Baskets, Wool, and Wood: Latvia’s Biggest Folk Art Fair

IMG_3648Every year on the first weekend of June, Riga’s Ethnographic Open Air Museum hosts its applied arts fair, the largest of its kind in the country. Visitors can stroll through a forest dense with tall trees in search of just about any type of handmade craft. From paintings and hand-knit woolen socks to wrought iron hooks and amber jewelry, there is something for just about everyone. Goods made of wood, ranging from children’s toys to furniture, abound, as do hand-woven baskets of all shapes and sizes. 

I went to the fair today with some friends from work, hardly believing that a year has already passed since I first visited the fair last June, just a few weeks after we had arrived in Riga. It was nice to visit it a second time, with a better understanding of some of the history and culture behind some of the handicrafts.

Here are some photos of some of the beautiful crafts made by people from all over Latvia.

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These women are making traditional scarves.

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Woolen mittens and socks.

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Hand-sculpted pottery.

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There was definitely no shortage of wooden kitchen items.

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I love these hanging baskets on display against a backdrop of trees and blue sky.

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More woolen socks and mittens.

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Hand-woven baskets – for shopping, picnics, decoration… for so many uses!

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Handmade amber jewelry with natural amber collected from the Baltic Sea near Liepaja by the artist herself.

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This man is working on another basket to add to his collection.

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Colorful linens of all kinds.

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More hand-carved wooden gadgets and tools.

To browse through crafts in the middle of a forest is a beautiful thing.

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A forest full of tall trees like these ones will forever remind me of Latvia.

The edge of the market runs along this lake. It looked a bit chilly today, but there were a few children swimming in it nonetheless.

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Such a peaceful scene.

When M. and I began our foreign service adventure, we promised each other that we would not become collectors of trinkets and knick-knacks. We decided instead that everything we buy from our travels must either have a practical purpose or go on the wall. We also decided that our one collection piece from each country where we live would be a “Welcome” sign. I have been in search of one since we arrived in Latvia, and I have not found one. Today, I found this instead, and I think the sentiment is the same, if not better.

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“Home is not a place where you live; it is a place where you are understood.”

And here it is, proudly on display in our home next to our memento from our tour in Mexico.

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Learn more about the Latvian Folk Arts Fair.

Thank you for visiting!

2 thoughts on “Baskets, Wool, and Wood: Latvia’s Biggest Folk Art Fair

  1. Pingback: Baskets, Wool, and Wood: Latvia’s Biggest Folk Art Fair — The Expatriate Runner | Slacking in Adventures

  2. Pingback: Latvia’s Biggest Folk Art Fair | Craft and Travel

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