Saturday, October 14, 2017

Review — Lisa Klakulak's Inspired Displacement

Lisa Klakulak of Strong Felt took the audience on a journey of inspired displacement on Tuesday October 10 as she discussed the origins of her work, art, and teaching.

Lisa related a cycle of how a new body of work was inspired by travel, and then how that new body of work led to new invitations to teach or exhibit in countries or places where she had never been.

Some of these stories, and many of the pieces shown can be found on Lisa's website

The evening was introduced by Tim McLaughlin:

Merino wool fleece, silk fabric, waxed linen, copper wire, cotton fill, repurposed soap cage, keys; naturally dyed with madder root and indigo, rusted, wet felted, hand stitched construction.

Wool fiber, silk fabric, cotton and waxed linen thread, steel; wet felting techniques, clamp resisted natural dyeing with walnut hulls and indigo extract, free-motion machine stitching, hand stitched construction, non-toxic moth proofing, acetylene torch manipulation/welding

Wool fiber, cotton sewing thread, glass beads, magnets, steel; wet felted, naturally dyed with myrobalan and indigo, hand forged, sunken, planished, patinaed, oiled …

These are the descriptions that accompany some of Lisa Klaklak’s works. The evocations are to materials … and to process. The material is the place and the process is the pathway. Process is always a pathway - it is the journey that it is necessary to take to arrive at the work. We might ask ourselves … why are these particular descriptions so compelling? They read like modern poetry. And what about the actual work these descriptions have called into being?

Lisa Klakulak has taken felt work back to first principles. Like a natural philosopher she has investigated felt — its tension, its compression, its density, its resistance, its fundamental nature, where it wants to go, and where you can push it to be. 

She speaks about felt the way a winemaker speaks about grapes - the way a sculptor speaks about clay - in short, she speaks about felt like an artist. 

Her works are inspired. They can have an anatomical exactness as in the work “Foundation” - a spine constructed using differential shrinkage felted sculpting technique. Or they can sit at the juncture of materials, personal experience, and concern as in the work Reparation - a collaboration with Dyeing House Gallery in Prato Italy, to make a felted accessory that includes Murano glass fragments held in compartments felted from silk. The work was auctioned as part of a fundraiser to benefit the Anna Meyer hospital in Florence Italy.

But where does such an inspired artist turn for inspiration? That is the crux of tonight’s lecture. And here to explain it is Lisa Klakulak.

Friday, October 13, 2017

LAST MINUTE NOTICE: One Space Available in India Flint's Workshop

This almost never happens - an opening in an India Flint workshop!

October 25 - 29, 2017. Wednesday to Sunday.

“being (t)here” is an intensive site-specific philosophical practice, sifting the poetics of place through immersion in the local landscape. Each class is tailored to exploring its particular locality but also covers the fundamentals of bundle-dyeing on both textiles and paper. Though we work small, the techniques learned may be applied to larger projects when participants return to their own studios.


Read the FULL WORKSHOP description.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Ajrakh Bedding Now In!


Ajrakh is a traditional block printing technique that has been practiced for centuries.
 Natural dyes are used to create eloquent geometric patterns on cotton that reveal a remarkable play between figure and line. Blocks are hand-carved from hardwood and then used in a printing process 
that can involve between thirteen and twenty-one distinct steps. The many processes of scouring, washing, printing, dyeing, and final washing can take up to three weeks to complete. Much of the beauty and depth of Ajrakh cloth comes from the intricacy of the imprint that is left by the artisan’s hand. Instantly recognizable - there is nothing like an Ajrakh.

14 New Ajrakh Patterns In Store and Online


Meet the Artisans

These Ajrakhs are made by the Khatri family residing in the Kutch desert of Gujarat, India - a family that have been block printing for over nine generations.

These intricate designs demand great focus and commitment. The marvel of a two sided ajrakh, with the pattern registered and printed once on the front and reversed on the back, is a testament to the precision and capability of the creative spirit.

Maiwa actively seeks to support ajrakh artisans who live and work in the Kutch desert. We incorporate a large amount of their textiles in our bedding and clothing lines. While we assist in procurement of raw materials, maintaining high standards of quality, and product finishing, designs remain the realm of the craftperson.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Not To Be Missed - October Lectures


- Lecture Series -

Featuring top artisans & craftspeople from around the world.


Inspired Displacement: Translating Travel into Textiles

Lisa Klakulak
Tuesday October 10th

The Marlinespike: Roped Into Art

Tim Whitten
Wednesday October 18th

Kantha Quilts of Bengal

John Gillow
Thursday October 19th

The Craft of Travel

Charllotte Kwon & Tim McLaughlin

------ SOLD OUT ------

October lectures start at 7:45pm - doors open at 7:30pm
$15.00 each

Tickets purchased online will be held at the door.

Tickets available online at
or in the Maiwa store on Granville Island

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Clothing Just Added Online


These garments are designed to take advantage of the unique character of  handwoven selvedge. Cloth made by hand on a loom has an edge which simply does not exist with mill made yardage. We have designed around this and made it a feature of our clothing.

Handwoven cloth has rhythm and metre that is directly related to how it is made. The edge of the cloth, known as the selvedge, has a character that is formed not only by the weaver throwing the shuttle, but also moving the bamboo stretcher used to keep the fabric under horizontal tension. Weavers love the selvedge in the same way potters love a glaze or cabinet makers love a dove-tail joint. For those who can read them they reveal the personality of the maker.

Slow clothes take time … every day in our store we have conversations with our customers: we introduce the artisans and explain who they are. We point out weave structures, natural dye techniques, and show how hand-tied bandhani is done. Held between thumb and finger, the cloth transmits something very difficult to put into words —
but easy to feel. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Neutral Territory - Featured Workshop





Emotional power in colour comes from the over and undertones achieved in dyeing. As every painter knows, blacks and greys contain a wealth of colour information that, like music, can create harmony or dissonance with the rest of the artist’s palette. This is nowhere more true than in the so-called neutral shades, where the dyer has the capability to introduce subtle variations to great effect.
Carol Soderlund has an international reputation as master of precision dyeing. In this workshop she will lead students through precision dyeing - both to create colour studies and also to use in creative applications. 


"You are one of the finest teachers that I have ever had.  I tend to be a person who takes a lot of classes. You are organized, have detailed instructions printed out so that we can succeed when we are at home and can’t ask you, and have so many alternative suggestions for projects at the end that it is staggering. I love the fact that in each class I learned a different technique for dyeing fabric.  Your knowledge base is incredible".

"I am going home with lots of colour and so much more! I have nothing but a MOUNTAIN of compliments for Carol Soderlund’s teaching skills and knowledge and a heart so full of gratitude for the opportunity to learn from the best".

"Carol Soderlund is fabulous that’s why I’m taking my fourth class with her …"

Monday, September 25, 2017

Review - Sophena's Indigo Social with Special Guests

Sophena Kwon demonstrates shibori techniques with master ajrakh block printers Jabbar and Adam Khatri.
On Saturday September 23rd Sophena Kwon presented a very special version of her enormously successful Indigo Social. In addition to the shaped resist techniques taught by Sophena, each participant received a square of cloth prepared with the preliminary printing of an ajrakh cloth. Jabbar Khatri and his son Adam personally manned their natural fermentation indigo vats and hand dipped the squares of cloth.

It was a memorable evening filled with the magic of indigo and the excitement of the reveal - as people untied and opened their finished pieces after dyeing.

Adam (left) and Jabbar (right) dipping student's cloth in the natural date vat.

Participants outside Maiwa East where they rinsed and opened their finished pieces.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Review - Masterpieces on Exhibit — Still in Print

Master craftsmen Jabbar and Adam Khatri demonstrated the art of ajrakh in front of a full house at the Maiwa East exhibition space on September 16, 2017. The evening was introduced by Charllotte Kwon.

Jabbar Khatri plotting the lines of a new piece.

The Khatris have been taking the traditional art of hand block printing into new territory with the production of works that are considered to be on the masterpiece level. These works involve the custom cutting of special blocks and the laborious charting of new geometries. Unlike anything which has been seen before in the ajrakh tradition these pieces are ample evidence of the evolution of the art by skilled hands.

Adam Khatri takes over from his father and plots the outline with pencil.

Double sided ajrakh print inspired by islamic tilework.

These masterworks show innovation both in design and in the shades of natural dyes.

Masterworks inspired by the natural world.

Imagery included images from over twenty years of Maiwa's relationship with the Khatris.

Detail of a masterwork showing Jabbar and Adam's flawless printing technique.

At the end of the evening Jabbar reviews the progress of the piece ...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review - The Art of Ajrakh

Traditional block printers Jabbar and Adam Khatri took a rapt audience through the history and development of their craft. It was one of those evenings when one feels privileged to be part of a larger world - in this case that world is printed on cloth using hand-carved wooden blocks and natural dyes. Creatively this art is one of the most remarkable and eloquent ways to pattern cloth.

The evening was introduced by Liberty Ericson who recalled her own visit to the Dhamadka studio in order to set the scene. Here is her evocative text:

Good evening everyone, and welcome to the Art of Ajrakh lecture. Tonight we will transport you into the world of Ajrakh block printing; a tradition that has existed for hundreds years.

Jabbar and Adam Khatri are the 9th and 10th generation of block printers. It was Jabbar's father, Mahammad Sidik, who saw that traditional knowledge would be lost if he did not teach his children. Each of those children Razak, Ismail, and Jabbar has gone on to become a master craftsman and enjoy international recognition for their work.

Jabbar has participated in exhibitions in Europe, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, not to mention numerous exhibitions and fashion shows within India. Now his son Adam is also seeing that all over the world there is great respect for Ajrakh, and for traditional dyeing and printing techniques. 

Like many of you I have fallen captive to the beauty and the magic of ajrakh cloth. From the radiant colours to the intricate designs, one can only stop and think WOW this cloth must have a story; and it does…

In 2015 I was given the opportunity to assist Charllotte on her textile tour in India.Tonight I would like to share an excerpt from my journal of my first experience in Damadka and when I truly learnt what ajrak feels like.

“Today we arrived in Damadka.

As we all stepped off the bus I was met with an incredible heat unlike anything I had felt before … and I thought…”only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun…” and of course … enthusiastic textile lovers. 

A smiling bearded man greeted us, later I learnt he was Jabbar Khatri. As he ushered us in, I became more and more lost in the sights and sounds of this place. The rhythm of the men washing, fabric-twisting, and slapping large pieces of cotton on the sides of giant stone basins.

**Sllllaaap…woosh slllaaaaap woosh” rinsing and slapping…twiiiisting and slapping

The smell of a sweet and smokey fire rising up from under the dye pots.

And In the distance I could see loooong strips of cloth drying on the desert ground, that ground stained with blues and reds…the echos of so many lengths of cloth that had been placed here before.

We continued to where the block printers were pounding and tapping. It was something like: thump tap tap tap thump …  Thump tap tap tap thump…that sound became the pattern upon the cloth on the table…that same cloth I saw drying in the sun just behind us…I realized that this sound was ubiquitous throughout the entire space.

Thump thump tap tap thump thump tap tap… pounding thumping and tapping patterns. Like a sacred morse code telling me a story … the story of the life of ajrakh cloth.

Yes! HERE the cloth seems alive.

All of this is alive.

Now back in Vancouver I realize this cloth is no longer just a bed sheet or a table cloth…but an experience…alive and full of history that has transcended so many generations.

You see, all of the sights and sounds are held within it’s patterns  Every time I hold a piece of ajrakh in my hands I am transported back to Damadka.

Tonight this experience will be passed on to you…through Jabbar and Adam who have travelled far to be here and share with you the story of their family, the story of their ajrakh… 

Liberty Ericson

Inspired? Check out our October Lectures. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review - Inspired by Tilleke Schwarz's Strange Society

Inspired by our Strange Society was the apt title of the lecture given by Dutch embroidery artist Tilleke Schwarz on September 12th. Tilleke's return to Vancouver was welcomed by a full house. THe audience were not disappointed as Tilleke presented a wide-ranging survey of her work and inspiration delivered with her characteristic dry wit. For reader's who might be new to Tilleke's work we are pleased to reprint Bonnie Adie's excellent introduction to the evening.

Good evening. All of us here tonight are so grateful we have Maiwa in our City providing us with the opportunity to enjoy so many wonderful lectures. Tonight is the third in this year’s series and I know you will be fascinated by what Tilleke Schwarz has to tell us – albeit without oil lamps and candles.

The title of this lecture is ‘Inspired by Our Strange Society’. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Society is a large group of people who live together in an organized way, making decisions about how to do things and sharing work that needs to be done.

Over the centuries, societies have been depicted by writers and visual artists so that we today can learn about what societies from the past were like. We have all read or been read to fairy tales which originally began as simple stories orally passed through generations followed by the written word and illustrations. The significance of these is that the evolution of the fairy tale tells us about ourselves and our changing society.

Our very own First Nations and aboriginals throughout the world illustrate to us traditional meanings and personal stories through carved totem poles, drawings and dress.

But what about those who have commented on society through stitch? The Bayeaux Tapestry, a 70 metre long embroidery depicts the Battle of Hastings in 1066, but within that work, we see their ships, their animals and the way of life in those times.

The women in many countries of the world historically told stories of their lives through a language of stitches, colour, and motifs stitched on their garments and from those one could garner their observations, experiences, trials and tribulations.

Opus Anglicanum in 13th Century Britain was a most opulent time in embroidery, depicting society in both the religious and secular senses.

In Medieval times in England, highly prized personal documents were created in needlework, including heraldic imagery declaring pedigree through ancestry and marriage. Wealth and taste were expressed with exquisite craftsmanship.

More recent depictions of society in stitch is The Quaker Tapestry – a series of 75 separate crewel embroidered panels and is a ‘celebration of insights that have motivated the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) since their founding in 1652 and the Great Tapestry of Scotland which is comprised of 160 panels, a story of the Scots and stitched by over 1,000 of their people.

Throughout the world you will find stitched tapestries from which we glean so much history of societies, past and present.

This evening will allow us to follow the personal embroidery adventures of Tilleke Schwarz and take the opportunity to be inspired by a great artist who uses a needle and thread on cloth and gives us her interpretation of our society today. 

She uses ancient and traditional techniques with a contemporary eye. Her ‘stories’ are graffiti like, inspired by traditional samplers, the mass media, daily life and cats and full of graphic humour and text. They are ‘maps of modern life’. I wonder what those who follow us will think of our current society as they view her work in the future.

Tilleke’s work is extensively exhibited, and she lectures and teaches in her home country and abroad.

And here is a little known fact about Tilleke. Although she is from the Netherlands, she hates cheese. Now isn’t that interesting?

Bonnie Adie

Inspired? Check out our October Lectures.