Thursday, October 19, 2017

Review - Tim Whitten & The Marlinespike

On the sea there are only lines.
The lines of the horizon, the lines of the sea, the lines of the waves, 
the lines of your journey out … and your journey back.
The lines of the sails, of the rigging, of the mooring, and the anchor.
If the knots in these lines are not fast when they need to be, all will fail. 
All mariners have an admiration for a well-tied line and a distain for sloppy rope work. Trust is a currency not easily measured, but the trust in a good knot and the person who tied it was not lightly given. 
It is from this culture of lines and knots that Tim Whitten arrives. Since 2002 he has run the Marlinespike Chandlery: online at first and, after 2008 when he relocated to Maine, as a workshop - studio - retail space. 
Objects that get close to the gravitational pull of Tim’s space tend to emerge with some portion of their surface covered with corded rope - braided and enclosing, changing the nature of the object or even the nature of the cord itself.
Tim came to his awareness of knot work as child and was give a book showing how such items were made. The seed was planted but it did not sprout immediately. First Tim studied mechanical engineering and took it to the doctorate level. Later he came back to the book and it resonated with him on a more profound level. 
And now Tim’s work resonates with a larger audience but especially with textile artists. What Tim does is a kind of weaving without a loom, embroidery without a surface. What Tim does crosses the barriers of art and craft, for he is reviving and preserving techniques that have been displaced by mass-produced goods. What stands between a length of cord and a bell-rope, a bow fender, or a becket, is the naked ingenuity of a culture of making. 
Tim McLaughlin's introduction to Tim Whitten October 18, 2017

You can find Tim Whitten at his instagram feed contains excellent photos of his works in progress at @marlinespikechandlery


As of this posting (9am October 19) there are some tickets available for John Gillow's lecture on Kantha Quilting (if you are reading this in an email feed this lecture may have already passed).

There are also tickets available for Eric Broug's Lecture on October 26th Marvels and Wonders: Geometric Design in Cairo During the Mamluk Sultanate. Tickets for both events are available online, in our stores or at the door.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Jawaja Carpets Now In


The Artisan's Alliance of Jawaja is a rural cooperative located in Rajasthan, India. The group represents the work of two crafts; leatherworkers and carpet weavers. We carry a selection of Jawaja carpets in our main store on Granville Island.

The wools of the harsh desert regions of Rajasthan make for durable and long-lasting carpets. The weavers of Jawaja work on extra-wide handlooms to create these stunning flatweaves. They feature simple, bold colours and are fine examples of the weaver's art.


These flatweaves are made by the weavers of the Artisan's Alliance of Jawaja. 

In Jawaja, weaving is an art that involves the entire family. From bobbin winding to loom dressing, both men and women dedicate themselves to learning the tasks needed in the production of these robust carpets.

In contrast to many other types of carpet, Jawaja flatweaves are designed for everyday use. Starting with a cotton warp, local wools are intertwined into a tight weft-face. They are often constructed in bold, simple, geometric patterns that bring a measure of colour and light to the rooms that they adorn.

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 ...