Decorating with the World Around Us

It’s been a long, long, LONG time since I’ve set foot in a Macy’s. Rarely do I ever go to a mall. Target is a regular source for life needs: deodorant, detergent, those sorts of things. But to pick up those things, they give you the huge red plastic cart, and to get the basics you came for, you have to wheel that big cart past home decor aisles. And sometimes home decor items jump in the cart. And I never regret that. But I don’t go to lengths to seek out these things in stores anymore.

Where I am looking now is sources like the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. It’s a juried show for folk artists from around the world. The market helps to sustain the livelihoods of the artists, and their cultures. They carefully select over 150 artists from over 50 countries. Feathers Boutique Vintage shared some photos from the market on their blog that give a great flavor of what’s there:

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market via Feathers Boutique Vintage Blog

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market via Feathers Boutique Vintage Blog

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market via Feathers Boutique Vintage Blog 4

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market via Feathers Boutique Vintage Blog

This is so much more interesting to me than Restoration Hardware! Far more colorful, for sure! (Though I do think RH is great for lighting and all our master bathroom fixtures came from there.)

The market brings opportunity to people. According to the market’s organizers, artists can make 10 times their annual income during the market’s weekend. Beyond money, it can be a single gateway to a bigger world for people. Here’s a story about how Istalif pottery was exported out of Afghanistan for the first time when pieces from 40 artists were displayed and sold at Santa Fe’s folk art market:

Istalif Pottery at Santa Fe Folk Art Market via Jindhag Foundation


Beautiful blue color! I almost bought pottery like this at Seret & Sons in Sante Fe last year, but walked away. The color is so happy and optimistic. Like bright blue skies of summer. I shouldn’t have left empty-handed.

Do visit the Jindhag Foundation to learn more about rebuilding the Istalif village marketplace after years of war, and how they make their gorgeous signature style pottery from local clay:

Istalif Pottery Examples via Jindhag Foundation

The village where this pottery is made is 45 minutes north of Kabul, Afghanistan and it was known for mineral springs, mountain views, grapevines, and this blue and green pottery that had been made there for centuries. Then the Taliban destroyed the village and nearly everyone fled. Many years later, the village rebuilt its main marketplace and the shops, and livelihoods were established again. And now, we have access to the pottery made in this little village.

Revitalization of Istalif Pottery Village via Jindhag Foundation

This is why I love to shop at markets like this – you learn these things, and it’s a much more personal experience. I don’t expect to ever travel to Afghanistan (or Iran which actually I would love to do) but I can go to Santa Fe, very happily.

At this point in life, I have all material things I need. I’d rather support people and not just companies with my pennies now. This market is always the second weekend of July on museum hill in Santa Fe. To clear up more money for shopping, I’ll be using some airline miles to go!

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