The International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe is a non-profit with a flagship event of an amazing market which sees 20,000 people come to buy the work of 150 folk artists from around the world. The revenue raised by the artists (who often work in co-operatives) helps to preserve folk art traditions and strengthen and support communities in places as diverse as Ecuador and Mozambique, Uzbekistan and Timor Leste.
I’ve worked with the Market on website and content projects for years, and for the tenth anniversary market this year, I suggested we produce a video series about some of the artists, looking at the impact of the Market or introducing artists that were new this year. We wanted to stress the personal success stories that underpin the Market but that can sometimes get lost in the scale of the event. Visitors get the chance to meet and interact with the artists, and take home an object created by hand with skill and passion, while the artists take home money they earned from sales to individual people.
The budget was extremely tight – I could only spend five or six hours on each of the five videos we planned – and the technical constraints were also daunting: we couldn’t go and shoot interviews with the artists. In two of the cases, however, we could source amateur video that Market employees or supporters had shot when they were in-country (those for the SEWA co-operative in India, and La Mega Cooperativa de de Saraguros in Ecuador). That left a co-op in Pakistan, a vodou flag maker in Haiti and a master basket weaver in the south of France with no video footage. I proposed using Skype to record video sessions, supplementing all the videos with lots of still photography.