Our search for an authentic Arpillera finally ended at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. These charming “mini quilts’ are so colorful and dimensional with fruits and vegetables, animals, and people in traditional scenes. They originated in Chile as a way of telling the world about the atrocities of the 1970’s, but now they are an art form more cheerful and colorful in nature.The button bowl was also purchased at the museum gift shop, which was loaded with great stuff. The museum itself is a wonderful treasure of needlework and clay dioramas. Here are some of our favorites from inside the museum: Such amazing workmanship, and even more incredible in person!This little clay church is very similar to the style of items displayed in the museum.These little folk art dolls can be found all over the Southwest as well, celebrating Anasazi, Native American, and Mexican traditions.This weaving of working burros and the little shoulder bag (pictured above with the dolls) also have roots in the Southwest, and can be found throughout New Mexico, Mexico, and South America.We are also showing some vintage Mexican wedding dresses. These are old enough that they are made of cotton, and they are covered in hand embroidery. Most of these dresses in the markets now are made from polyester, and they just don’t have the same look.We found this amazing purse at an outdoor market. The story goes that it was made from an antique (wedding?) dress which was covered in embroidered roses. The parts that were still intact were carefully cut out and remade into bags. Since the older threads were made from natural dyes, it is a bit delicate and is prone to fading, but that adds even more character to the vintage appeal.This coat was actually purchased from a boutique in Old Town Albuquerque and was embroidered by machine, but the style of the floral borders and the thread colors set off by the black background is so traditionally southwestern that we had to include it in our field trip. And since it’s already quite warm there, it was marked down considerably– yay!There is something very real and personal about this kind of folk art. Being fabric artists ourselves, we appreciate the work involved and the handmade nature of it. We love to scout out treasures made by fellow artists and crafters when we travel, and the Southwest is a treasure trove!