FolkLore Ladies Night provides validating, safe environment for local artists

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Camryn Collier

To ring in Valentine's Day, FolkLore Boone, located at 2208 US-421, Vilas NC, had its February Ladies Night themed by connecting women in the community and "filling them with love and healing their hearts and emotions," FolkLore owner Lydiyah Sea said. The event featured local vendors and artists from across the High Country who specialized in artwork and services including henna and tarot card readings.

Camryn Collier, A&C Reporter

As winter brings snow flurries, FolkLore Boone brought women together with its recent ladies night surrounding the health of the heart on Friday, Feb. 7. 

The event, though Valentine’s Day-themed, looked to give the holiday a non-traditional spin. Instead of being centered on corporate ideals, the event aimed to connect women in the community by “filling them with love and healing their heart and emotions,” FolkLore owner Lydiyah Sea said. 

FolkLore does ladies nights every six weeks to provide a safe space for women of all ages to come and enjoy the space with other women in a “non-biased way,” store co-collaborator Sariyah Cray said. 

“This month, being so close to Valentine’s (Day), we figured we would just focus on our heart-centered selves, and come together as women,” Sea said. “Tonight, we just wanted to fill ourselves with love.” 

FolkLore was established in Boone three years ago with a focus on local artists and eco-friendly clothing and products, Sea said. 

Sea runs the store collaboratively with her daughter Cray and friend Maggie Billing. 

The ladies nights that the store puts on are to help women network, make connections, heal their souls, and more. 

This month, being so close to Valentine’s (Day), we figured we would just focus on our heart-centered selves, and come together as women.”

— Lydiyah Sea

The event provided various vendors in the High Country, including henna artist Diana Manitu. 

Manitu said a friend introduced her to the store, but the healthy community she saw in FolkLore made her stay. 

“When all of these people are doing what they love and following their hearts, I feel like it completely lights up the community they are in,” Manitu said.

The vendors were all women who have been networked into the FolkLore community. The vendors included henna work, tarot card readings, anointing oils, and more. 

“These (vendors were) things that we naturally gravitate to and resonate within ourselves,” Sea said. “It’s also about who has peaked in and said, ‘Hey, here’s what I do!”

The collaborators of the store vouch for women of all ages and backgrounds to come to FolkLore’s ladies nights. They have seen “little little ones” to women in their eighties at previous events, Sea said. 

Senior anthropology major Cara Pace is a long-time customer at FolkLore, but Heart Centered Ladies Night was her first ladies night. 

Pace said FolkLore is a unique space for women, especially in small towns where male spaces are dominant, like sports venues and businesses that women aren’t traditionally welcomed in. 

“(FolkLore provides) a space for women to come and support one another, and to share the experience of being a woman in a man’s world,” Pace said. “It’s an environment that we need to have. It feels nice and validates our experiences.” 

 FolkLore is hosting an upcoming event called Heart & Harmony: An Evening of Singing on Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. FolkLore’s next Ladies Night is in March.