Maiwa Handprints Ltd
6-1666 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3S2
This shop sells quality hand-crafted clothing and bedding created in India with natural fabrics and traditional dyes.
|Store Type |||Accessories, Gifts, Home Furnishings & Accessories, Import Goods, Jewelry|
|Getting There |||Bus 50, 4, 7|
Profile Last Updated: April 07, 2008
Back in 1986, Charlotte Kwon opened Maiwa on Granville Island with the philosophy to support traditional craft, mainly from India, through ethical trade practices. As Kwon’s operation grew she founded the non-for-profit Maiwa Foundation in 1997 to help artisans through education and poverty assistance. Maiwa deals at the village level with craftspeople who produce block-printed, embroidered, hand-woven and naturally dyed textiles. Artisans receive an advance payment on orders and maintain artistic control over the products’ design, pattern and colour. Kwon creates documentaries about traditional textile techniques and travels to India three times a year to meet with craftspeople.
Maiwa is resplendent with colours and pattern. The floors are covered with pink and purple block-printed canvas floor cloths and plant-dyed Turkish carpets. Racks of clothing glow with natural hues. Intricate motifs of stripes, florals, foliage, geometric designs and Bandhani tie-dye embellish sundresses, jackets, skirts, pants, shirts, tunics, tank tops and scarves. Products are sewn with natural fibres: cotton, linen, silk and wool that can be machine washed and dried. Antique teak cabinets and cupboards display colourful bedding, incense, copper bells and cabinet hardware in brass, iron and ceramic. At the back, two beds dressed in multicoloured linens are piled with cushions ornamented with elaborate Kutch embroidery, tiny mirrors and tassels. Nearby are three dressing rooms. If something doesn’t quite fit the store offers free alterations. Accessorize with a handmade, roomy leather tote bag from Rajasthan or silver jewellery with semi-precious stones.
Traditional natural dyes are derived from a variety of roots, plants, insects, gastropods and other natural materials. They are more environmentally friendly than synthetic dyes. Pitchi Reddy, an organic farmer in Southern India, produces all of Maiwa’s indigo. The intricate, multicoloured patterns of Ajrak block-printed fabric are produced by hand-stamping a mixture of mud and starches onto fabric with wooden blocks, then dyeing the cloth. Some of Maiwa’s fabrics, like certain silks, are expertly woven on hand looms in India.