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2007 Detroit Festival of the Arts: Finding The Little Things

Author: Tafari, Monday, June 11th, 2007 at 6:08 PM
Every year without fail, I attend the Detroit Festival of the Arts with my kids as one of our fun father daughter cultural outings.

Not only do the kids get to have fun playing the children’s village, they get to see some of best artisans from around the country perform and showcase their craft.

As part one of my out and about experience at the Detroit Festival of the arts, I want to touch on one of my favorite artists who has been doing this festival for years; Ruby Ballard Harris.

Over the past 3 years Ruby has had me hooked as a customer big time and it is hard for me to visit her without buying anything. The 1st year when we meet, she had these sticking necklaces made from iron branded cured sugar cane, African amber and bone. As soon as I touched one, they all were saying buy me, buy me, buy me now. At this moment Ruby introduced herself to me and invited me to try one on. 3 minutes later she was ringing me up and friendship began.

Whenever I wear Ruby’s necklace, people will stop and ask me about it; where did you get that from, what does it symbolize and can I buy it from you. I never get tired of these questions because I feel proud to wear something that's not blinging, African inspired and made by someone I know.

This necklace symbolizes to me the African Diaspora, meaning:

  • Bone - The strength of my ancestors
  • Sugar Cane - What the salves in the Caribbean & Brazil slaved and died over
  • Amber - The richness of the all Africans in & outside of the continent

One of Ruby’s major talents is Fiber art and let me tell you, she makes some of the baddest African inspired attire I have ever seen. After some quick Googling, I found out that Ruby is also an instructor of textile design at the Indianapolis Art Center, how cool is that! Her pieces are timeless, skillfully made and something that you cannot find just anywhere, so when you see her, you must buy then!

So this year when I walked up to her exhibit area, we greeted each other like old friends with a big embrace and some family catch up talk & she marveled at how grown my babies are. After we caught up, she called me out because I did not have on her necklace and we both laughed. Ruby then pointed out to me that she made some bracelets over the winter and she had some right for me.

So I start lookin’ and I started likin’ immediately. I picked 2 of what she had out then tried them on and surrendered my charge card. Then I look back over and saw another bracelet that had Tafari all over it. This one was sterling silver, African amber and some semi precious stones and she “made me” try it on. Next thing I know, it was being charged.

I purchased other items from a few of my favorites and left the festival over budget but happy. My new bracelets from Ruby were my favorite find of all and below is a snap shot of the 1st 2 bracelets on top of one of my giant Hosta leaves (I think it makes a striking background if I say so myself). Anyway, the bracelets are made of ceramic, bone, wood and sterling silver. I have had them on since I got them and I’m not sure when I will take them off. Mindspill

Hopefully you can catch Ruby at a summer art festival near you and if you see her, tell her Bygbaby from Detroit said wazz up!

7 Responses to “2007 Detroit Festival of the Arts: Finding The Little Things”

  1. Sugar Says:

    The bracelets look great and you’re right, that background is on point!

  2. daez Says:

    TOTALLY beautiful…I wouldn’t take them off either Byg..(((HUGS)))..
    ….just me…daez

  3. Cluizel Says:

    @Bygbaby –
    1. Brotherlocks…why?
    2. How did you propose to Suite Suzy?
    3. Favorite day of the week? Why?
    4. Why did you start blogging?
    5. Are you in the middle of reading a book right now? If so, what is it? If not…why?

    There are your questions homey! :)

  4. dcsavvystar Says:

    Byg – you have such an eye for this sort of thing! I love the leaf background AND of course, the bracelets!!! Does she come down here to DC? I need one of my own!

  5. Keith Says:

    Sorry I missed you at the Festival, bygbaby! Looks like yet another occasion when we just missed one another.

    Sounds like you had a good time, which is cool. We did too. Couldn’t beat that weather..

  6. Bygbaby Says:

    Sugar – Thx, I am going to try to repeat ot when I get myt other Brace int he mail from her, she had to make an adjustement for me.

    Daez – Thx & as I type this response, they are banging the desk. They are definitly not good fo rthe office LOL, but I am working them.

    Cluziel – Damn you grillin’ me. I got you though.

    DCSaavy Star – Thx! I just email Ruby & asked her for her summer schedule. As soon as I have something, I will updated the post with it.

    Keith – Dang man, one of these days LOL. I was there with my kids & closed it down Saturday & came back down Sunday int he evenng to chill & watchthe Refugee All Stars perform. Sunday was great also.


  7. Lester Spence Says:

    i made a decision not to come back to the city until my book is done.

    besides the last week of the year, these next two weeks are the hardest ones for me as far as living with the consequences of that decision.

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