Thursday, April 18, 2024
Artisans unite, celebrate traditions at Lowell Folk Festival.

Artisans unite, celebrate traditions at Lowell Folk Festival.

Leonardo Mirabal: Carrying Forward Carnival Tradition

Leonardo Mirabal, of Lawrence, explains the Carnival mask-making process to sisters Luna Lovera, 7, and Paloma Lovera, 10, of Barrington, Rhode Island, and their grandmother, Kathy Horniak, of Littleton, at the Association Carnavalesca de Massachusetts booth during the Lowell Folk Festival on July 30, 2023. With 19 years of experience in mask-making, starting at the age of 2, Mirabal aims to pass on his cultural heritage and inspire future generations in the Dominican Republic.

Taking time to create something by hand, as one’s ancestors did generations before, breathes life into an object and preserves a tradition. The Lowell Folk Festival’s Folk Craft Area featured eight groups of apprenticeships who showcased their artwork and cultural specialties, all recipients of a two-year Massachusetts Cultural Council grant.

Preserving Traditional Irish Sign-Painting

Vincent Crotty, an artist hailing from Ireland and now based in Dorchester, specializes in hand-painting traditional signs in the Celtic design. Alongside his apprentice, Lori Greene, Crotty displays his works, incorporating Gaelic symbols and phrases. He believes that hand-painted signs have more soul and character compared to vinyl signs, and he finds joy in passing on his artistry through the Massachusetts Cultural Council grant.

Elizabeth James-Perry: Connecting with Wampanoag Roots

Elizabeth James-Perry, an artist of Aquinnah Wampanoag heritage, creates jewelry using shell beads made from locally sourced quahog shells. This traditional Native American art form has deep roots in Massachusetts and James-Perry uses old techniques to shape each individual bead by hand. Despite challenges posed by pollution and the scarcity of raw materials, she is hopeful for the future as she passes on her skills to her apprentice, Erin Genia.

Conclusion

The Massachusetts Cultural Council’s support has allowed these artists and artisans to carry forward their traditional knowledge, ensuring the preservation of cultural heritage. By sharing their craft with festivalgoers at the Lowell Folk Festival, they inspire and educate future generations, fostering a sense of pride and connection to their respective cultural backgrounds.

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