Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Handwoven Beads from Morocco ~ Santa Fe International Folk Art Market 2010

At 7:15 in the morning, on July 10th, I was standing in the early bird line waiting to enter the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. I was excited and had arrived ahead of schedule, but I was not alone. Two of the ladies from my shuttle bus stood in front of me and we began to make conversation. When I revealed that this was my first visit, they commenced sharing their art market wisdom.

The more talkative of the two women had a full on shopping strategy. She talked about how crowded certain booths would become. She knew the exact order in which she would hit each coveted seller. To tell you the truth. She made me a little nervous. My great plan was to wander around and just sort of take it all in. Now I felt this sense of urgency. After all, I was a rookie.

Of the booths mentioned by my early bird companions, one in particular made my ears perk up. "You have to check out the button lady." they instructed. The "button lady" was a booth that sold handwoven beads and buttons. I love beads, so I researched my program and made a mental note to find booth number 32.

As it turns out, those ladies were right about how packed the market would be. It didn't take long before the most popular booths were overwhelmed with enthusiastic shoppers. Booth number 32 was mobbed. I'm not a very aggressive shopper, so I decided to make it my first stop on day two of the market.

Amina Yabis, a.k.a. The Button Lady, represents the Women's Button Cooperative of Sefrou in Morocco. She is married to a school teacher and the mother of four boys. With the support of her family, "she decided to break out of the narrow role defined for her by Moroccan society and help women play a part in the economic and political life of her community. She formed a women's craft association called Golden Buttons to market the hand-woven buttons women had been making in their homes for generations."

The buttons range from tiny, less than 1/4 inch wonders to bigger, bolder beauties. They each have a center hole making them ideal for use as beads. This fact is not lost on the shoppers who can't seem to get enough. Amina is prepared and replenishes her booth almost magically. I don't know how large this co-op is, but these women must be prolific weavers.

My waiting paid off. The booth was much more quiet Sunday morning and I got to pick out buttons at my leisure. I'm going to have so much fun incorporating these into my own jewelry making. I already have a few ideas. I'm so impressed with Amina and the women of Morocco for their amazing artistry!

Information on Amina and the
Women's Button Cooperative of Sefrou was provided by The Santa Fe New Mexican.


Sara said...

Those are really neat! I can't believe they are handmade! You'll have to share your creations:)

Zzz said...

Oh dear, beautiful...

Jonathan aka Si Yousef said...

Thanks for showcasing Amina's work. I had the pleasure of working with her over the last two years as a Small Business Dev. Volunteer with the Peace Corps. If your readers want to learn more about the coop, the buttons, and their social outreach activities, they can do so at http://cherrybuttonscoop.wordpress.com/
I look forward to your new button jewelry creations.