Vaishali & Karina shares some insight into their label Maiwaku with FK.
Tell us a about your label Maiwaku and the work you do.
maiwaku is our story expressed through illustrations of patterns and shapes that are found in things around us. Our aim is to create accessible and affordable art that is commercial yet individual and unique. Our customers mix and match the illustrations to create a unique piece of art in their homes. We are currently producing our illustrations as printed works on a variety of textured materials that are then mounted onto wooden tiles. Our tiles are all individually hand made in Sydney and all of our illustrations are hand drawn.
Tell us the story behind the name Maiwaku.
We wanted our name to be quirky yet reflective of the influence that Japanese textiles and ink drawings have had on us. Our favourite girls name in Japanese is ‘Mai’, and together with the translation of story/history, ‘iwaku’ we found a name that was a perfect link to who we are. maiwaku – a girls story.
What is your background and what inspired you to start Maiwaku.
We both studied design at the College of Fine Arts and graduated with a bachelor of design majoring in graphics and textiles. We worked as fashion designers for a couple of years however we always had an urge to be more creative and not so restricted in the kind of work we were designing. Being inspired by the amazing talent of young designers at the moment, and feeling the need to express our own creativity, we quit our jobs, gathered our illustrations and started maiwaku.
What have you learnt or been surprised about starting Maiwaku?
Since starting maiwaku we have learnt that sticking by your product and believing in what you are producing is really important. There have been times where we have questioned our decisions but then there are times where we couldn’t imagine ourselves doing anything else. Customer feedback is what has surprised us the most- in both a good and bad way! By selling at Paddington markets every Saturday we get to see customer reactions first hand. We didn’t expect the warm reception people have had towards our work. It is really rewarding to hear that people like what you’re creating. However with the good comes the bad and there are people who definitely aren’t afraid to tell us what they really think of our pieces. People can be extremely blunt and it’s often really discouraging. However there’s always going to be people who don’t like what you’re doing… so we take it on the chin and try to laugh it off.
What materials do you like to work with?
Our favourite, cannot live without, material is our collection of black biros. We have about four packets each and are very protective of them! Black biro is essentially the only material we use when creating our illustrations. We also use a range of textured materials to print our illustrations on including embossed metallics and suedes.
What things are you working on now and where would you like to explore in the future?
We are currently working on developing a new range of illustrations influenced by our recent travelling in Europe. We should have those out in the next few months. We are also working on developing our website with an online ordering system. We are hopeless at anything technical so we’re not going to make any promises on the time line of that one! In the future we want to develop our illustrations into textile prints and hopefully evolve them into a clothing range. After all, maiwaku is a girl’s story and what’s a girl’s story without clothes?