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.
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!