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Other People's Fabrics

For my birthday, Alan gave me a gift certificate to Maiwa, a Vancouver, Canada company that specializes in organic cloth, natural dyes and clothes made from hand woven fabrics. It’s a wonderful store we discovered on a trip to Vancouver last summer.

I very rarely use other people’s fabrics in my quilts, and never use commercial fabrics. My wall hangings are almost entirely made from fabrics I’ve dyed and printed. However, as an artisan myself, I admire and want to support others who do amazing things with cloth. The cloth I bought is organic cotton, hand dyed and then printed with natural dyes, made in India. That’s a lot of work, and it’s hard to produce cloth as beautiful as this.

I don’t know how I’ll use it yet, but for the time being, I’m just admiring the craftsmanship.

I also bought big buttons Maiwa describes as “hand carved – each one is a tiny masterpiece.” They’re made by people from Nepal who create them from wood, horn and bones, mostly water buffalo which, Maiwa assures me, "have died of natural causes.” Phew. I don’t want to become part of a new kind of ivory trading.

I don’t know how I’ll use the buttons, any more than I know how I'll use the cloth, but right now I pick them up and hold them, marvel at them, these little masterpieces, and send good wishes to the craftsman or woman who made them. May he or she prosper.

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