Takoma Park Folk Festival Celebrates Crafts and Music

Guest post by Kevin Adler

Music defines the Takoma Park Folk Festival but it’s hardly the only attraction for the thousands of visitors who attend each year.

This year’s festival, which will be held on Sept. 11 at Takoma Park Middle School, will offer works from 28 artists and crafters and the VisArts Studio in Rockville. Works in clay, fiber, glass, and wood will be available, as well as wide selections of jewelry, painting, and prints.

Their presence complements more than 30 musical performances on four stages, as the festival returns to an in-person experience for the first time since 2019.

Crafts are selected by a jury that looks for work of high quality and interesting design, while also seeking a diversity of styles and media, said Janet Stollnitz, crafts committee co-chair. Works must be hand-made by the crafters, and the artisans typically are onsite to talk about what inspires their work.

In deference to lingering COVID-19 concerns, the festival has moved the crafts show outside this year to the basketball courts at the back of Takoma Park Middle School. It will be a lively area, Stollnitz said, with food vendors and community tables nearby.

Selections this year will be a mix of the familiar and new.

“Among the newcomers are Catherine O’Sullivan of Feltlore with her amazing wool sculptures and fashion accessories, and Vivien Lee of The Purple Kiln showing glass work,” said Gina Gaspin, crafts committee co-chair.

There will be many familiar crafters as well, such as Maria Stroffolino with her eye-popping swirls, hearts, and sunbursts of tie-dye clothing.

Nancy DeMulder, a jewelry maker, has been showing at the festival for more than a decade. Inspired by Native American artistry when she lived in Santa Fe, DeMulder makes gold earrings, pendants, pins, and rings, often decorated with gems, beads, pearls, and fossils, some of which she has found in the Mid-Atlantic.

Takoma Park potter Echo Lipten sells work that’s functional as well as decorative. She says she works “in the moment,” finding inspiration in color, design, texture, and materials in equal measure.

Some of the most evocative paintings will be found in the booth of Fetun Getachaw, who moved to Takoma Park from Ethiopia about a decade ago (she now lives in Northern Virginia). Educated in her homeland as a contemporary artist, Getachaw says that her immigrant experience led her to shift from abstracts to a new style that often features women shopping in traditional markets in Ethiopia, their heads covered with scarves. “I want to educate about life in Ethiopia,” she said.

The D.C. Labor Chorus will kick off the festivities at 10 a.m. with a group sing, and performances on four stages will be held from 10:30 a.m. through 6:30 p.m.

For a full list of crafters, as well as the music program, go to the festival’s website, which also lists performers, or follow on social media.

Kevin Adler is a TPFF volunteer. Top photo, RADOST by Martina Sestakova presents handcrafted scarves, fabric necklaces, and pillow covers. Below, jewelry is always popular. Photos courtesy TPFF

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