There is nothing quite like a travel adventure to recharge one's creative batteries. That is why, at the start of the summer, I spent a week in Santa Fe with my daughter. It was a work-ation of sorts, as I did spend some time working out there. We also explored the town of Santa Fe and... we volunteered at the annual International Folk Art Market. It was a memorable experience all-around, one that truly endeared us to this iconic town. Here are a few pics.
Santa Fe sits in the Sangre de Cristo foothills. It’s renowned for its Pueblo-style architecture and as a creative arts hotbed. There are galleries and artisans everywhere, from street markets to high-brow galleries. It's no wonder this is home base for the International Folk Art Market. What was born out of Santa Fe as a small grass roots organization focused on one weekend a year, has now grown into a nonprofit empowering international folk artists year-round. The 2018 market featured more than 150 master artists from 50 countries and their offerings were exquisite. It was hard to contain my shopping....
Coming from the somewhat restrained north-east, it was such a joy to be surrounded by an abundance of color and pattern, may derived from the desert landscape and sky. Add to that the Mexican and Spanish elements of ironwork, textiles, and wooden carvings and you get the picture: South-Western décor is authentic and inviting, and represents a unique blend of the old and the new.
The word relaxed is key, and there is certainly room for whimsy, as personified by the ubiquitous jackalope, a mythical animal of North American folklore, a fearsome critter in the form of a jackrabbit with antelope horns. Jackalope Santa Fe is also the name of a must-visit adobe-style store with an eclectic array of colorful home goods from outdoor pottery to furniture, all at really affordable prices.
On the more high-brow side, the Shiprock Santa Fe gallery, located on the historic Santa Fe Plaza, is rooted in the rich artistry, cultures and traditions of the Navajo and other Native American tribes of the Southwest and merges historic and contemporary Native American art with modern mid-century furnishings in an eclectic gallery aesthetic.
But the best moments of our trip involved wandering the streets around the traditional Plaza and discovering small street markets selling everything from cow-skulls to the traditional ristra, a string on which foodstuffs, such as chilies, onions, or garlic, are threaded or tied for storage.
My most favorite sights were the open-air pottery sellers, in glorious shades of cobalt, emerald and celadon.
My daughter could not resist the calaveras, or painted skulls, which are used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos).
I will leave you with the wise words of Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” I could not agree more.