Color, Art and Culture — Ethnic Arts

There’s a store you went to once. A marvelous store. In your mind’s eye you can picture the colorful objects, the mix of textures. You always meant to go back.

That’s how it was for me with Berkeley, California’s Ethnic Arts (1314 Tenth Street). Part store, part global museum. All wonderful.

Bozo Puppet atop David Marsh CabinetOne of numerous fantastical puppets from the Bozo tribe of Mali in West Africa

When Eleanor Hopewell and her husband lived in Nigeria, they fell in love with Africa and with African art.

Twenty-eight years ago they opened Ethnic Arts to bring to the States “the old village traditions of handmade objects from the far-flung cultures of the world.” Here’s a taste of what you’ll find there.

Tribal Images of Women Exhibit and SaleSome amazing objects in the store’s exhibit and sale, ‘Tribal Images of Women.’

Display including New Guinea Clan ShieldsA display of clan shields from Papua, New Guinea.

Ethnic Arts in Berkeley CaliforniaEthnic Arts is packed with artful furnishings, splendid art and textiles.

If you’re a David Marsh fan, you’ll find a vast supply of his kaleidoscopic, whimsical furniture here. Eleanor calls Marsh a “compulsive, creative, wonderful” artist. Be sure to peek at the back of one if his pieces to see David’s inspirational ‘graffiti.’

One of Marsh’s signature ‘Broomstick Cabinets’David Marsh Broomstick Cabinet

David Marsh Tesoros Table and Batik SarongsIn pieces for Marsh’s new ‘Tesoros’ line—a collaboration with artist Mary Stuart—the pair incorporate interesting found objects like the bits of yardsticks used in the decoration of this table.

More Bozo puppets and Marsh cabinets.David Marsh Cabinets and Bozo Puppets

Oil Carved Wooden Textile StampsOil-carved wooden stamps used to decorate textiles in India and Pakistan. Eleanor says working artists often buy these beautiful objects for use in fabric and paper projects.

Indian Textile Printing StampsIndian Textile Printing Stamp

Incredible beaded vest from Afghanistan.Beaded Vest from Afghanistan

Mithila Paintings from IndiaEthnic Arts has a large selection of textiles and paper art, like these Mithila Paintings from India.

Just in time for the Mexican celebration of their ancestors, there’s a great room of Dia de Los Muertos art and decor.Dia de los Muertos Decor

Dia de los Muertos Skull

When you visit Ethnic Arts plan to spend a little time, move slowly and enjoy yourself. And if you can’t get to Berkeley, you can view and buy its treasures through the store’s Web site.

Glad I made it back; won’t wait so long next time.

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One Comment for “Color, Art and Culture — Ethnic Arts”

I loved this post! We are big fans of African masks and all ethnic art. We have a few masks in our home and I also love the Day of the Dead art. Definately going to check out this great find on my next trip to Berkeley.

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