Fibresmith is a boutique space dedicated to quality, natural cloth yarn and fibre craft supplies in Melbourne’s Inner West, founded by Maze & Vale designer, Leslie Keating. “Fibresmith lived in my head for over three years, a little dream of a beautiful shop filled with gorgeous, natural fibre yarn and cloth in modern, graphic prints. Trained as a graphic designer with a life long love of craft, I was naturally drawn to simple, graphic patterns and colour combinations, especially muted, impure or ‘different’ shades. In 2011, I began playing around with block printing on fabric, first with simple shapes and then moving into carving my own stamps and eventually discovered and fell in love with screen printing as a way to cover larger areas of cloth. I enjoyed designing and printing cloth so much that I began selling it, creating a small business called Maze & Vale. Maze & Vale was the most excellent and flexible outlet for my creativity with two small children and over the years, gave me great insight into customers’ wants and needs for modern and interesting textiles. In 2017 that I firmly made the decision to open Fibresmith, to focus on sourcing beautiful, natural fibre cloth and yarn and high quality tools and supplies for sewing, needlecraft, knitting and crochet.”
,We welcome and support all open minded and generous of spirit folk at Fibresmith. All colours, sizes, ages, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and skill levels welcome. We work to foster a friendly, safe, and inclusive environment and will not hesitate to speak up should we see discrimination or unfair treatment of anyone within the shop or via our social media.
We actively, as a team, have regular discussions about the many layers and forms of racism and privilege that exist within the craft community and world at large. With no clear and proven guidelines to follow, we look for ways to help support anti-racism, gender equality, size inclusivity and anti-ageism within our business. One of the main ways I feel we can do this is by supporting diverse, women-run small businesses, carrying and promoting their work within the shop. To encourage and empower more to get involved in the craft industry, we are launching a mentorship program for small business startups, to offer advice, guidance and encouragement where we can. Launching a small business can be daunting but we’d love to help, with over ten years of experience in markets, wholesale and retail sales. If you have a craft based business idea and need some guidance, please reach out to Leslie at [email protected] – we’d love to offer what advice we can!
As another initiative, we have a box of donated vintage patterns that we in turn accept gold coin donations for, which are then matched by us dollar for dollar and the total donated to a group that we feel needs support. This changes every six months and is currently the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Footscray. We invite people to drop off unwanted patterns to add to this collection at any time.