Monday, July 13, 2015

The Lanyard Project

Every year in July, artisans come from countries around the world to participate in the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I attended for the first time in 2013 and I'm hooked. It is the largest craft fair that you can imagine. Last year there were 173 artists from 59 countries in attendance. I don't know the exact count for this year. Many of the ones who come represent a larger family group or cooperative back home. It is a huge collaborative event between many organizations, but primarily the International Folk Art Alliance. I love visiting their website and reading stories of individual artists and how the market has impacted their lives.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them and get a better look at the details! 

Last week, I was fortunate to have been invited to participate in a pre-market gathering of fiber artists at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center. It included artists from New Mexico and 10 artists from other countries who were here for the Folk Art Market. In my excitement about the event, I volunteered to make 50 lanyards (see above photo) to be used as name tags for the event.
It was fun to do, even though I had to push at the end to finish. I used some pearle cottons and finer crochet cottons which I don't normally use on my straps. I set up my looms to weave 2 or 3 at a time on one warp. Sharing my craft in this way was very rewarding. 

Isabel Gonzalez, from Jemez Pueblo (New Mexico, Native American), showed her ceremonial garments decorated in traditional embroidery designs. The Pueblo designs incorporate a lot of black, green and red, so I was happy to see that she found a lanyard in those colors. You can read more about her HERE

Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez of Peru is known to many weavers around the world as the director of The Center for Traditional Textiles, in Cuzco, Peru. See more about that on their website HERE.
When I saw her at the market over the weekend, she was wearing my lanyard with her artist's ID tag and it just added a bit more color to her outfit, which was in splendid color already. 

Aurelia Gomes, Deputy Director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico was proudly wearing a lilac summer sweater which she had knit herself. 

Olimpia Newman is the Director of Development at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center.
She has helped me greatly as a business consultant over the last few years.

It is thanks to these two ladies above, that the "Local to Global" meeting of artists took place. 

Most of the artists in attendance at our gathering spoke English and we had some great discussions among ourselves and some fun and teasing, too. We had many things in common. Much of the discussion was focused on our businesses and the role which a local fiber arts center plays in this. We are very lucky to be where we are in New Mexico and have EVFAC! 

I attended the market on Saturday and Sunday. One of the first things that caught my eye was the fact that all of the event volunteers were wearing name tags on handwoven lanyards. This is amazing, since there are about 1,600 volunteers which work the weekend. Upon inquiry, I learned that the artists from Timor-Leste had brought them. I found their booth and looked at the woven textiles. Then I bought some samples of the narrow woven bands which were made into lanyards.

There is lots of encouragement here for me to keep on weaving bright color combinations!!


  1. Thank you for a very interesting and inspiring post!

  2. I would love to make one for my work pass. Where did you get the hardware? I am thinking they would make great gifts for Christmas for the ladies at work.

    1. Great idea. If you look over on my page titled "Products I Recommend" there is a link under "Strap Hardware" that will take you to the Etsy shop where I purchased the ends for the lanyards. They are referred to as Key Fobs.

  3. The multitude of brightly colored straps give a lovely touch to the entire event. Your c olor choices are inspired and I thank you for sharing them with us.

  4. Thanks for making the nice lanyard . I love mine! Edric Ong Malaysia

    1. Edric, thanks so much for the note! It was a pleasure to be there and meet so many busy fiber artists from around the world!