Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review - Return To The Illustrated Stitch

On September 12 Janet Bolton returned to the Maiwa Textile Symposium to talk about her life and art. Janet's art is one of simple purity in which swatches of fabrics will suggest, with due encouragement and consideration, a vignette from childhood, a kite's journey across the sky, a day at the beach, or a warm grassy meadow.

"I love creating with fabric" Janet said, "If something is not right in your composition, you just pick it up and move it. You can't do that with paint, or pencil or chalk." Bolton also confessed to an enormous collection of swatches. "People often give me small bits of fabric that they can't bear to throw out." She said. She also confessed to coveting the colour or texture of the scarf of a passerby. "I sometimes think they wouldn't mind if just a tiny bit went missing" she joked.

It was a thoroughly delightful evening. Students registered in each of her three workshops are in for a special and unforgettable few days.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lock Up Something Special

Artisan Made Locks

Handcrafted security

Maiwa East has just received a collection of handmade brass and iron locks. These are mostly antiques that were made in small metalworking shops. They are stamped with the number of levers in the mechanism and the maker's brand. They feature hand riveted brass plates. We have cleaned them up, oiled the mechanism and tested the key. They are the perfect lock for some of our antique cash boxes or writer's chests.

Small locks. $29.95 each. Brass and steel. Can be used on small boxes or lockers.

Medium sized locks. $39.95 each. Brass and steel. 

Large locks. #49.95 each. Brass and steel. Perfect for a chest, especially the type that holds larger treasure.

Small iron "screw key" locks. These have brass ornamental plates on the body and an ornate
screw key that it turned to open the lock. Prices vary starting at $29.95.

Large iron locks. We have some unusual variations, including the lower far left
- a lock which requires three keys to open. And the peculiar key lock in the upper centre.
Prices vary, starting at $39.95.

Maiwa East
1310 Odlum Drive
Vancouver BC Canada

Open Thrusday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Open Sunday 11am - 5pm

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review - Art Quilt Maps

Valerie Goodwin

On Monday September 8, the Maiwa Textile Symposium welcomed Valerie Goodwin to Vancouver. Valerie is best known for transforming the medium of quilting into a powerful artistic statement that combines the historic, political, aesthetic, and most importantly, the cartographic. Valerie spoke to a capacity audience about her personal development, her teaching, and her artistic practice.

A detail from the display present at
Valerie Goodwin's lecture.

The feeling of the evening might be best caught by Toby Smith's excellent introduction. We are happy to reprint that here in full:

Art Quilt vs Bed Quilt.

A distinction is often made between art quilts and bed quilts. This distinction, some say, has to do with placement. Art quilts hang on walls; bed quilts lie on beds. Others might say it has to do with pattern and composition. Bed quilters are precise with their points, meticulous in their stitching, and symmetrical of pattern. Art quilters are not concerned with the rules of quilting at all. This distinction between art quilts and bed quilts usually has unfortunate hierarchic consequences. Unfortunate for bed quilts.

Toby Smith introducing Valerie Goodwin.

But after thinking about art for a lifetime I’ll argue that the difference between a bed coverlet and a piece of serious fine art, is that art inhabits the realm of ideas. While a traditional pieced and stitched coverlet is not meaningless, an art work in the modern western convention intentionally enters a dialogue that challenges both the artist and the viewer. The best textile artists in modern art practice push the horizons of imagination, and materials. An art work that takes fibre as its medium is not substantially different from an art work that uses paint or clay or marble or steel as its vehicle. Art in this modern sense is an on-going conversation about the world and about art itself. In the wonderful world of traditional quilting, it is a great accomplishment to reproduce faithfully a traditional design using traditional hand techniques. Indeed it is important to do this work as it brings forward women’s social and material history. But the worst thing you can say to a modern textile artist is the worst thing you can say to any other modern artist, “It’s been done”. The cutting edge artist has to say something new, preferably something smart. They need to enter the dialogue of interpretation, either engaging materials in a new way or bringing challenges to accepted ideas.

Valerie’s Contribution

Valerie Goodwin’s work does both. Her art makes an insightful contribution to this conversation. And the voice of this dialogue is fibre. When she confronts high art with craft, she makes us reconsider both the smug elitism of modern art and the homey, domestic character of cloth. She takes architectural design principles out of their comfort zone, putting them in conversation with the symbolic universe of maps. She uses painterly techniques as well as the precision of architectural drafting. Valerie’s unique compositions engage the traditional, single point perspective of art with the multiple points of view of architecture. This constant confusing of the eye and perspective draws attention to itself, always provoking the viewer to try to make sense of what she sees. Valerie Goodwin intends to communicate and she forces us to think about our relationship to the land, to history, to design.  For example, she throws together images of a modern city with the brutal memory of slavery, reminding us that history is never over. Again architecture, fibre technique and maps combine.

Valerie’s Bio

Valerie Goodwin has a Bachelor’s degree from Yale and a Masters in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. She has been a professor of architecture for many years. Valerie is amazingly prolific for someone with a day job. Her work has been accepted into countless juried and invitational exhibitions, many times winning Honourable Mention or Best in Show. She exhibits sometimes five times a year. So how is it that Valerie Goodwin has had time to write all those articles and now a book, called Art Quilt Maps: Capture a Sense of Place with Fiber Collage? As well, Valerie maintains a busy teaching schedule all over the US. We are fortunate to have her here for the Maiwa Symposium. She has won awards as an artist, as a quilt maker, and as a teacher.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Review - Beyond Tradition

Diana Sanderson of the Silk Weaving Studio
introducing the evening.
On Thursday Sept 4, Professor Masayoshi Ohashi took the audience through an incredible survey of the textile artisans who preceded him and talked about how their influences shaped his own formidable body of work. With a mixture of humour and wit, Ohashi introduced provocative new ways to think about dyeing. For example, he became fascinated with the gradations formed when cloth is dipped into indigo. If the cloth is not fully immersed, the colour creeps up the cloth as the water soaks the fabric.

Professor Masayoshi Ohashi

Ohashi considered this moment and perceived it as a line - a border that marks the region where the water has traveled and which separates it from the regions where the water chose not to go. It became the basis for a body of work called "Water Carries Colour" some of which will be on exhibit at the Silk Weaving Studio between September 5 and 26, 2014.

Even those familiar with the traditional clamp resist technique (known in Japan as itajime) were astounded with the possible variations that Professor Ohashi presented. One variation on itajime involves cutting a space out of the resist block. In the past this technique was refined to the point where up to 40 individual blocks (each about 12 x 16 inches) were carved to create either repeating imagery or figurative work. Through his own research Ohashi determined that historic blocks were made from a very particular type of pine tree. He was able to locate a stand and in his words he "purchased a tree." The image below shows the itajime boards that he created from this tree and the resulting print. He also exhibited historic boards that were used in Japan during the Edo period. It was the first time that these rare objects have left Japan. 

Itajime boards are used in a manner which is the exact opposite of blockprinting. The higher areas do not carry colour, rather they create a physical resist. The dye pools into the "rooms" that have been carved out and contacts the cloth in these open spaces.

Carved itajime boards and the resulting print.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review - The Legendary Nuno Corporation

In a post-industrial world where cloth and its manufacture are so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible, we hope to reinvest fabric with meaning and, through the work of skilled hands, rediscover its many pleasures.
With those words, Charllotte Kwon opened the 2014 Maiwa Textile Sympsoium. She handed the microphone to Diana Sanderson of the Silk Weaving Studio, who introduced the first speaker of the lecture series.

Reiko Sudo of the Nuno Corporation

Reiko Sudo is the creative force behind the legendary Nuno Corporation. A company that has combined traditional hand-weaving techniques with many innovations designed to manipulate the texture, hand, and presence of the cloth. When Reiko took over the Nuno Corporation, she was told she would be lucky if she could keep it going for another three years. It has now been running for more than thirty.

Speaking to a sell-out crowd, Reiko described her many cutting-edge processes. Such as using a culinary blow torch to burn through the fibers by hand in very specific locations. It was, she said, like making a cloth crème brûlée. Also shown were images of a time consuming origami technique so complex that it takes three skilled artisans an entire day to fold a single meter. The audience engaged Reiko with questions after the formal presentation and Reiko explained how she and the Nuno Corporation commission both hand-weavers and industrial mills to play a part in the production of extraordinary cloths.

Reiko gave her lecture after presenting the first workshop of the 2014 Textile symposium, the Sudo Salon. Students spent a full day with Reiko learning the philosophy and motivation through which cloth is deconstructed and remade to achieve imaginative and diverse results.


Tonight's (Sept 4) lecture is Beyond Tradition by Masayoshi Ohashi. It is the second night of incredible textiles flowing from Japanese traditions and into the future. Tickets are available at the door.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Water Carries Colour, Water Waves Air

Water Carries Colour, Water Waves Air 

Reiko Sudo of Nuno Corporation 
Prof. Masayoshi Ohashi, 
Tokyo Zokei University of Art and Design

Two Lectures and an Exhibition

LECTURE: The Legendary Nuno Corporation
Reiko Sudo, Sept 3 

LECTURE: Beyond Tradition
Masayoshi Ohashi, Sept 4

EXHIBITION September 5 - 26
10-5 daily

Opening Reception:
Friday September 5, 6-8 pm
1531 Johnston St (on waterfront next to Sandbar Restaurant)
Granville Island, Vancouver Canada

Free Admission. Please RSVP to 604-687-7455

Reiko Sudo was born in 1953 and studied painting before focusing on textile design and hand weaving at Musashino Art University, Tokyo (1975), where she also taught.
She joined the Nuno Corporation in 1984 and since 1987 has been the design director as well as Professor at Tokyo Zokei University. Her inspiring experimental textiles have been exhibited worldwide and feature in many museum collections.  Nuno means “functional fabric” and the Nuno Corporation, which began as a specialist textile shop in Tokyo is now recognized as a world leader in the design of experimental contemporary fashion and interior textiles. Tapping into both high and low-tech solutions and using synthetic and natural fibers, Nuno has pushed forward the boundaries of textile design in terms of both technology and aesthetics.  
The Nuno Corporation specializes in a number of experimental techniques including warp-printing, applied decoration such as embroidery and overstitching (sashiko). Abstract patterns are also a feature of its flocked, heat-shrunk, and salt-shrunk fabrics, although texture, colour, sheen and translucency are the primary characteristics of these textiles. Nuno has exerted a huge impact on the textile industry internationally with innovations in fashion fabrics spilling out into furnishings.
Reiko Sudo was invited to Vancouver by the Silk Weaving Studio and Maiwa Textile Symposium as a role model for the integration of craft, art and industry.

 Jun’ichi Arai and the Nuno Corporation

In 1984 Arai founded the Nuno Corporation.  
Jun’ichi Arai grew up in the craft-weaving centre of Kiryu, a small town north of Tokyo, and established himself as an independent designer in 1955.  Arai  pioneered the use of computers and scanners in translating complex textile designs for the loom. “Fine contemporary cloths are the results fo the human spirit and new technology working hand in hand,” he observed.

Although Junichi Arai began working independently, Nuno’s free spirited approach to textiles has continued up to the present day under the inspired leadership of Reiko Sudo, the company’s director and chief designer.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 workshops - the shortlist

Spaces are available in the following featured workshops

Valerie Goodwin

$495 includes 65 lab fee
September 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,  - Class Limit 14
Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC

Cross-fertilization between disciplines can enrich how an artist approaches her work. This workshop will focus on the basic principles of graphic composition used by many architects. Students will learn to create rich and complex arrangements using principles of scale, merging, layering/overlapping, ranking, and framing. 

Beginning with a series of quick exercises, students will gain a grounding in the fundamentals of composition and begin employing the elements and principles of design. 

Valerie Goodwin will work closely with students, guiding them to more advanced explorations that afford opportunities to experiment and invent. Valerie is well known for creating a flexible environment of encouragement, order, and inspiration. 

Building on these creative foundations, students will tap into the right and left sides of the brain to design a thoughtful and imaginative composition from a distinctive perspective. Each student will create a cartographic art quilt that tells the story of a particular place.

Valerie Goodwin joins us from the USA.

Janet Bolton

$295 includes 50 lab fee
Second Class - September 16, 17 - Class Limit 15
Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC

Cloth and stitch combine with a deceptive simplicity in this workshop taught by UK textile artist Janet Bolton. 

Famous for her evocative textile pictures that convey the feeling of storybook illustrations, Janet aims to give each student the confidence to work directly with the fabrics at hand. That is, with an idea in mind, the student will select textures and colour combinations from available fabrics rather than working out a composition in another medium (painting or drawing) and then attempting to transpose that concept into fabric.

The class will discuss compositional ideas, subject matter, and the choice of suitable materials both old and new. Students will explore the idea of allowing the composition to develop and change as the work progresses, emphasizing the wonderful freedom and directness this way of working allows—right to the very last stitch. Janet will demonstrate “needle turning” techniques used to finalize the shape of the different components, the placing of those components, and the use of thread as a drawn line.

Janet will bring originals of her own work and a selection of pieces at different stages of development. She will also have various pieces that in her opinion have not been successful; these have led to many an interesting discussion!

The actual techniques are very simple: hand sewing at all stages. Each student will be given as much individual help as they need, particularly at the early compositional stage. After the general introduction, the whole emphasis will be on individual tuition.

The workshop will include advice on presentation of work, including framing, and will end with a group discussion on the works produced.

Rene Evans

$250 includes 85 lab fee
September 17, 18,  - Class Limit 14
Maiwa East: 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver BC

Felt is one of the oldest known forms of manipulated fibre. Felting appears coincidental with animal husbandry and produces a range of items from clothing and toys to sculpture, tents, and even industrial tools. Often an art and tradition of nomadic peoples, felting is making a worldwide resurgence and is gaining recognition.

In this two-day, project-oriented workshop, students will explore the many aspects of felt, from three-dimensional hats, boots, and bags to warm felt coats and lightweight, gossamer “nuno” felts. Students will learn basic feltmaking techniques by creating a sample binder of felts of different weights and felts from different wool fibres. They will select a final project which can be a three-dimensional project (such as a hat, bag, boots), flat felt yardage, or “nuno” yardage (such as scarf or vest fronts). The techniques learned in the workshop can be applied to all felted projects.

Michael Brennand-Wood

$295 includes 45 lab fee
September 21, 22 - Class Limit 14
Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC

Restoration, recycling, and remaking are the cornerstones of any textile practice. The trade of textiles inevitably resulted in the assimilation of motifs, patterns, and imagery—at times re-configured and re-imagined into the most unusual of contexts.

For this workshop participants will elect to bring, choose, or be given an existing textile artifact. They will then begin the process of remaking the original object or image so that it evolves into something different and unexpected.

Decisions may well be shaped by the artist’s desire to  work from a transgressive or loving perspective. One must decide whether to destroy, alter, or substantiate the original intention and meaning of a work.

Participants may present a sequence of experimentation that articulates their thinking and thought processes. Michael is interested in the strategies and critical analysis students employ over the two days. Additional processes may encompass photography, text, drawing, or collage. 

Critique and group discussion are an important component of the course. Participants need to be open-minded and willing to experiment with concept and media. They will be encouraged to develop original solutions in relation to the core aims of the workshop; this is not a technical or prescriptive course.  

Teaching will largely be on a one-to-one basis. The workshop will close with a group discussion to share results and set a personal agenda for the student’s home studio.

This workshop is a special opportunity to work directly with Michael Brennand-Wood, an internationally acclaimed artist, curator, and speaker from the UK. 

Rene Evans

$250 includes 85 lab fee
September 22, 23,  - Class Limit 14
Maiwa East: 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver BC

Feltmaking is growing in popularity. As felting methods advance, they are often combined with other textile techniques. 

In this workshop students will learn how felt can be pleated and resist-dyed like fine silk using shibori techniques, how gossamer felts can be made lighter and lighter, how felt is sculptured into three-dimensional forms that incorporate multiple layers, and how the boundaries of felt are being challenged.

Students will also have a hands-on opportunity to explore the many new aspects of feltmaking. Emphasis will be placed on creating images and colour on the felted surface and creating textures in the finished felt. 

Students will use rovings and pre-felts, as well learn how to incorporate other textile structures such as weaving, knitting, or crochet into their feltmaking. Several of the pieces will be dyed during the workshop. The use of multiple resists to create sculptural or wearable pieces will be discussed. Each day as students learn new techniques, they will complete two or more small projects. 

Some previous feltmaking experience or a prior basic felt workshop is required.

Instructor Bio:

Rene Evans was born and educated in New Zealand. Rene Corder Evans has always had a love for fine wools, but it was not until she returned to weaving in 1995 that she developed a deep love and appreciation for the art of felt making. In 1996 she was introduced to the Fashion Design Program at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), graduating with a Diploma of Fashion Design in 1999. From 2001 to 2012 Rene was a Textile Instructor within the Fashion Design Program at UFV. She divided her time between creating one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces, teaching weaving at the university level, and her career as a business administrator, enjoying the challenges of all three. In 2012 Rene retired and now she spends time in New Zealand and Canada and is finding more time for textile arts.

Michelle Sirois-Silver

$195 includes 65 lab fee
September 29, 30,  - Class Limit 15
Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC

The original hooked rugs were a matter of thrift. Yet they left a legacy rich in personal history and storytelling.

In this two-day workshop students learn the basic rug-hooking and finishing techniques needed to make their own hand-hooked rugs and accessories. The class will hand hook fabric strips onto a linen backing.

Each student receives one-on-one attention from the instructor. Students may select from one of three designs provided by the instructor or are welcome to create their own design. They will leave the workshop with a completed, hand-hooked, 20 cm x 20 cm sampler. Topics covered in the workshop include fabric selection, backing, the sourcing of supplies, and the history of hand-hooked rugs in Canada.

This two-day workshop is ideal for those who are beginners as well as those who are relatively new to the craft and may want to refresh their skills.

Instructor Bio

Michelle Sirois-Silver is a McGown-certified instructor who teaches rug-hooking workshops on design and colour planning in Canada and the United States.

Her work has been exhibited at fibreEssence, Contemporary Craft in BC, Surface Design Traveling Exhibition, FibreWorks Gallery, Convergence, Gibsons Fibre Arts Festival, and the Silk Purse Arts Centre. She has a Creative Arts Diploma from Vanier College, a BA Specialization in Communications from Concordia University, and a Public Relations Certificate from the University of Toronto. She studied colour theory with Michele Wipplinger and at BC Open University. Ms. Sirois-Silver first began teaching rug-hooking in 1998 and formed Big Dog Hooked Rug Designs in 2004.

Jessica de Haas

$295 includes 100 lab fee
October 7, 8, 9 - Class Limit 14
Maiwa East: 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver BC

In this exploratory three-day workshop, students dive into the exciting and magical world of felt. The workshop will use both ancient and contemporary techniques and is suitable for both beginning and experienced felters looking to refine their skills and expand their creative vision.

Workshop participants will discover the many fascinating ways to create pattern and design on the felted surface. These include fabric inlays, colour layering and cutout, creation and use of partial felts and wool and silk “papers” to achieve crisp lines, and use of a dyebath.

Students will be guided through a series of sample-making projects, and all projects will be mounted in a sample book for future reference and inspiration. Participants will also select a final project, such as a wall hanging or yardage, to further explore what they have learned.

Instructor Bio

Jessica de Haas has had a life-long fascination with fibre arts. It may have started when she received a Fisher-Price loom for her eighth birthday and wove her first piece.

Growing up rurally in the interior of British Columbia gave her a great appreciation for the beauty of the natural world and nurtured her creativity and imagination. When she was a teenager, she discovered batik and started her first clothing company. At 18 years of age, she went to Indonesia to study with a family of batik artists. This was the beginning of a series of travels involving grassroots study and involvement in the local communities she visited. Formally, she studied fibre arts at Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, BC. In 2003 she started her felt clothing line, Funk Shui, and she has been creating and selling out of her Granville Island atelier since 2006.

Briony Jean Foy

$295 includes 50 lab fee
October 6,7,8 - Class Limit 14
Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC

Learn a needle-felting process that is as simple and spontaneous as fingerpainting or drawing with a pencil. It’s even erasable until “set” by washing. Anyone who usually works with technical or material constraints will love the freedom and playfulness of this process.

Through hands-on exercises and illustrated lectures, students will learn about basic design elements, colour theory, and the nature and properties of fibres as they relate to needle-felting techniques. 

Students will combine yarns and roving with handwoven, wet-felted, or purchased cloth. They will learn how to choose and combine materials to create complex fibre works with colour, depth, and texture. The class will not only experiment with techniques and materials to create samples but also complete finished independent work.

Participants also discuss ways of adding this process to their existing work: painting, jewellery, ceramics, woodworking, quilting, collage, or any other medium. This workshop is designed for everyone from professional artists to novices who just want to explore their creative side. 

Needle felting does not require expensive equipment or facilities. The process is portable, and the cost is entirely up to the artisan. Materials are readily accessible, and needle felting is a great way to use found and recycled materials. It is also a great way to experiment with small amounts of more expensive fabrics. Whether you are interested in form or function, concept or aesthetic, process or result, needle felting is addictive.

Instructor Bio

Briony Jean Foy  designs and creates one-of-a-kind woven and felted pieces in her studio in Madison, WI. She teaches weaving and gives workshops and private lessons across the USA and Canada. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and is the recipient of a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship Award in recognition of her work in the visual arts.

Briony Jean Foy

$195 includes 30 lab fee
October 9,10 - Class Limit 14
Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC

Needle felting is a popular craft form, but the process can also result in expressive and sophisticated works of art. In this workshop students will create an original landscape, portrait, or abstract composition suitable for framing or presentation. 

Students will be introduced to the basics of the needle-felting technique and elements of design theory. Whether you work entirely from your imagination or start out with inspirational images or photographs, you’ll learn how to break down the design in terms of composition, colour blending, perspective, and transparency.

The instructor will work with students individually to bring their compositions to life. As in painting or collage, students will build layers of colour, depth, and texture with yarns, rovings, and bits of handmade or commercial fabrics. The class will end with a discussion of finishing and presentation methods.

With no experience necessary, this workshop is designed for students of all levels from beginners to more experienced artisans. It may be taken as an extension of Needle Felting: A New Adventure, but students should feel free to take either or both workshops.

Instructor Bio

Briony Jean Foy  designs and creates one-of-a-kind woven and felted pieces in her studio in Madison, WI. She teaches weaving and gives workshops and private lessons across the USA and Canada. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and is the recipient of a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship Award in recognition of her work in the visual arts.

Sivia Harding

$250. includes 50 lab fee
October 14,15  - Class Limit 15
Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC

After many enthusiastic requests, Sivia has combined her two short classes into a single course. Here she describes it in her own words:

Möbius knitting has had a special place in my heart ever since I learned the basic technique from Cat Bordhi several years ago. Now (with her blessing), I teach Cat’s cast-on along with my particular enhancements of this simple yet endlessly fascinating form.

On day one of this class, we start by casting on for my Harmonia’s Rings Cowl. As I guide you through the twists and turns of the cowl, you experience firsthand how the mysterious and fascinating shape evolves. My cowl design goes a little further as we create shaping within the Möbius form to create a beautiful garment that is modifiable for a wide range of body types. A tunic and a sweater based on the cowl pattern are also shown.

On day two, we begin to explore what really makes the knitted Möbius tick. I share all of my tricks of designing for this half-twisted, one-edged shape that truly has no inside or outside. We learn what stitches best interact with the structure, in which, amazingly, patterns are displayed in both mirror-imaged and upside down fashion on either side of the cast-on. Which stitches will produce symmetry? There are some guidelines but also ways to bend the rules and produce stitch patterns, not all symmetrical, that are interesting and beautiful. As we work a sampler in worsted weight yarn, I guarantee that students will have many “aha” moments as we see stitch patterns develop in amazing and sometimes unpredictable ways. Many Möbius garments are shown as inspiration. 

Students need to know how to knit and purl and perform basic increases and decreases and will have successfully worked a knitting project in the round.

Instructor Bio

Sivia Harding says knitted lace is her first and enduring love. As a teacher, Sivia appeals to the creative spirit, and few can remain untouched by her verve and passion for her subjects. In her classes, technique, though important, is a means to an end, which is always the delight of following the joyful knitting muse wherever it may lead.

Sivia’s classes and workshops are often built around making a particular project, but only as a jumping off place for discussions on all sorts of related knitterly things. Students will often find themselves inspired to experiment outside the realm of the original project, sometimes coming up with highly original designs of their own as a result.

Noriko Narahira 

$495 includes 75 lab fee
October 15, 16, 17, 18,  - Class Limit 14
Maiwa East: 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver BC

Noriko Narahira has spent most of her life thinking about textiles. A working artist with over twenty years experience, she often goes to a place where an idea, thought, or emotion can begin to grow into a profound artwork. 

This meditative state is also a process. It can be taught and practiced to build awareness and develop a deeper sensibility toward the aspects of the textile world that fascinate, excite, and inspire us.

In this workshop Noriko will take students through a series of exercises and techniques that build their expressive potential. In her own words: “The stitches themselves create texture and transparency; in fact they can bond to create the cloth itself, but they can also be used as a way of drawing, of adding colour and tone, or of creating shadow. As the resulting work develops and takes form, it takes on the qualities of an object, with everything this implies in contemporary art language.”

Students will work with a sewing machine using a free-style embroidery foot and will try out basic hand-stitching techniques. They will actively work on translating ideas into textiles. The results will be gathered into a sketchbook to form an invaluable guide and wellspring for future work.

Noriko joins us from Japan.

Shannon Wardroper

$350 includes 75 lab fee
October 19, 20, 21,  - Class Limit 14
Maiwa East: 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver BC

In this workshop students will be introduced to a fascinating and multi-layered technique. Centuries-old Japanese kimono wax-resist dyeing (roketsuzome) will be combined with contemporary screenprinting and embellishing techniques. The results can yield a stunning mixture of image and tone.

Here, layers of dye are applied in a painterly way, alternately with wax to lock in the desired effects and create a piece that has a unique air of mystery and intrigue.  Strip-piecing and embellishment serve to semi-abstract the composition and as a meditative design exercise. 

Using combinations of technique and imagery, participants will create a range of fabric reference pieces as a future resource. Students will be well on their way to a finished piece by day three. 

This class is a rare opportunity to work beside Shannon Wardroper, who travels from Salt Spring Island. Shannon is a master craftsperson who is also the force behind a successful artisan business.

Instructor Bio  

Shannon Wardroper of Geernaerts Textile Arts is an artisan for whom the blending of both motif and material gathered is a natural way to record a journey through multiple cultures. She has a background in textile design and art history from Alberta College of Art, Calgary, and Emily Carr College of Art, Vancouver. She has both studied and taught the last 10 years in Japan and Thailand with sojourns throughout Southeast Asia for study and research. In 2013 she completed her Masters degree in Arts Education, at SFU.

Living and working for seven years in Kyoto, Japan, where she studied traditional kimono surface design techniques and kimono dressing, she was immersed in a completely different aesthetic. She continued her study in Asia, moving to Thailand and focusing on ikat, supplementary weaving, and natural dyeing with Patricia Cheesman Naenna at Studio Naenna and Chiang Mai University.

Jane Stafford

$450 includes 80 lab fee
October 20, 21, 22, 23 - Class Limit 12
Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC

In January of 2011 Jane Stafford travelled to India with the Maiwa Foundation and had the great privilege of observing some of India’s finest weavers. She visited again with Maiwa in early 2014. This workshop has been created based on the extraordinary pieces that Jane observed and brought back.

Jane writes: “India’s tradition of clothing itself with uncut cloth has created a weaver’s paradise. Everywhere I looked I saw magnificent coloured and textured cloths.  Often the simplicity of the handloom techniques led to the most sensual and ingenious of fabrics.”

Join master weaver Jane Stafford as she shares her weaver’s insights into Indian technique. Students will learn about supplementary warps used to create patterned borders over a plain weave structure, stripes, and double weaves. In addition there will be unusual embellishment techniques such as the use of sequined yarns.

Jane will set the stage by contrasting India’s handloom techniques with the craft-loom approach taken in the west. She will also present a slide show: a weaver’s perspective on an incredible tradition.

Students will need to have solid basic weaving technique and an eight-shaft table loom for the workshop. Warps will be prepared in advance and sent to the students before the workshop. During the workshop students will migrate from loom to loom creating samples of six different fabrics. Students will also receive all their weft materials so that bobbins can be prepared before the workshop.

Instructor Bio   

Jane Stafford spent seven years at the Banff School of Fine Arts both studying and teaching textiles. In 1988 she moved to Salt Spring island and opened her own business, Jane Stafford Textiles.

For many years Jane was a production weaver creating limited lines of mohair blankets and silk damask scarves and a line of chenille products. Jane loves to teach, and it has been her main focus for the last seven years. She regularly teaches and lectures throughout North America, sharing the knowledge she has gained over the past 32 years working as both a weaver and an educator. Her love of colour and her energetic enthusiasm shine through in all her classes and demonstrations. Passing on knowledge is her greatest joy.  

Jane is also a consultant to Louet North America and with them co-designed the Jane Table Loom. JST also markets a large inventory of quality yarns, looms, books, and accessories for weavers and spinners.

Gasali Adeyemo

$250 includes 65 lab fee
October 25, 26 - Class Limit 14
Maiwa East: 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver BC

In this class Gasali Adeyemo will take students through the steps of making the famous adire eleko (starch resist) cloth.

Adire eleko is the process of creating designs using cassava paste, a small broom, and a chicken feather. Imagery can be added either freehand or through the use of a stencil. Gasali will show the students how to prepare the paste, how to draw designs, how to dye the resisted cloth in indigo and finally, how to remove the cassava from the finished work.

Gasali will teach the meanings of traditional symbols and patterns as well as some of the fascinating traditional indigo lore.

Gasali joins us from the USA.

Michelle Sirois-Silver

$295 includes 75 lab fee
November 7, 8, 9,  - Class Limit 12
Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC

In this workshop hand-hooking artists will expand their repertoire of materials and techniques.

Embracing a bold and expressive approach, participants will explore two- and three-dimensional forms. Students will work with alterative materials to incorporate qualities such as texture, depth, tone, and colour into their hooking. The course will cover the different methods needed to fully integrate these materials.  

Advanced rug hooking will focus on exploration and experimentation. Students will assemble a sample book that includes materials, resources, and methods. Each day students will design and make small art pieces (6x6 inches).  These art pieces will combine the hand-hooked surface with techniques such as hand stitch, needle felt, and the fixing of metal grommets and wire. Hand hooking will be done with a range of materials from traditional wool fabrics, synthetics, and cottons to leather.

Michelle has packed the three days as fully as possible. This is an intensive workshop designed to challenge the artist. Rug hooking experience is necessary. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Charllotte Kwon Receives an Honourary Doctorate from UFV.

On Thursday June 12th Charllotte Kwon, owner of Maiwa Handprints and founder of the Maiwa Foundation, received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Fraser Valley for her work empowering artisans from developing nations and battling poverty by providing a market for their traditional crafts.

It was a proud moment for us all.

UFV Chancellor Brian Minter and President Mark Evered
present Charllotte with her hood and honourary degree, Doctor of Letters.

It was a beautiful day in June. The auditorium was filled with the friends and family of all the graduating students. As part of the convocation ceremony Charllotte gave a short address to the audience. We are pleased to reprint it here.

I’d like to express my gratitude for this honour. I am moved and humbled by the recognition.

When I was told that I was to be awarded an honourary degree from the University of the Fraser Valley I was very excited. But I was more joyful for the recognition that this award confers on what I think is most important: to elevate the status of craft and artisans. That is my passion and the idea that motivates all that I do.

When I thought about how to address an auditorium of graduates, I thought: each person is like a length of cloth.

For many of the artisans I work with, cloth is believed to be a living thing. Something invested with potential. As a cloth ages, it records a narrative. Like a person, its best qualities become more pronounced with time, and like a person, it can be stained or tainted. Like a life it can unravel, or be torn apart.

But it can also be mended, cleansed, renewed, embroidered, patched, and ultimately coveted.

The ultimate prestige textiles, the ones that make collectors weep, are not the ones that display a machine-like perfection, instead they are the ones that exhibit the most human of qualities. They are the ones that come from a particular tradition or culture, and yet speak in an individual voice. I work mostly in India. There, uncut cloth (fabric taken from the loom and not cut or tailored) is considered holy. 

Your life is a cloth that you yourself are weaving.

And what will make you competent weavers is your ability to learn. If you are graduating here today, you have already spent years in an environment where everyone is learning. I want to emphasize just how rare that culture is. The ultimate goal of education is simple: to encourage your curiosity to the point where it becomes self-sustaining. By teaching you how to learn, an education provides a mechanism through which your curiosity is never stifled, instead it becomes the passion that guides your life.

In my own life, I follow two passions: a passion for business and a passion for textiles. My love of textiles gives a purpose and focus to my business. When I encounter highly-skilled artisans who are loosing a market for their craft, I put the business to work to create new markets for traditions that are often hundreds of years old. When I have been discouraged or faced terrible challenges, the beauty of the textiles, and the integrity of the makers, keeps me going.

A successful business is, for me, one that leads you to a new place of learning each day. Although I am proud that my books are balanced and my staff have a medical plan, ultimately I am driven as an explorer is driven, by an insatiable curiosity to discover and learn.

I am happy that my business is successful. But my fundamental business decisions are made with a goal that is never mentioned in business school. Everything I do is decided with a simple set of questions: will this elevate skills? Will this improve the lives of artisans, the people who are making the things that I am selling? Will this make the world a better place?

For example, current business theory is that you should carry minimum inventory. Much to by accountant’s dismay, I don’t do that. I will order enough handwoven, naturally dyed, blockprinted cloth to keep a family of artisans in business. If that family business thrives, an entire network of other people is also supported — from the farmers of natural dye plants, to growers of organic cotton.

Work should generate not only income — it should generate meaning.

It is a rare opportunity to be able to address a class of university graduates. The world needs people like you. It needs individuals who don’t see education as vocational training, to be set aside once you have landed your first job. The world needs individuals who don’t see work as something you do only to pay for your future retirement.

If I could tell you one thing, I would say, never dull your passion. Never let others diminish it. Keep your vision.

Weave your passion and your work together with a lifetime of learning into a coveted cloth.

Thank you.

Congratulations to everyone who graduated and a heartfelt thanks to all those who made this day possible.

The University of the Fraser Valley has also posted a feature on those receiving honourary degrees. Charllotte's may be found here: