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The Inkmaker's Pen


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

With Tim McLaughlin

$350 [Includes $85 lab fee] Class limit 16. Oct 25-27 (Fri-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.

This workshop has been expanded to three full days. Students will learn how to prepare a variety of inks from classic inkmaking traditions including iron-gall ink, pigmented ink, and a natural dye lake. Students will learn how to prepare a soluble and a waterproof binder and how to best formulate or adjust inks for particular uses.

Working with the inks we have made, students will learn the basics of pointed pen work (flexy writing) using dip pens. We will explore the incredible potential of pointed pens for line variation and look at the fast-growing culture of handwritten scripts. The class will also touch on writing papers, brushwork, and ink washes.

Tim will also give a lecture.

Supply List PDF


Tim McLaughlin

Tim 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 tmcl.ca and on Instagram at @artisan_ink.

Earlier Event: October 21
Master the Screen Print
Later Event: October 25
The Art of Embroidery