Material gains: Mulberry and Flax owner Jennifer Smart in her Islington store. Picture: Penelope GreenOUR rapidly moving society is driving a resurgence back to pursuits of old, says the owner of the latest “crafty” business to open its doors in Newcastle.
Former film industry veteran, author and screenwriter Jennifer Smart made the tree change to Newcastle two years ago and decided to invest in her love for fabrics and yarn.
“My sister had just died of a heart attack and it made me reassess and realise that life is short,” she says.
“I have always had a passion for knitting and fabric so I thought about how to make it work.”
In April last year she opened Mulberry and Flax, which specialises in high-end fabrics that she largely sources from the US but also in small quantities from Japan.
She recently relocated to Maitland Road, Islington, where she has more space to expand her range.
The daughter of a knitter and sewer, Ms Smart stocks a range of Liberty prints: “I think my fondness for them comes from my grandmother,” she says.
She also sellsa wide range of ethically produced fabrics that are mostly hand-made and largely using Australian yarn.
She retails European silk by labels including US fashion designer Tory Burch and currently has in stock a black silk fabric featuring gold lurex that was used by Kate Moss in her Capsule Collection.
She has sourced organic, Indian hand-block painted fabrics and Pirate Purl yarns made with superfine merino wool that is dyed in Newcastle.
Mulberry and Flax is a havenfor those who knit, crochet, weave, felt and sew.
“Most shops sell one thing for one craft,but if people have an interest in craft they tend to be interested in others,” explains Mrs Smart.
Briefly living in Newcastle as a child, she feels an affinity with the Hunter and is impressed by its creative kudos.
With workshops in weaving, knitting and crocheting afoot, she is noting interest from young women who want to get hands-on about craft.
“The faster that life becomes, we want to reach out to slower pursuits,” she says.