Monday, October 17, 2016

Maiwa 2017 Spring Workhops — The List is Out!

Next week these will be mailed out to everyone. It's the course catalogue for our 2017 Spring Workshops, and it contains a formidable roster of great courses — with one or two surprises.

Can't wait for the mail? Not to worry, we've put everything online at

Registration opens on Monday December 12th at 10am.
See you in class!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Granville Island - Help plan for 2040 on October 15th.

Maiwa has two stores on Granville Island. We are proud to call Granville Island the "artisan heart of Vancouver'. There are big changes on the horizon and Granville Island is asking for public input. The Maiwa community has been active on Granville Island for over thirty years. This is the time to add your voice to the future of the Island.

On Saturday October 15, The Future for Granville Island in 2040 will take place. It is a free event with registration through an Eventbrite page. Follow the link below for full details.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Amy Putansu Wakes the Divine

On October 4th Amy Putansu took the Maiwa audience through a meditative consideration of her weaving. With reference to the work of such artists as Agnes Martin and Mark Rothko, Amy outlined her motivation and her desire to create within a minimalist aesthetic.

Two days later on October 6th, Amy's exhibition opened at the Silk Weaving Studio on Granville Island.

The exhibition is a great chance to see everything that Amy talked about materialize into fabric. The description of the show states:

"Using a rare handweaving technique called ondulé Amy Putansu maneuvers threads out of the strict grid and into wave-like patterns and lines. The elegant simplicity of a stripe (shima) is natural to weaving, yet for centuries textiles of this type were solely imports into Japan. Eventually home-weavers developed uniquely Japanese striped patterns.

The textiles in this exhibit are inspired by striped cottons from Japan. Amy reinterprets these patterns in silk, using her signature textile techniques to create one-of-a-kind scarves and shawls. Stripes now emerge as waves within woven interlacement, or become textural as well as visual elements in organza."

Highly recommended. The show will be on until October 19th, 2016.

Silk Weaving Studio, Granville Island

Weaving by Amy Putansu - Silk Weaving Studio 2016

Weaving by Amy Putansu - Silk Weaving Studio 2016

Weaving by Amy Putansu - Silk Weaving Studio 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

EARTH&WEAR - its about to happen...

Maiwa is participating in  EARTH&WEAR

A one-night event

Tuesday September 27

The Gallery of BC Ceramics,
1359 Cartwright St
Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada

Fashion & Clay

See you there!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

BANJARA - photos from the opening.

For our readers who live too far away to visit our new exhibition. Here are some photographs taken during opening night. The show remains up in the North end of the Monte Clark Gallery until October 1, 2016.

The pop up shop and the Monte Clark Gallery are both open:
Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 5:30pm.
525 Great Northern Way, Vancouver, Canada

Charllotte Kwon and Tim McLaughlin introduce the show to a full house.

Charllotte Kwon points out some aspects of the design process.

Sophena Kwon admires one of the largest embroideries.

Tim McLaughlin signs a book.

Outside of 525 Great Northern Way, the entrance to the pop up shop in the dusk.

The pop up shop - full of Banjara embroidery.

This room was set up for opening night only. These pieces are now in the pop up shop.

Neelavva watches over a poster of herself.

The poster box. Opening night guests interact with images of the Banjara women.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cat Bordhi Interview by C. Labonte-Smith

2016 marks the first year that we have had Cat Bordhi teach at the Maiwa School of Textiles. Cat's reputation precedes her. She is a bit of a legend in the knitting world for her rethinking the architecture of knitting and her whole hearted dedication to the craft.

One of our workshop participants, C. Labonte-Smith, arranged an interview with Cat once the workshop was over. She has posted A River Journey with Cat Bordhi on her blog, The Gibsons Girl. We are happy to link to it here.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Rosemary Crill Presents Curating the Fabric of India

Rosemary Crill speaking at the Maiwa School of Textiles

In Victorian England, during the heady summer of 1851, an estimated six-million people visited the “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations” (better known as the Great Exhibition) under the vitreous rooftops of the Crystal Palace, during the six months of it tenure in Hyde Park. During this time it realized a profit of almost two-hundred thousand pounds, enough to purchase 96 acres of land in South Kensington and to fund the construction of what is now the Victoria and Albert Museum. This fund also gave birth to the Museum of History and Science, The Royal Colleges of Art, and Music and the Royal Albert Hall.

Today the V&A’s holds the greatest collection of Indian Textiles in the world. As Director Martin Roth pointed out in his introductory notes to The Fabric of India, it is surprising, therefore, that there had never been a major exhibition of them, nor had there been a comprehensive volume such as The Fabric of India.

Now, such an undertaking is never the work of one person. Nevertheless, there is one person who did have a pivotal role to play in bringing these textiles to public view and championing the importance of such an exhibition. That person is Rosemary Crill. She has recently retired from her position as Senior Curator, Asian Department, Victoria and Albert Museum.

Rosemary is a paradigm of modesty and understatement. A favourite trick of hers, which she uses to field a question about textiles, is to speak as if you were giving her the answer. “I don’t know ... South East India isn’t it? Northern Orissa perhaps? What do you think? An ikat from say ... well ... maybe early twentieth century judging by the dyes and colours ... does that seem right?”

Our mutual friend, textile collector and author, John Gillow once described her in the following words: She’s incredibly sharp. She knows absolutely everything, but she’ll act like she doesn’t know any of it.”  This is not false modesty, rather it belies her deep conviction that what matters most is not her erudition, but the object itself.

Rosemary is a gifted curator, by which I mean she is able to organize objects into collections that make intuitive sense. She then augments this curatorial ability with deceptively simple prose.  And so she uses her subtle gifts to give a voice to the object. We are made to feel that the textiles of history are speaking directly to us.

From the introduction to Rosemary Crill's lecture by Tim McLaughlin.

See also Maiwa's review of the Fabric of India Exhibition and Tim McLaughlin's review of the Fabric of India Book (some of which is repeated in this introduction).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Opening of BANJARA - Monte Clark Gallery

Meet the Banjara through image and stitch.

Thursday September 22, 6-9pm
Free Admission
Exhibition runs until October 1, 2016

#105 - 525 Great Northern Way, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

BANJARA is an exhibition of photography and textiles focusing on the semi-nomadic
Banjara tribe of India. Distant relations of the European Roma, the Banjara are a formidable
cultural presence beset by the forces of modernity.

For the Banjara, embroidery as cultural expression is worked within a set of oppositions:
the communal and the individual, the historic and the contemporary, the traditional and
the modern. Materials, motifs, colours, and execution are combined to create utilitarian
artifacts that have both talismanic and auspicious powers; works are made to act as
highly visible displays of wealth and artistic skill.

Tim McLaughlin’s photographs invoke the tensions of visual ethnography — the spectacle
of the other and the necessity of understanding the play of difference in the construction
of identity. Stylistically indebted to the early work of Irving Penn, the portraits
are often made on-site with a portable studio. The resulting decontextualization isolates
the subject and removes the touchstone of reference.

The Banjara, as an ethnic group, were the site of conflict between colonial and tribal
powers during the reign of the British Raj in India. Medieval merchants operating on a
grand scale, the Banjara controlled most inland transport routes through the deployment
of pack trains of up to one-hundred thousand laden oxen. Construction of railways and
paved roads ended Banjara autonomy and the group were criminalized by the British
in 1871. The Indian subcontinent, however, is far from homogenous and many Banjara
continue to live untouched by modern influences.

BANJARA is also the occasion for the North American release of the hardcover book
Textiles of the Banjara: Cloth and Culture of a Wandering Tribe by Charllotte Kwon and
Tim McLaughlin, Thames and Hudson, 2016.

CHARLLOTTE KWON is the owner of Maiwa Handprints and the director of the Maiwa
Foundation. She is a documentary filmmaker and author and is internationally recognized
as a specialist in natural dye use.

TIM MCLAUGHLIN is a photographer and author who has published works in the United
States, Canada, and Great Britain. His previous book, Portraits: Found and Taken
received a silver award in the 2014 Paris Photo Prize. His works have been reviewed in
the New York Times, the L.A. Times, and The Globe and Mail. His work has shown at Le
Mois de la Photo and he features in the Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada. For over
fourteen years he has collaborated with Charllotte on numerous Maiwa projects.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Jenny Balfour Paul - Deeper than Indigo

Jenny Balfour Paul with the manuscripts of Thomas Machell - Photo Tim McLaughlin

Last night Jenny Balfour Paul took the audience through a crash course in the wonder of indigo. She then proceeded to an in-depth tour of the life of Thomas Machell and its strange and often uncanny parallels to her own life.

The evening was introduced by Tim McLaughlin. We reprint that introduction here:

As an introducer your main task is to say who someone is. This daunting form of micro-biography is actually impossible. It is a testament to the power of certain people’s prose that anyone believes them. I mean really, how can you encircle a life within such a small space, using only words to give it shape.

But the question of “who someone is” cannot be unasked. IN the curious among us it awakens an appetite. An expectation. A thirst for ... for what? What indeed could be a satisfactory answer to this question, the question of who someone is.

The question begins to gain momentum ... like a wooden boat pulled by the current on a wide, expansive river. Because the question of who someone is – is really the question of who we are. 

I think tonight’s speaker, Jenny Balfour Paul understands this, perhaps better than any of us. 

Jenny is a leading authority on indigo: its history, its use by cultures across the world, its varieties, and the unusual chemistry of its extraction, transport, trade and use. At Maiwa, when someone wants to know all about indigo we ask simply: have you read Jenny Balfour Paul’s book? The blue dependency that orchestrates her life is stronger than she is.  As I think you will find out tonight.

The list of Jenny’s accolades and accomplishments is long so I will only tell you a few. She is a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and the Royal Asiatic Society, she is also an Honourary Research Fellow at Exeter University, And, in one of the unusual connections which seems to characterize her life, she found herself working  with musician Yo Yo Ma on the Silk Road Connect project.  

But who is she?

Permit me to answer this question by saying — Jenny is the most curious person I have ever met. She has a voracious curiosity. In conversation she can be almost predatory in her questioning. She has a profound inquisitiveness. 

In the hallowed hallways of the British Library, Jenny was given a manuscript worthy of her curiosity. And that story of that manuscript on her life, is the story of Deeper than Indigo, and that story it is why she is with us tonight. Please join me in welcoming Jenny Balfour Paul.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

EARTH & WEAR - Tuesday, September 27th

Maiwa Handprints | Devil May Wear | The Gallery of BC Ceramics

A combination of some of the most beautiful and evocative
artisan-made objects.

Join us:
Tuesday September 27, 2016
at The Gallery of BC Ceramics
1359 Cartwright St. Granville Island,
Vancouver, Canada

Click for full-sized invitation.