Sunday, December 4, 2016

20% Off All Embroidery - Simple Gifts Week 2


Visit MAIWA on Granville Island in Vancouver December 5 - December 11, 2016 between 10am and 7pm and receive 20% off all embroidery purchased in store.

Discount does not apply to previously purchased items.
This discount cannot be combined with other offers.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

20% Off All Clothing - Simple Gifts Week 1


Visit MAIWA on Granville Island in Vancouver November 28 - December 4, 2016
between 10am and 7pm and receive 20% off all clothing purchased in store.

For yourself or someone on your list.

Discount does not apply to previously purchased items.
This discount cannot be combined with other offers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Return to the Banjara – Madhya Pradesh

Maiwa is on the road travelling through Madhya Pradesh right now. One of the goals of this trip is to return to Banjara villages where we photographed people, examined their textiles and interviewed them about Banjara culture. As we do we are giving copies of the book back to the people who were invaluable in our research.

One of the most satisfying aspects of this journey has been seeing the women look through the book and ask questions about Banjara in other areas. It is also interesting to see the women look through and spot textiles and objects that they know.

Above is Chanubai receiving a copy of the book in Madhya Pradesh and below when we met her two years ago in 2014. Among the most interesting objects that were were able to track down was the Chunda. Chanubai modelled it for us in her village and explained how the threads on the bottom are braided into the hair so that the stick stands straight up. We found out on this trip that the woman who spent the 2 hours necessary to actually braid the chunda into her hair was closely related to the women of this village.

At our lecture this was one of the biggest questions: How will the Banjara react to see themselves and their culture in the book? The answer so far has been that the book has been received with a quiet amazement. There is always a group of people who gather when we enter a village and when the book is presented there is a great interaction as the pages are slowly turned and the images are reviewed. Sometimes a group in a village can be very high energy - but so far the book has been a kind of talisman, channeling a deep fascination with the larger question of who the Banjara are.

We also had a good encounter with an ernest young Banjara man. He wanted to know if the book could be made available in Hindi so that the more literate members of the village could read it. We have felt this need before and we would like to make it happen for the Banjara.

The book is available to order in the Maiwa Online store. It is also available at international online sellers such as

The maiwa team on this trip are posting to instagram with the hashtag #maiwaontheroad Tim McLaughlin can be found on instagram at @tmcltmcl.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Maiwa on the Road - Giving Back

Maiwa is on the road again. We are in India working on a rather epic journey that will take us to both coasts and down the lower two thirds of the subcontinent. On this trip one of our goals is to give copies of our book Textiles of the Banjara back to members of the Banjara community, especially those individuals who appear in the book or who made a large contribution to our research.

Our first stop on this project was an encampment located about an hour south of Jaipur. Bapu is a Banjara man who helped us quite a bit in this area.

When we explained to Bapu that we wanted to return to his community and present him with a book, he was puzzled: "Why? Banjara are labour."  So we explained that most of the Banjara in the book also worked as labour. Still the Banjara culture is very very important.

It was a pleasant visit with Bapu's community. We arrived at mid-day. Everyone was calm and the book was handled with great care. We all felt a sense of deep happiness to be able to make this  gesture to their community.

We will be posting more about our trip when time (and our internet connection) permits. If you follow instagram check our #maiwaontheroad.

The book Textiles of the Banjara is available throughout North America and Europe. We sell it in the Maiwa Online Store.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Review - Final Lecture of the 2016 Symposium

October 19th was the final lecture of the 2016 series. Traditionally the last lecture is the Threads lecture - a chance to talk about the work of the Maiwa Foundation and to raise money for the Foundation's work.

The evening concluded a trio of events about the Banjara. It followed the exhibition and book launch with a behind the scenes "Making of the textiles of the Banjara." Charllotte and Tim outlined the history of this group of semi-nomadic people, looked at stitches and motifs, and showed video from over fourteen years of visiting the Banjara. 

The evening was introduced by Sophena Kwon, who gave the audience some intimate details and little know facts about the presenters. We are happy to reproduce it in full here.

I have the great privilege to introduce two of my favourite people on this planet.  Charllotte Kwon, my mom and Tim McLaughlin. 

Now, I’m not going to talk about the Banjara… or the many trips to India these two have made together to research and photograph for the book.  I’m not going to tell you about the latest review the book had in this month’s issue of The World of Interiors or that the book has been distributed world wide and was featured on the ‘Staff Picks’ table in our favourite bookstore in London called Daunts Books.  

Instead, I would like to use this great privilege to shed some light on a few lesser known facts about these two.

Some may not know that my mom started out in her early 20’s getting her journeyman’s ticket in printing and ran a Heidelberg press for Hemlock Printers.  She was the only woman in the workshop and was nicknamed Charlie.  8 years into this profession she got blood poisoning from the leads and heavy toxins in the printing inks.  The blood transfusion and a realization that she was not going to return to the profession of printing was the catalyst that began her journey in search for alternative, gentler, more sustainable ways to achieve colour and changed her medium from paper to fabric.  Now she has almost 40 years of Natural dyes experience behind her.  Natural Dye is one of the major building blocks that Maiwa stands on and her fascination with natural colour has taken her all around the world in search of dye recipes and exchanges with artisans keeping the craft alive.

Now Tim.  Some of you may not know that Tim started an undergraduate in chemistry and from there followed his passion for music and stepped into recording engineering.  He ran a radio show for the University of Western Ontario and was deeply immersed in the music scene.  The next obvious move from there … philosophy.  He earned a Masters in Philosophy of Science.

When he had felt like he had reached the finish line in his formal education he hit the road travelling and took a bicycle through Scotland and Ireland and then backpacked through Morocco.  He later moved out west and completed two residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts focusing on Digital Artwork and New Media.  Being in the world of computers and at the beginning of the internet he has a deep understanding of how it all works.

Maiwa needed a computer technician with the love of beautiful things, a sensitivity to textiles and travel, a chemist that could assist in the dye room, a writer, a philosopher, and an talented photographer …

Now I want to look at these two from a more astrological point of view just to shed another light on these two enormously creative souls.

My mom is an Aries Rooster.   If you know the first thing about Western astrology and Chinese zodiac you will understand that these people are natural leaders.  One of my favourite astrologers says that:

“An Aries Rooster is a boiling tea kettle of enthusiasm.  Every single second of life for this character is full to overflowing with activity and eagerness.  They are generous and outgoing, talented, versatile and curious to a fault.  You will never see an idle Aries Rooster.  Lying down or sitting still for long periods of time tends to create a malaise in the ever whirling Aries Rooster soul.  Exoticism magnetizes this subject.  Would you like to go across Siberia to China on foot but cannot find anyone to accompany you?  Ring up an Aries Rooster. “
And Tim is a Libra Snake.  You know who else is a Libra Snake?  Mahatma Gandhi.  Need I say more.  Tim’s calm and competent demeanour, his eloquence and mastery of the word, he inspires, and has an incredible discipline to work on something for long periods of time until he has mastered it.  For example, most recently the art of Spenserian calligraphy.

We, the family, the company, the friends are forever grateful that air and fire are such a good match and that these two found each other, fell in love, they work together, travel together, write together, and tonight, get to share their latest collaboration:  The Textiles of the Banjara. Please help me welcome Tim & Charllotte to the stage.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Textiles of the Banjara in The World of Interiors

The World of Interiors is one of our go-to magazines for inspiration in textiles, arts, and culture. So we were quite proud to see that noted author and anthropologist Nigel Barley reviewed our latest book Textiles of the Banjara. The review is on page 100 in the October 2016 issue.

We liked the review so much we contacted World of Interiors and asked for permission to reproduce it here. We'd like to extend our appreciation to both World of Interiors and Nigel Barley.

(by Charlotte Kwon and 'Tim McLaughlin; 'Thames & Hudson, rrp £29.95). 'The Banjara are a semi-nomadic people of India whose huge baggage trains of thousands of bullocks once served the Mogul armies and the British after them with commendable even-handedness. Yet, as this well-researched and beautiful book shows, there is so much more to them than this. The first section is a subtle but concise exposition of their role through the developing history of India and the Raj, which invested them with romantic myths but which finally fell out of love with them as a 'criminal tribe'. The complex interactions of ideas of race, caste and tribe are brilliantly teased out and documented.

Today the Banjara are scattered across India under a plethora of religions, names and occupations. Modern myths link them to European Roma, who have the same gift for adaptability and maintained separateness. Nor are they entirely unknown to fashionistas, for their beautiful textiles and jewellery are the source of those elaborate appliques, incorporating mirror fragments, that haunt Indian restaurants.and the 'gypsy chic' embroidered skirts favoured by hippies in the 1960s and 70s. These are the matter of the main part of the book.

Not surprisingly, Banjara textiles are all about the signalling and maintenance of identity. Women still wear largely traditional dress of rich, vibrant embroidery and jewellery, each element correlated to regional origin and marital status; male attire is blandly non-distinctive by comparison. The authors show how Banjara female dress has become politicized and controversial in much the same way as Muslim women's dress.being seen as a mark of both cultural strength and oppression.

What follows is pretty much a classic, material culture catalogue with analyses of style,, technique and classifications of product - everything from bullock-horn decorations to fancy bags - and all given a human face by biographies of individual artists. 'textiles are depicted in various stages of completion to demonstrate process, and canonical works are drawn from a mixture of old and contemporary collections to show a Iiv­ing tradition undergoing change and adaptation. incorporating new techniques and addressing new markets. The book is generously illustrated with gorgeous photographs that show objects both in isolation and as worn. The strength of The Textiles of the Banjara lies ovenwhelmingly in the way it has brought together the insights of personal fieldwork experience and private collections in a book that goes beyond the academic to tell a tale both accessible and moving •  NIGEL BARLEY is an anthropologist [>

Here is a link to a PDF of the page.

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