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Folk Art Market a global bazaar

SANTA FE – This year, shoppers at the International Folk Art Market can finally buy a T-shirt.

Or they can pay $2,000 to hire fashion designer Donna Karan as their personal stylist when the market opens Friday, July 13.

Fashion designer Donna Karan has collaborated with artists in Haiti, Bali and Vietnam to create jewelry, accessories, clothing and home goods through her Urban Zen brand. (Evan Agostini/Associated Press)

For years, the fashion icon has collaborated with artists in Haiti, Bali and Vietnam to create jewelry, accessories, clothing and home goods through her Urban Zen brand. This year, Urban Zen is sponsoring the market’s Wear Your Impact Initiative, which encourages fans to buy clothing and accessories supporting international artists.

The annual festival hosts 1,000 master folk artists from 98 countries, generating $28 million in sales, with 90 percent of the profits headed home.

Those profits have paid for wells, schools, medicine and more in developing countries where the income averages $3.10 a day.

Shoppers can browse booths bursting with textiles, jewelry, beadwork, basketry, sculpture, ceramics, rugs, metal work, clothing and more.

“The market resembles museum-curated studios with the access and fun of a festival,” creative director Keith Recker said.

A longtime market donor, Karan will host two sponsor booths and offer her services to three opening night patrons. The designer will spend an hour shopping for jewelry, coats, scarves, bags, hats and more. Each shopper will take home a professional photograph taken with the designer – and, of course, the opportunity to buy the ensembles.

Two groups of artists from India will splash the first market T-shirts with motifs and designs from their own traditions, Recker said.

A set of bags by Bibi Hanum, one of the many artists who will be traveling to Santa Fe for the 15th annual market. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Thirty-nine first-time artists will join 123 returning crafters for the 2018 market. This year, the market’s world reach encompasses Azerbaijan and Greece.

An artist from Mexico is bringing back textiles spun from a specific silkworm that nearly died out after the Spanish conquest, Recker said.

“A scant handful of grandmothers were still working with it in the 1960s.”

The International Folk Art Market brings thousands of visitors to Santa Fe.

Peruvian weaver Nilda Callañaupo Álvarez will bring handmade Andean weavings and designs nearly lost to mechanization and political instability. Metalworker Serge Jolimeau of Haiti will offer traditional recycled oil drum sculptures.

Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, is this year’s honorary market chairman.

Yunus is a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist and civil society leader who founded the Grameen Bank, pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. These loans help entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.

The market will honor its 15th year by paying tribute to its donors. A 30- by 60-foot arbor will dangle paper streamers with their names between bells, tassels and pompoms on the lower level, Recker said.

Customized Mexican milagros (small religious folk charms) attached to twin support columns will salute the top 400 donors on Milner Plaza, Recker said.