Monday, September 19, 2011

Stitching Inspiration

Last week I had the pleasure of spending two whole days in a room filled with inspiring textiles and women. In Vancouver we have an incredible resource in Maiwa. Maiwa Handprints is an artisan supply store (dyes, handcarved stamps, paints, wool, linen, books...etc), a clothing shop (featuring natural-dyed linen garments made around the world), an import-furniture warehouse, textile and textile book library and the host company of an incredible annual textile symposium.

Maiwa library/workshop

I took a two day embroidery course with local expert, City and Guild's graduate Bonnie Addie, and next month I will spend two days with the quilters of Gee's Bend! Wow. I was super lucky to get into these classes - I was on the computer the first morning right when registration opened and got the last spots in both classes.

Maiwa library/workshop

Bonnie has traveled to India with Charllotte Kwon, the inspiring woman behind Maiwa. There, she met with local embroiderers and fabric dyers, sewists and artisans who supply much of Maiwa's products.

Maiwa library/workshop

What I wanted to share with you today are photos of the space we worked in. The Maiwa workshop also serves as a textile and book library where you can spend time pouring over examples of ethnic stitchery from all over the world, or research stitches or dying methods in any of the collected books. Everything is stored in lovely glass-front cabinets. The library is open for anyone who calls ahead to book at time during business hours. I will be back for sure!

Maiwa library/workshop

I am very inspired by the hand work of women around the world. Many of whom have overcome incredible tragedy, poverty or persecution. There are entire isolated communities of women, especially in India, who have honed their needle arts through generations and produce not only beautiful, but unique textiles. In particular, those of us in the workshop were given a beautiful embroidered silk pouch & needlebook made by earthquake survivors from the Kutch region of India. These women were taught to embroider as a form of therapy (and also out of a sense of urgency to pass on the skills that were almost lost when so many of the community perished in the 2001 earthquake). Now they have a life skill and trade to support themselves and their children. I want to learn more about the tradition of stitching in this oral culture - where stitch is used as mean of recording events in the lives of family and community.

Maiwa library/workshop
Our tablecloth at the work table! Beautiful Kantha.

My brain is stuffed full with ideas for stitching, so much that I'm having trouble focusing on anything! I'll be back soon to show some of the cool stitches I learned (I can attach a shisha mirror!) and I want to share a fun and easy technique with you as well.

I'm linking up with my friend Trish's new "Monday Morning's Inspiration" feature over at Two Peas in a Pod.



18 comments:

Amy said...

I bet you had a blast! I can't wait to see your stitches.

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

Can you purleeze stow me in your bag for that Gees Bend course???

Patti said...

Lucky you to have such great resources! I must admit I had to Google Gee's Bend! Sounds absolutely fascinating. Have fun!

felicity said...

Thanks for sharing this post, Krista! I can't wait for next month's lecture!!

Flying Blind... said...

OK - pretty jealous right now xx

Alisa said...

Oh, I've been there before (I think - it's on Granville Island right?) I was drooling over all of the wonderful textiles in there.

Trish said...

I bet you were in heaven! Can't wait to see your interpretations on it all - you always have something amazing up your sleeve! Thanks for linking up!

Gale, Ky quilter said...

These pictures are awesome. Can't imagine how much fun you will have. Someday . . . :)

Happy Stitching,

Gale

Michele Pacey said...

Gee's Bend? You lucky dog! Have you seen the denim quilts made by these women? Works of art, they are!

Stitches stitches. Bring on the stitches!

PinkGranny said...

Wonderful!

quiltmom said...

Krista,
This looks like a fascinating place to visit and be inspired It is amazing what people create- often expressing beauty with materials that others might cast off.
Loved this post- as for Gee Bend- it appears you need a very large suitcase as many of us would love to join you in that class. I know that I hope you will take lots of photographs to share your journey.
Warmest regards,
Anna

Chelsea said...

I took a natural dye class from Maiwa years and years ago and it was amazing. I still have all my swatches and keep meaning to do something with them, especially the velvets. Such an awesome shop!

Nina Lise Moen said...

Sounds like two great classes. I'm not sure I would have gotten any work done with all that fabolous fabric and stuff around me though. I attended a lecture by an Indian artist in Birhingham. She works with Kanthe cloth and it was amazing what she did with fabric and simple running stitches.
Looking forward to see your Indian inspired work!

Cynthia F said...

Wow the classes sound amazing! And Maiwa- loooove it! I am hoping to sneak into the store next weekend when I'm in the city... ;)

myredbike said...

Thanks for sharing! I've never been, but I'm looking forward to going to Maiwa for the Quilters of Gee's Bend lecture in October!

bronwen said...

I love Maiwa, one of my favorite places!! Sounds like great classes too!xo
PS Thanks for the feed! :)

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I love the hand quilting on your table runner at Quilt Contest.

Live a Colorful Life said...

Looking forward to all the inspiration I'm sure you will share with us.