Saturday, November 10, 2007

Santa Fe on my mind

A couple of old posts had me thinking about my trip to Santa Fe this past spring, which was planned as a girls' weekend with two of my best friends from college. There were many memorable things about Santa Fe, not least of which are its unique architecture and intensely art-focused culture, but perhaps my most memorable experience was the Indian market situated under the awning of the Palace of the Governors, pictured above.

Every day, the American Indian artists drive in from far-flung pueblos, some as far as two hours away, and line up at 7:30 am for intensely competitive lottery spots so they can sell their crafts. Not all of them are able to score a spot.

This market is an arts program strictly regulated by the state, and in order to sell their crafts, the vendors have to be American Indian and must make all their jewelry and components by hand. Many of them use jewelrymaking techniques that have been passed down from generations.

As a fellow jewelrymaker, I was naturally awed by their far superior craftsmanship and the quality of their stones and components, and wished that I could have taken lessons from them. My friends and I spent hours talking with them and learning all about their lives, families, and work.

If you ever make your way to New Mexico someday, make sure to check out the Indian market.

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