Textile Arts Guild Preserves Hand-Crafting Heritage

By Margo C. Pope


History isn’t just written on the pages of books or spoken aloud from scripts meticulously fact-checked. It’s recorded in the work of the hands.

St. Augustine Textile Arts Guild members live up to the mission defined by its founders in 1995: Maurine Boles, textile historian; Nancy Garrard, a spinner and weaver, and Irene Toreula, a weaver. The mission is to preserve the textile arts and crafts from St. Augustine’s founding in 1565 through Statehood in 1845, and to encourage interest in the historic and contemporary arts.

Members are spinners who turn fibers into yarns and threads for weaving, knitting and decorative arts; crafters who embellish hand-made garments tapestries and linens with beading or embroidery, crochet, knit, quilt, or felt, create jewelry, and children’s soft-knit toys.

Guild President Ruth Kurlandsky and members appear in period dress for “show and tell” demonstrations the St. Augustine Art Association’s Fall Art & Craft Festival, at spin-ins (gatherings of heritage hand-crafters) at the Menorcan Cultural Society’s Menorcan Day, the Visitor Information Center on Castillo Drive, and Fort Matanzas National Monument. They visit schools and civic groups, too.

Mayor Nancy Shaver is a long-time fan. “The women of the Textile Guild weave (quite literally) the fabrics of our history. Preserving these traditions provides us with a unique perspective into the work of the women of the past in St. Augustine – works of art and history and a demonstration of patience.”

Co-founder Maurine Boles says, “This is part of our history. We have to keep it alive or it will die.”

The Guild meets on the second Thursday of the month, September through May. Open studio gatherings are held on other Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lightner Museum, Suite 143, 75 King St. Annual dues are $25.

For more information, contact the Guild at TextileArtsGuild@gmail.com, or through its Facebook page, St. Augustine Textile Arts Guild. Be sure to watch the St. Augustine Textile Guild in action as they provide live demonstrations in periodic gear during Made in St. Augustine. Products handmade by members will also be available for purchase.