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HomeCultureBeads, felt and bark are turned into masterpieces at Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Beads, felt and bark are turned into masterpieces at Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Since this blog began in 2014, we have covered the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It’s a two-week event in Washington, D.C., that brings artists and artisans from around the world to share their crafts, their songs, their food.

We’ve interviewed an Armenian calligrapher and a leather craftsman from Niger and attended a Peruvian alpaca blessing. We even sampled goat stew courtesy of a Kenyan chef with a restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Then came the pandemic. The festival was off for a couple of years but this year returned – and so did we.

From our global perspective, we were most interested in talking to crafters from the Global South – countries that may lack the resources of Western nations but that are incredibly resourceful when it comes to creating objects of beauty from the most ordinary elements. That would be: yak hair, tree bark and simple beads.

Why it’s hard to pick up Maasai…

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