The non-profit Austin Friends of Folk Art (AFFA) began in 1987 between two passionate folk art collectors and advocates, Ted Warmbold and Marcia Lucas. At the time Ted was president of the established San Antonio Friends of Folk Art while editing the San Antonio Light. Marcia was busy forming one on one relationships with artisans and craft producers throughout the Mesoamerican region from Mexico to Guatemala, in order to sell their wares directly in her shop. The two were drawn together by efforts to find a permanent home for the wonderful folk art collections of Nelson Rockefeller and Robert K. Winn. Ted’s private 4,000 piece collection and Marcia’s retail shop, El Interior, dedicated to the promotion of Mesoamerican folk art pieces, were the common denominators. On the basis of their abiding interest in the preservation of folk art and love of Mexican folk art AFFA was formed.
Folk art, around the world, is a result of the cultural traditions of hand-making functional objects. Those that are necessary for everyday life, usually for utilitarian or religious purposes. Often these craft skills are passed down through families, just as storytelling is passed down from village elder to junior. These apprentices, not considered formerly schooled in art, may achieve a very high level of technical expertise and express a unique creative vision.
To learn more about AFFA, its membership levels, and educational programs, come to El Interior’s 40th Anniversary Fiesta on May 2, 2019, at 1009 West Lynn St., Austin, Texas 78703. Call 512-474-8680. The party starts at 6:00 pm.
El Interior, an iconic Austin retailer, specializes in beautifully hand-crafted Mesoamerican clothing, folk art, and textiles. Owned by Marcia Lucas, it has a 40-year history, something novel in this newish town. Marcia has cultivated direct relationships with every artisan and craftsperson she works with – from Mexico to Guatemala. There’s no middleman between producer and seller. Every purchase directly benefits and sustains the artisans.