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Journeycloth(ed): An Inspired Masterclass with India Flint

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

With India Flint

$1500 [Includes $75 lab fee] class limit 16. May 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 2019 (2 x Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 10am-4pm).

The more frequently I travel, the more I feel the need to refine the objects I travel with, so that I am less encumbered, but more deeply comforted by what I have with me. A wardrobe comprising a skirt, a pair of trousers, a long sleeveless dress, a shorter sleeved dress, a cardigan, a shawl (that doubles as a sarong), and a coat of some kind comprise the foundation. Throw in a scarf, mittens, wool socks (even in New Orleans), and a wool bag that doubles as a hat and you have a versatile collection that can take you almost anywhere…when worn in various layers. I also pack a pair of soft, well-worn pyjamas that sometimes sneak into the light of day when I need an extra layer.

A recent and slightly luxurious addition to my kit has been the “mieux mieux,” my adaptation of a muumuu that fell in love with a huipil. This soft silk garment can be worn out to dinner or as a dressing gown, to bed or to the beach. It is one of the simplest of shapes, given a hint of sophistication by the addition of sleeves harvested from a thrift store blouse. It compresses to the size of a tennis ball for easy packing but can transform the wearer in moments.

As one who detests polyester airline blankets, finds those supplied on trains too small, and is always looking for a way to personalise the beige ghastliness of a hotel room, I began to look again at the possibilities offered by the outermost layer. Though I am fond of a traditional coat with deep pockets in which to bury my hands, I dreamed of something a little more versatile that could be used as a shawl as well as a blanket, with pockets in which passports, notebooks, and talismans could be held safely (especially when having to send the garment through countless x-ray machines). I also wanted something I could continue to stitch into while having to wait in line for border crossings, or sitting in the plane waiting for take-off, something that was part of my clothing and didn’t have to be carried separately. Too many small journeycloths have inadvertently gone on independent wanderings of their own, never to be seen again.

Join me for two glorious weeks at Maiwa East, where we will begin by making a soft silk mieux mieux and dyeing it with leaves gathered from the abundant street trees surrounding the studio. Then we will begin to build a wayfinder’s comforter: a soft, layered shawl constructed from a fortnight’s worth of bundled fragments…embellished with stitching and with pockets of all kinds. We may harvest pieces from pre-loved garments and include favourite pieces harvested from your collection of travelling dye samples. It will be a garment inspired by the ralli quilts of India, the shibusa philosophy of Japan, the thriftiness of my Latvian ancestors, and the countless experiences we have all gathered on the long and winding road.

An integral part of this workshop will be the consideration of the written word and the stitching of text into this marvellous composite cloth. Poetry will be read at intervals and occasionally also written. This masterclass has been devised as an adventure in cloth, stitch, and text as well as an exploration of the seasonal colour offered by locally gathered flora.

Supply List

About India Flint

In 2008, with the publication of her first book, Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles, India Flint brought a fresh new perspective to an ancient practice and rethought the entire dye process. Her book eloquently champions ecologically sustainable plant-based printing processes to give colour to cloth. When it first arrived on the scene, Eco Colour was both an eye-opener and a game-changer. Since then India has published Second Skin: Choosing and Caring for Textiles and Clothing and five additional titles exploring the connection between dyeing, wandering, cloth, and writing. India’s textiles have been exhibited internationally.

India joins us from Australia.