary Anne Wise was present along with the three other founders of Multicolores, as she has been every year since 2014. Mary Anne also spoke as part of last week’s Panel Presentation. 

Half a dozen WARP members gathered Sunday at Hervé Wine Bar adjacent to the Santa Fe Plaza. Betsy Blosser from San Francisco State U., Board member and basket maker Cael Chappell from Albuquerque, Norma Schafer of Oaxaca Cultural Navigator, Sheri Brautigam, representing Living Textiles of Mexico, Patricia Andersson of Heartfire Journeys, and Polly Leonard, founder of Selvedge magazine (based in London).  Making new and renewing old connections is what WARP is all about!  

Image: Warp members at Folk Art Market 2022 / Left to right: Norma Schafer, Polly Leonard, Debbie Durham, Cael Chappell, Betsy J. Blosser, Sheri Brautigam. Photo taken by Patricia Andersson

IFAM is a festive occasion, with many volunteers returning year after year.  What were the observations of some WARP members at IFAM 2022?  

Betsy: I interpreted (English/Spanish) for a brother-sister team from Mexico who were at IFAM for the first time. Their work was spectacular – a variation on the traditional rebozo, with ikat in the warp and macramé in the fringe, all created with tiny thread. They had updated the rebozo with modern styles – a lovely poncho and a vest/shawl combination, both of which were quite elegant.  Volunteers were out in force at all the sessions. The payment process was much streamlined over previous years. People treat each other with interest and respect. IFAM is a wonderful model for the rest of the world and the rest of the year.

Patricia, WARP friend: I was very excited to attend IFAM for the first time. I volunteered twice, once for the opening dinner and once as an Artist’s Assistant. Spending time with the artists was nourishing to my soul. I was inspired, both by the smorgasbord of creativity and by the sincere desire of the artists to share knowledge about their crafts with the attendees.

Norma: Two days added onto IFAM this year made it harder on artisans. Thin crowds on Sunday. Not robust shopping so lots of work deeply discounted. Sad for artisans who traveled so far. Great to catch up and visit with Mexico’s artisan masters and meet others, creating future opportunities for Oaxaca Cultural Navigator to visit and organize new textile tours. 

Mary Anne: Multicolores enjoyed steady sales and the timed entry meant easy-to-manage crowds and the ability to conduct actual conversations with attendees. Numerous repeat customers, inquiries about our rug hooking tours, and concern for the artists’ well-being as the pandemic persists were all expressed.

Here’s hoping this gives you a feel for the Market this year.  Think about attending in 2023, as a volunteer or textile enthusiast! 

Reyna Pretzantzin at Multicolores Booth, Guatemala

Debbie Durham’s passion for the handmade developed as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. In 1990 she managed a handcraft cooperative in Kinshasa, Zaire (DRC) which supported local artisans with physical disabilities.  After completing a graduate degree in Textiles & Clothing at Iowa State U., Debbie served as Executive Director of One World Market, a fair trade business in Durham, NC.  She is a long-time member of WARP, as well as a former Board member. Feel free to contact Debbie if you have questions at:

From Debbie: And many thanks to Linda Temple and Molly Martin, WARP members who hosted me on my long road trip en route to and from NM and NC!