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The Inkmaker's Pen

  • Maiwa East 1310 Odlum Drive Vancouver, BC, V5L 3M3 Canada (map)

With Tim Mclaughlin

$295 [Includes $85 lab fee] Class limit 14. Oct 20-21 (Sat-Sun) 10am-4pm.

Making ink has much to recommend it. It may be done in small spaces. It does not require specialized equipment or expensive ingredients. The results may be quickly seen and put to use. The process has an element of alchemy about it, where mundane materials are transformed into something extraordinary. It can lead one to appreciate diverse histories, both of civilizations (for what civilization has not had writing at its centre?) and of artists and artistic movements.

On the first day of this two-day class, students will make a variety of inks including iron-gall ink, pigmented ink, and a natural dye lake. On the second day students will learn the basics of pointed pen work, using dip pens to write with the inks we have made. We will explore the incredible potential of pointed pens for line variation and look at the fast-growing culture of hand-written scripts.

The class will also touch on writing papers, brushwork, and how to best formulate or adjust inks for particular uses.

Tim will also give a lecture.

Supply List PDF

Tim McLaughlin has been interested in natural colour since he began working for Maiwa as a graphic designer in 2002. Together with Charllotte Kwon he has written and co-directed two documentaries on natural dyes: Indigo: A World of Blue and In Search of Lost Colour: The Story of Natural Dyes. Recently he has been rethinking the study of natural dyes in a fine-arts context: how to use natural dyes to make inks, paints, and pigments.

Tim has also worked as a writer, graphic designer, and photographer. His portraits of Banjara women can be found in Textiles of the Banjara: Cloth and Culture of a Wandering Tribe, published in 2016 by Thames and Hudson and co-authored by Tim with Charllotte Kwon.

His ink-related interests may be found at or

Earlier Event: October 20
Creative Rug Hooking
Later Event: October 22
Boro & Indigo