Crafts co-op struggling for premises

21:21, Jul 01 2013
Carolyn Agnew, Daphne Cross, Dawn Inwood and Bev Mitchell
PEARLERS: Carolyn Agnew, Daphne Cross, Dawn Inwood and Bev Mitchell of the Folk Arts and Crafts cooperative.

Remember the shop at the bottom of the Lichfield parking building that sold knitted children's clothes? Well, the women behind it are still around, although without a permanent home.

The Folk Arts and Crafts co-operative ran out of the building tucked down an alley off City Mall from 1974 until the February 2011 earthquake.

Since then, unable to afford rent on a permanent shop, the volunteers have run stalls out of suburban malls.

The items on sale range from knitted baby clothes to fashion scarves and dolls clothes and are made by around 50 members on commission.

Carolyn Agnew and Bev Mitchell have been involved since 1990 and 1995 respectively and say the past few years have been "devastating".

"If we could get a shop it would be marvellous," Agnew said.


There were four women in the Lichfield store in February 2011. "Two of them managed to [get] upstairs and get their cars out," Mitchell said. They narrowly avoided getting stuck in the lift.

Fortunately, the women were able to rescue all of the items from the store and there was no dust to damage the woollen goods.

In town they had a loyal customer base, which they have struggled to maintain without a permanent location.

"When we were in the shop we had young mothers coming in saying 'my mother brought me in here when I was little'," Mitchell said.

There was also good tourist foot traffic, with customers often buying items to take home with them to far-flung locations.

Shoppers have the best bet of finding the ladies at Barrington Mall, or they can call 3596458 to find out where the stall will be next.

The Press