About PALOMAR HANDWEAVERS’ GUILD

HISTORY

On January 9, 1952, the San Dieguito Handweavers’ Guild was founded in May St. John’s weaving studio in Solana Beach with the purpose to be of "mutual, practical and theoretical help to each other and to any others interested in handweaving". Twenty-eight charter members adopted a motto from the Canterbury Weavers—Fair warp and fitting woof/Weaves a web that bideth proof—and took turquoise and silver as their colors. In 1964, the group had begun meeting in various locations and the name was changed to the Palomar Handweavers’ Guild to better represent the wide spread region of the membership.

As interest in handweaving declined in the early 1970s, there was little support for continuing the Guild, and a decision had to be made about dissolving the group and disbursing the $36 remaining in the treasury. Fortunately just at that time, Barbara Borgerd (Ikler) joined the guild and with the energy from a few of the other young members the Guild was resurrected. The Palomar Handweaver Newsletter was started, classes were offered for beginning weavers, and study groups formed for spinning, basketry, and tapestry. This new burst of energy increased membership to over 100. The Guild was an active participant in the bi-annual Conference of Southern California Handweavers and organized exhibits and demonstrations which introduced weaving and spinning to a new generation.

In 1986, a group of Palomar Handweavers began demonstrating spinning and basket making at the semi-annual festivals on the grounds of the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista and offering handwoven items for sale. When the group acquired an old loom which they were permitted to store at the museum, they were able to demonstrate rag rug weaving as well. One loom led to another and by 1999 the idea began to grow of having a building on the museum grounds to house the growing collection of looms and spinning wheels and provide a place where weavers could meet to weave, socialize, teach, and learn. Led by Bill Rafnel, the group began planning and fund raising and on April 16, 2004, construction began on the 4,000 square foot Weavers Barn.

In 2015, recognizing the unique opportunity this facility offered with its hundreds of donated looms, spinning wheels, and fiber tools, the Palomar Handweavers’ Guild made the decision to merge the guild with the museum in a joint effort to further both the guild’s purpose and museum’s mission by helping to preserve the collection of looms, spinning wheels, and fiber related artifacts and the skills involved in using them. The guild is now able to offer educational and recreational opportunities to members and the public to further knowledge about the fiber arts.

As we look to the future the Guild is actively participating with the museum in fund raising for the construction of a building which will house the Susie Henzie collection of spinning wheels and fiber related artifacts. With the addition of a dedicated classroom the guild will be able to offer classes, programs, and workshops in weaving, spinning, dyeing and related skills. The annual Fiber Arts Fiesta on the museum grounds provides opportunities to attract new members who share our love for weaving and the fiber arts.

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