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Whilst there is still a couple a months to go before TOTE – The Oamaru Textile Emporium begins year fourteen it has made me think about how the co-operative shop I and my two fellow directors have run has evolved over the last decade. It’s been a roller coaster ride from day one. I’m not entirely sure how we’ve lasted this long when so many small businesses in the Precinct have come and gone. Sometimes it’s been financially precarious and 2020 is another very challenging year. I’m not sure we’ll survive this year but the last month has boosted our bank account although Covid19 sure took a toll on our savings and our membership. I think it made a lot of people reassess their lives. Some were forced into major changes and others have elected to take a different journey.

TOTE also has changed and matured over the years. Whilst its main aims to stay as a supportive retail outlet for its maker members is still the reason for its existence it has evolved as the membership itself has altered. We still fundamentally make things with New Zealand wool and other fibres and showcase textile crafts which we sell for a reasonable price so that many people can enjoy wearing what we make. Most of us are very local to Oamaru and some of us have been together for more than a decade.

It is a lovely shop to run and work in. I’ve met some amazing folk from all around the world. Over this last month a lot more local people have come visiting and helped support us by shopping in the Precinct. So it will be interesting to see what the rest of the year brings.

2 comments on “Anniversary 

  1. Hi Doe,
    Lovely to read your recent blog posts, “Becoming an even slower maker” was most thoughtful and really moving too. This year with Covid-19, the lockdown, and the uncertainty of the future really does make one reflect on what is really important (and unimportant) in life, and what the point of making things is… or if it is even wrong to keep on making “stuff”. I remember sitting at my potter’s wheel on the first day of level 4 lockdown and it being a real effort of will to make a start at something, and how unenjoyable it all was for the first hour or so as my head was so busy with “what’s the point of this?” type questions. It was good to press on through that and keep making as the rhythm of the wheel and the repeated movements of hands shaping clay gradually pushed the negative thoughts away, and it felt good to be making something useful and hopefully beautiful too… even if it would never sell.. or it be one of the last things I did! At that early stage in the lockdown… we really didn’t know what was ahead did we! 🙂 I hope that your own work with lovely yarn is giving you a sense of purpose and peace too. Do keep up the good work! I really do believe that there is a “point” to making something beautiful by hand. So much that is around us lacks humanity and the touch of hands, I think that something made with love, patience, and creativity has never been more needed!
    Kind Thoughts,


    1. doespins says:

      Hi Peter
      How lovely to hear from you and thanks for your lovely comments.
      I’ll always be a maker as I’m sure you will be too. Yes I lost direction and purpose particularly at level 4 which I’m sure was shared by many others.
      Best wishes to you and Laura too.


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