Some of the Fibre Spectrum members, from left, Mary Andrews, Sue Broad and Nancye Thomas, who are closing their shop at the end of this week. Photo: Kate Russell.

Tight-knit fibre co-op to close doors

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In June 1987 a group of weavers took on the lease at 280 Trafalgar St to sell their homemade wares – but after 30 years of great yarns, the iconic Fibre Spectrum is shutting up shop.

The fibre-arts co-operative have cited rising rates, insurances and rents as the main factors in their decision to close, and their last day of trade will be this Saturday, May 12.

“It’s been in the wind for a while,” says one of the eight current members, Sue Broad.

“Despite many discussions to find an alternative solution, it is simply not feasible to keep operating. We have a loyal following of both local and overseas buyers, so it is with immense regret that the decision has been made.”

The co-op was originally founded after a group of young woman completed a weaving course at the Nelson Polytechnic, and some of the original members are still the group.

Sue says they have been inundated with messages of shock, sadness and support.

“It’s like a death. People are asking us if we’ll relocate, and while it could be an option in the future, some things just have a finite life,” she says.

“There won’t be anything else like this in Nelson now. We’re the only outlet that sells locally-made, unique fibre works.”

Although the shop is closing, the group of avid hand-weavers, felters, hand-spinners and knitters say they will still retain the ‘tools of their trade’ and produce their items to order through their website.

But the work of non-members, or work that is sold on commission on behalf of other artisans in the region, will no longer be sold.

“It’s a generation, and truly the end of an era – Fibre Spectrum has been an icon for Nelson textile artisans,” says Sue.

“But as they say – as one door closes, another one opens.”

Fibre Spectrum will remain open for the rest of this week, 9am-5pm weekdays and 9:30am – 2:30pm Saturday, selling the various work of the members at a reduced price.

After that, they will be taking orders from their website www.fibrespectrum.co.nz