Nantucket Looms represents some of the best artisanal industry on Nantucket. Liz Winship, who has been on the board of directors of the Nantucket Atheneum and Small Friends, worked for Nantucket Looms for years before purchasing it in 1993. And this year the store moved to its own building at 31 Main St. Famous for its hand woven throws and textiles, which are woven upstairs in the studio, the Loom also carries other home furnishings and accessories as well as the works of many local artists, from the paintings of Robert Stark Jr., and the embroidered narratives of Susan Boardman, to the carvings of master ship model builder Mark Sutherland and the fine jewelry of Susan Lister Locke. A mohair or cotton throw from the store is a coveted item and the ideal house gift to thank someone who perhaps hosted you for an extended stay. They have many other offerings such as lovely baby blankets for the pampered infant and they have a full design staff to help you outfit your beachside bungalow. I spoke with owner Liz Winship briefly about the store.
Q: So has the store changed much over the years in terms of what it carries?
LW: Yes. In the early stages of the business, the back room was all weavers and it was a small showroom in the front that showcased all of our own hand woven products. Over the years it has grown into a store showcasing over 70 artists, all local, from carvers to painters to other weavers while still carrying on the tradition of our own hand woven items. The studio is still upstairs and we now carry a whole line of decorative accessories.
Q: Are there artists who approach you?
LW: Yes, there are artists who approach us every single day so we are always evolving, always looking for new things and showcasing different peoples’ talents.
Q: What have been the most popular items this year?
LW: All of our throws are very classic and wonderful gifts or wedding gifts and a beautiful accent for any home so those are always our top sellers and our signature pieces that we are known for. As far as home furnishings, this year we’ve done lots of pillows – we can’t seem to keep pillows in the shop. We are also proud to carry Simon Pearce’s beautiful glassware – that’s another wonderful wedding gift and those items that have done very well this year.
Q: Is there any aspect of the business that has grown more than another?
LW: Yes, the interior design portion of the business has grown enormously, really starting about four years ago. We have a design studio upstairs where clients can come to meet with us and an enormous resource library that they can look through. We have our own products of course and will also sometimes shop the other stores on island when we are looking for something in particular.
Q: Well thank you very much. It was a pleasure speaking with you and good luck for the rest of the season. And are you open year round?
LW: Yes we are, we are open through the entire year. Nice to speak with you.