Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hand Selected Treasures



We've hand selected some of our very favourite treasures as well as gift ideas that we love. The work of skilled artisans speaks through weave, stitch, pattern and colour — and adds a sense of purpose and meaning that lasts for years to come. From one of a kind hand embroidered bags, to handwoven shawls, to the gift of giving a pink bike to a girl in India; making it easy for girls to get to school safely.

Or at Maiwa in the Net Loft on Granville Island 7 days a week 10am-7pm

FAVOURITE THINGS SHOWN: Brown Leather Banjara Embroidery Clutch,

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Handmade Gifts With Natural Dyes

Maiwa's Natural Dyes for Handmade Gifts

Sizes from 30g up to 2.5 kg. Our large sizes are priced at wholesale rates so that all artisans can participate in the magic that natural dyes bring.


Take advantage of free shipping on orders of $200 or more
within Canada and the Continental U.S.A.

U.S. CUSTOMERS  - don't forget the exchange rate works in your favour,
it's like an extra discount.


Available In-store and Online

Maiwa Supply - Granville Island, Vancouver 7 days a week 10am-7pm
Maiwa East - 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver Mon-Fri 10am-5pm
Online - maiwa.com

Maiwa's Natural Dyes

Colour is unlike anything else. As an artist, to make colour with natural dyes is to experience a direct connection with your materials. And each of these materials, each dyestuff used, can be a doorway to a new world.

Putting natural colour on cloth involves the use of leaves (such as indigo and henna), barks and woods (logwood, osage), roots (madder), flowers (chamomile, marigold), fruits and nuts (walnut, myrobalan, pomegranate), minerals (alum, iron), and insects (cochineal, lac). These are just some of the classic materials that have been used for thousands of years.

The aromatic steam that rises into the air from the dyepot, especially when working outside on a cool morning, is one of the most compelling aspects of the dyer’s studio. Indeed, working with natural colour is such a sensual experience that many artisans work with natural dyestuff for the sheer pleasure of making the vat. The saturated colours of the immersed materials are also highly photogenic—as is the entire dyeing process.

Maiwa’s obsession with natural dyes is well known. What is less well known is the work that we do behind the scenes each time a shipment of natural dyestuff arrives in our warehouse.

Our role is a bit like that of a master vintner who evaluates multiple grape harvests to make an exceptional wine. We do a complete set of sample tests to evaluate the shade and strength of our shipment. Dyes from natural sources will change with each season. If there has been only little rain one year, the concentration of dyestuff in the plant will alter. So we often combine and blend stocks from multiple years to ensure that the raw dyestuff will yield consistent results. 

At Maiwa our policy is to acquire the raw dyestuff in its most elemental form (wood chips, roots, petals) so that we can ensure purity. We then process it into the form (usually a powder) that works best for the artisan dyer. We use natural dyes extensively in our own production, so we can ensure that each package contains a product we would be proud to use ourselves.



Or visit our Maiwa Supply location on Granville Island in Vancouver, BC
for a larger book selection. Open 7 days a week 10am - 7pm

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Warm Shawls for Winter Now in!


A length of cloth is a field of possibility - both for the maker and the owner. 

These shawls showcase the immense creativity that artisans have taken in approaching every aspect of the shawl. Right from the moment the spinner grasps multiple fibres between her fingers and begins to work with them there is an excitement and joy in creating. That spark is captured in fibre choices (including wild silks) weaving construction (including supplemental wefts) and finishing (including stitching narrow weaves together).

These shawls are as versatile as they are beautiful — wrapped around you to stay warm, or even spread on a bed or sofa to showcase creativity and skill.

These shawls will always be remembered - like a love letter from far away.
Warm Regards - from Maiwa


These shawls are created by a number of artisan communities in the Kutch Desert of India where generations of skill and mastery are passed down in the spinning of the threads, the warping of the looms and the weaving of the cloth.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Charllotte Kwon wins Leadership in Craft Award

We are happy to announce that Charllotte Kwon has won the 2017 Robert Jekyll Award for Leadership in Craft.

A business leader, teacher, promoter, non-profit founder and a textile artist in her own right, Kwon has worked for over 30 years to advance the practice and appreciation of textile arts here in Canada and across the globe. An expert in natural dyes, she has traveled the world, studying, teaching, and working with artists in traditional techniques in India, Peru, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and here at home in Canada. Through documentaries, books, workshops and symposiums, she shares her love of textile arts with an audience both in and outside of the craft community.
Through the many branches of her Maiwa organizations, including a Research Library and Textile Collection, the international Foundation, Production company, School of Textiles, and three retail stores, Kwon’s work is felt on every level of craft, assisting international artists and Canadian artists in exchange, professional development and market access.
Described as “passionate, generous, indefatigable, and always proudly Canadian” by her nominator, tapestry artist Barbara Heller, Charllotte is “a visionary who consistently puts her philosophy into practice. Her work in craft education and sustainable production has inspired Canadian textile artists for decades.”
Having gone above and beyond to connect and support artists and to draw incomparable attention and engagement to the textile arts, Kwon has made a lasting impact worthy of national recognition.
The 2017 award was presented on September 14th, 2017, during the Canadian Crafts Federation’s Community Craft Social, during the CCF’s annual conference, “Intersections & Interconnexions”. Charllotte could not attend as she was managing the Maiwa Textile Symposium, however, she sent a video acceptance message which also contained a shorter version of the video presented at the conclusion of the 2017 Threads Lecture in Vancouver.

Below is the video. Here is a direct link: https://youtu.be/H4eYytblLqM

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Now Online! New Ajrakh Block Printed Yardage



Block printed by hand with natural dyes by master craftspeople in Kutch, India

Maiwa has worked with block printed fabric for over 30 years. This organic cotton has been hand block printed with natural dyes by world renowned ajrakh artisans.  Light to medium weight fabric is perfect for garments and quilting.

The ajrakh process is a long one, involving several steps of washing and scouring the cloth, then additional steps to mordant the cloth, and still more steps as each colour is either directly block printed or resist block printed with natural dyes. The order is of utmost importance as the layers of colour are built up and the traditional geometric ajrakh patterns emerge. Much of the beauty and depth of Ajrakh cloth comes from the intricacy of the imprint that is left by the artisan’s hand, slight variations are to be celebrated.

This fabric is pre-shrunk and easy to take care of - a gentle machine or hand wash is recommended with cool water and pH neutral bio-degradable liquid soap.


Maiwa Supply - Granville Island, Vancouver 7 days a week 10am-7pm
Maiwa East - 1310 Odlum Drive, Vancouver Mon-Fri 10am-5pm
Online - maiwa.com

 Visit the Block Print Yardage Collection 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Review - The Craft of Travel: Maiwa on the Road

The Threads Lecture, traditionally a showcase of some aspect of the Maiwa Foundation, has been sold out since the end of August. This year the presentation gave some of the highlights of an epic 6500 km journey with eight staff.

The Maiwa crew met with pastoralists in Pushkar and encountered Gujar caravans in Madhya Pradesh.

One key aspect of the trip was the return by authors Charllotte Kwon and Tim McLaughlin to India to give copies of the hardcover book Textiles of the Banjara to the women who helped make it possible. Together with Laxmi and Jan Duclos, who run the Surya's Garden Banjara embroidery revival project, Maiwa sponsored a mela to recognize the embroiderers and distribute the book.

It was an emotional journey. Even if there was no language barrier we are not certain we could put into words what happened: the reactions to the women on seeing the book and the feelings of pride we had in being able to give back a small portion of Banjara culture to the women who help to keep it alive.

The talk concluded with a short film. We have posted it to the Maiwa Youtube channel. Here it is. (Note - if it does not play in your email just follow the link https://youtu.be/uLzWtOmyvog )


Friday, October 27, 2017

Review - Marvels and Wonders: Eric Broug on Islamic Geometric Design during the Mamluk Sultanate

A man walks through the streets of Cairo and he thinks to himself …

“The greatest of antiquities are incomprehensible because they exist in another time. I don’t know the forces that shaped them or the ideals that inspired them. What religious doctrines made the faithful strive to outdo each other. What made them attempt buildings so complex and detailed that they seem to have sprung directly from the imagination of God.”

"Expanding and unfolding in all directions pattern and repetition of pattern invoke a universe that is infinite and unending. They describe a circle who’s centre is everywhere and who’s circumference exist outside our comprehension."

These thoughts could be attributed to a character penned by the great Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges, or they could equally describe the feeling of a contemporary visitor to Egypt who is faced with the marvels and wonders of architecture and design that were created during the Mamluk Sultanate.

Medieval chronicler Ibn Khaldun described Cairo during the Mamluk Sultanate as: “the centre of the universe and the garden of the world.”

And fortunately for us tonight, the antiquities will not remain incomprehensible because we have with us the author of a series of books on Islamic geometric patterning and design; Eric Broug.

Eric has deciphered the elements of design that make up the complex geometries used in Islamic patterning. He presented these first principles in such a way that people may develop a much richer appreciation for the art. He also teaches workshops and has published workbooks so that people may take the art beyond appreciation and into construction.

Please join me in welcoming tonight’s speaker, Eric Broug

Tim McLaughlin's introduction Eric Brough's lecture:
Marvels and Wonders: Geometric Design in Cairo During the Mamluk Sultanate

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

First Time Online For Our Hand Embroidery



Maiwa works with artisans to create some of the finest hand embroidery being done today: incredibly detailed work from the remarkable Banjara and jewel-like pieces from many of the tribal communities of the Kutch desert in Gujarat. Embroidery is a unique expression of the embroiderer — no two pieces are the same.

In Store and Online


 Meet the Banjara

  The Banjara,­ a semi-nomadic group found throughout the Indian subcontinent, are renowned for their highly colourful textiles. Embellished with mirrors, shells, & intricate embroidery, Banjara work displays a surprisingly modern aesthetic. It’s a celebration of the strength of the women who practice it.

Meet the Embroiderers of Kutch

The proud stitch-heritage of the Kutch region shows in every thread of these embroideries. Many ethnic groups are famous for their needlework: Dhebaria and Kutchi Rabari, Dhanetah Jats, Sodha Rajputs, and Mutwa. Each group has a traditional repertoire of figure and motif. These embroideries bring the richness of desert cultures into your hands — heirlooms for the future.

Books We've Written

Learn more about these cultures and their embroidery.

 Meet the Jawaja Leatherworkers

Maiwa champions partnerships between craftspeople. The Banjara — Jawaja collaboration is one of our most successful. Bold Banjara embroideries are well matched by the handmade leatherwork from the Artisans Alliance of Jawaja. The skills of these two groups come together in a collection of timeless pieces. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Review - John Gillow Kantha Quilts

On October 19th John Gillow delivered his lecture on the Kantha Quilts of Bengal to a full house.

The lecture was delivered in style as John was presented a turban cloth and cap from Afghanistan by introducer Jo O'Callaghan. Jo once had to drive a jeep in Kabul while wearing the turban (and a false beard) when she was working as a nurse.



John presented a finely tuned lecture looking at the origins of design elements in kantha quilts and explaining their genesis in folk-art traditions and religious ideas. He also looked at the materials that made up the quilts - everything from worn dhotis to Manchester shirting yardage.

Our fundraiser for the Maiwa Foundation was a very generous donation by Ros Aylmer of a contemporary Kantha Quilt. The quilt features scenes from daily life including school children attending classes.

The next lecture is Eric Broug on October 26, Marvels and Wonders: Geometric Design in Cairo during the Mamluk Sultanate. Full description is available here.