Head Of Production
Masai Stories — Veronica Hodges
MAUDE MCNAIR RAHBEK
She is Masai’s Production Manager, so her responsibilities encompass the entire process of creating every piece in our collections. Maude has extensive knowledge of textiles and manufacturing techniques, and her dedication to the different disciplines that go into creating the best possible garment from the very best materials available is a daily inspiration.
Maude has traveled the world and is in close contact with the people who take the design and turn it into a beautiful fashion statement.
“Here at Masai, we’re extremely proud of our suppliers. Some of them we have worked with since the very first collection, so they know Masai as well as we do. It’s equally remarkable that our main suppliers are women, which lends a special understanding to the collections we create together.
We don’t actually have very many suppliers, but we work extremely closely with the few we use. In fact, we work so closely that we sometimes get invited to a family wedding or receive a happy phone call with news of a daughter’s engagement.
I feel so privileged, and it really warms my heart that I can work in the company of such wonderful women. I also feel that stopping to think about how many women’s hands have touched a particular Masai garment before it finds its way to the shop hanger makes you feel part of something bigger.” -Maude
My collaboration with Masai
I was contacted by Lene Louderback, Masai's creative director, who wanted me to design some scarves based on my paintings. Masai then picked four unique works to feature on two long wool scarves and a square silk scarf. The four works represent the different artistic concepts that I work with. They consist of paintings, photographs, prints, and drawings. The works we have chosen for the collection have been painted in multiple expressive layers. They have a very progressive look, where some elements have been poured on, some painted on, and some sprayed on. Parts of it have been calligraphed, and the colors I have used are very bold and sensual.
What inspires Birgitte
"Beauty in itself isn't interesting because it needs something to challenge it. There has to be something unsettling and frightening about it, because you need a balance between beauty and the immediate, and the more complex, the dark, the deep and the slightly dangerous. Beauty needs to be challenged and contrasted."
The first picture...
I bought my first picture when I was a student. I was cycling down Gammel Kongevej when I saw this picture, and I thought to myself, I have to have this! I thought it would be really expensive and was too scared to even go inside to ask how much it cost. I did it anyway, and I was told it costs 30,000 kroner (approximately 3.5K USD). I left the shop thinking that I would never be able to afford it. But I had a friend who had just inherited some money from her father, and she ended up lending me the money. It took me 6 years to pay that painting off. I don't collect pictures for their value; I collect them because they speak to me. I experience a sort of affinity with the paintings and the women. It's almost like they're coming home with me, that we're together now. That I have my girlfriends around me. Maybe all these women are just different sides of myself.
The art of creating...
How do you become good at cutting paper? I actually believe that it is a tool. I believe that being able to fashion something from a thought inside your head is a tool. You work at it until what you have created with your hands is exactly the same as what's in your head - or better. It's probably got something to do with whether you're good at visualizing what you see and turning it into something physical. Can you materialize your thoughts? Isn't that what the creative process really is? It's a muscle you have to train, just like anything else, I guess.
Being an artist and a woman...
As a female artist in today's world, I think it's important to have support from a partner or someone who believes in you. I think it was much harder in the past when society expected you to have a lot of children very quickly, and there was a high mortality rate. The mother was often left with the sole responsibility of bringing up the family. When I study women who have been allowed the time to paint, I realize that they've had a man to support them. They've been allowed to sit and paint for 12 hours a day, even if their kids were screaming in the other room. Some of them have partners who are also artists and so have understood the situation from an artist's point of view. I think this is a condition you need for perfecting yourself. It's one thing to paint endless portraits, but being good at it, like many of the women I'm interested in, well, you need time for that.
I always love seeing the materials. When I touch something, there's a form of resonance. I get excited, I want to touch it and do something with it - to reinterpret it. I believe it's essential to apply this approach to life. If you don't see the opportunities before you, then the world starts closing down. Because creativity lies in things changing and is life-changing.