I recently discovered The Folk Art Gallery in San Rafael, California recently, a town about twenty minutes north of San Francisco. The gallery has products from around the world, mostly from villages and markets in Africa, Central and South America.
Their collection of folk art includes African tribal masks, ceremonial and ritual artifacts, baskets, textiles, containers and other objects of daily life. There are also captivating retablos from Peru, and whisical woodcarvings from Mexico.
The jewelry cases include a lot of old silver and semiprecious jewels. I also saw a fabulous kilim from Istanbul, a hammered prayer box from Northern Africa and other tribal dresses from West and East Africa.
They tout their goal is to create a bridge to other cultures, traditions, and ways of life through their folk art.
In June, Kongthong Nanthavong-doungsy made a guest appearance from Vientiane, Laos.
Kongthong’s textiles are all hand woven from natural fibers and dyed with natural dyes. She talked to people about the place weaving holds in the culture of Laos and about the rich symbolism of the designs.
“In Laos it is an honor to be a skilled weaver. The majority of Lao women are weavers and are therefore capable of judging at a glance the quality of a textile.
The ability to produce intricately woven pieces using the finest quality yarns, a variety of weaves, and the richest dyes reflects well not only on the weaver but also on her family”.
The shop was founded by Sharon Christovich in 1994.