This weekend Santa Fe’s historic Plaza will pulse with the energy that is Spanish Market. The 59th edition of this popular event is Saturday July 24th and Sunday July 25th. People of Hispanic descent have been in New Mexico over 400 years. This annual fair celebrates the traditional art and handcrafts of that have been practiced for hundreds of years. Because The City Different is commemorating its 400th anniversary as a city, this is a special year.
The tradition of handcrafted art has been passed through generations of New Mexican families of Spanish descent. These crafts are the basis of the collection at Santa Fe’s Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and the impetus behind Traditional Spanish Market . Over 300 artisans (including the emerging artists division) will be showing and selling their work.
The traditional arts represented at the Market are:
Santos: depictions of devotional figures in the form of bultos (carvings in the round) retablos (paintings on wooden panels), and gesso and wood relief-carved panels
Straw Appliqué: crosses, chests and boxes decorated with hand-cut straw
Textiles: hand-woven on looms using handspun yarns
Furniture: usually made of pine using mortise and tenon joints
Hide Paintings: devotional images painted on deer or elk hide
Colcha: unique regional embroideries employing the colcha stitch
Tinwork: decorative and utilitarian objects of cut and punched tin
Ironwork: tools, fastenings and household objects forged from iron
Precious Metals: silver and gold jewelry, utilitarian and devotional objects
Pottery: hand-sculpted bowls, pots and other ware made from micaceous clay
Bonework: decorative items, anillos (rings) and tool handles carved from animal antlers and bone
Ramilletes: decorative paper garlands
Families keep these traditions alive by passing them on to the next generation. Young people are very much a part of Spanish Market with a separate section devoted to them, featuring over 100 emerging artists. Each year during the judging for Spanish Market, a piece of art is chosen from one of the young exhibitors to be used for the Winter Market poster. Check out these future masters; some of them may be famous one day.
Applicants to the juried show must be of one-quarter Hispanic descent and been born in New Mexico or Southern Colorado, an area of strong Colonial Hispanic influence..
Spanish Market offers serious collectors an opportunity to add to their collections and for others, an opportunity to buy traditional handcrafts and perhaps future heirlooms directly from the artisans. It also offers an opportunity to speak with the artists; find out about the piece you buy or learn about artistic process and their lives. The will be music and dancing, art demonstrations and regional foods will be available.
Also this weekend; Contemporary Spanish Market will be held on Lincoln Avenue north of the Plaza. Now in its 24th year, this event gives contemporary New Mexican artists of Spanish decent a place to showcase their works. Collectors and art lovers can meet the artists and perhaps discover a relatively unknown talent. On sale at the event: painting, sculpture, jewelry, pottery and more.
Both markets are from 8am to 5pm on Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sunday and there is no admission charge. Sunday at 8am there is a special Spanish Market Mass at St. Francis Cathedral.
If you want to get an early start on the events, both offer Friday previews. The Traditional Market has a Membership Preview from 7pm to 9pm. Spanish Market award winners will be on view. Not a member? Call 505-982-2226 and find out how to join. Contemporary Market has a preview from 5:30pm to 8pm. Both are being held at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center on Marcy Street.