On Saturday of Market Day, I slip out of my house by 7:15 and walk to the top of Museum Hill. An intensely blue sky curtains the Sangro de Christo mountains; a dusty path leads to the tents on the horizon, where a world waits. Inside, I’ll find Ana Paula on the left, with the women of Xochistlahuaca, Mexico proud of their hand-loomed natural green cotton. I’ll find Zhanyl from Kyrgyzstan, Amalia and Olga from Guatemala, Jo from Laos, Bhairvin and Mamta from India, Auntie from Rwanda, Aroti from Bangladesh, and of course, Tiala with beads from Nagaland. There’s more . . . 173 artisans in allfrom 57 countries all huddled under tents with a year’s worth of handmade beauty to offer up. I look. I buy. I meet new artisans. But mostly I go for their faces, the joy of belonging to a world so wide.
Friends often ask why I spend time in Santa Fe and wonder what I possibly could be doing during my summer sojourn here. The Market is just the beginning. After back-to-back sessions with close to 20 artisans, designing ibu’s new collections in cramped hotel rooms over multiple coffees through long days, then I begin to visit with dealers offering vintage textiles from all corners of their trading world. Japan, Cambodia, Nigeria, Ghana, Bolivia, China, Turkmenistan, Panama and where not? The whole world meets me here. Over the past seven years, I’ve cultivated lovely friendships with over 40 dealers who travel the globe, collect and study and know of what they speak. I’m learning as I buy, and passing their treasure on to you, transformed into a storied pillow, or a cuff on a jacket sleeve that will last a lifetime.
I meet with jewelry designers (three new lines coming soon. . !) Authors and photographers. (Exciting plans in the works. . ) I oversee 2-3 photoshoots with Peter Ogilvie and stunning models from all over the world. I speak to groups about ibu and showcase our wares in Trunk Shows. I plan the year ahead in my alone time, and contemplate how to reach out to the world more clearly and perfectly with our movement’s message. My husband visits and we work side by side and hike in the cool early morning on shady trails at 8000 feet and breathe the piñon air. We never miss the Santa Fe Desert Chorale performance, one of the most sublime moments of my stay. And if there’s time, the open air Opera is an evening to remember.
Santa Fe keeps me coming back, year after year, to drink from the source it so plentifully offers. At every turn, I find serendipity. New friends, spontaneous combustion, surprising adventures. The world, around every corner.
And you, too, are traveling through other worlds. Isn’t that what summer wants of us? . . this great expanding breath . .. through books, or slow walks in ocean surf and mountain trails, and daydreams, and garden’s dailybounty . . . this slipping into something slower, deeper, larger than we imagined?
I think so. May the world . . . somehow new, somehow surprising . . . meet you there.
All the best,
Susan Hull Walker