Looking forward to a crafty folk festival


Woodstock was originally billed as a two-day music and crafts festival. It soon became a three-day festival of music that reflected the mood and times of a tumultuous era – and many of us buried ourselves in the music that spoke loudly of our hopes, dreams, and yearnings for a life we could love. But were there crafts?

If you look at photos of the Woodstock audience, you will probably see tie-dyed clothing, stoneware plates and mugs, and all kinds of jewelry. Probably, there were individuals taking pictures, molding mud (!!) into sensational forms, and stringing beads as they swayed and crooned to the music. Crafts were, absolutely, a part of the amazing, unprecedented scene.

Like Woodstock, the Takoma Park Folk Festival is primarily a music festival. The juried crafts show is a small component. Yet, the crafts show is an important piece of the experience … an artistic complement to the creativity of the music and dance on our seven stages. The dozens of artisans who participate care deeply about their work and their community.

When one stops by Clydelle Griffin’s booth, her vibrant colors almost fly off her fabrics and wrap themselves around you. “They talk to me – they are my inspiration from God,” Clydelle says. “They tell me what to do.”

As a housewife, Clydelle used her sewing skills as a way to contribute to the household income. When her husband left her in the early ‘90s with no resources, she took her talent at creating beautiful scarves, skirts, and handbags more seriously. Her sister, who also sews fabrics, encouraged Clydelle to showcase her work at festivals – and a career, a livelihood, and a calling emerged.

For Clydelle, showcasing her work at the Takoma Park Folk Festival is about more than business. She loves the camaraderie of the other crafters, the diversity of the attendees, and the helpfulness of the volunteers. Her son Alfred accompanies her to make certain she doesn’t have to lift heavy things. She has had three brain aneurisms and, just recently, had her left knee replaced. How does this lovely woman cope? “The Bible says that laughter is the best medicine,” she says, her voice soft and determined. “I made a choice – I choose to laugh!”

Every craftsperson at the festival has a story to tell, whether working in fiber, clay, jewelry, photography, or another medium. Good crafts reflect the commitment of the artist to pay attention to construction, detail, form, and functionality. These, as well as original design, are key elements in the judging of each person’s work by our committee.

Please come join us to delight in both the music and the crafts on September 11. The Takoma Park Folk Festival will be “Woodstock Without the Mud,” but we wouldn’t be our festival without the crafts!

For more information about the Takoma Park Folk festival, visit tpff.org.