“A Brush with Blocks”
Savista offers its guests the opportunity to learn textile block printing as taught by the artisans of Bagru. A majority of the brilliantly-coloured and printed cotton fabrics of Jaipur – for which the city is justly famous – are a product of this block printing craft.
Bagru is a village located just 8 km from Savista, that has been the seat of this highly evolved textile block printing industry. While the industry has had an unbroken presence in Bagru for the last at least 350 years, some historical sources trace it to the over-4000 year-old Indus valley civilization.
The craft uses mainly hand-woven fabric made from natural fibers, hand-crafted wooden blocks, and custom-made vegetable and mineral-based dyes. The quality of the water, soil and plant resources of this region all had a role to play in the evolution of the craft.
Guests who opt for this two nights-three days package will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the traditional work environment of the artisans, where master craftsmen will introduce them to the processes of washing, dyeing, color fixing, block carving, printing, and textile finishing.
For Whom & Why
The workshops ought to be of interest to the following audiences:
Those traveling to India, who wish to cover the golden triangle, i.e., Delhi-Agra-Jaipur. By adding a few extra days to their itinerary, travellers have the opportunity to strike an ideal balance between visiting monuments and savouring these major cities, and adding a new dimension to their personal growth, i.e. experience local culture while living in the Rajasthan countryside in great comfort, learn an ancient craft at its source, and understand a micro economy that has global linkages;
Those inclined to explore textile block printing as a hobby,and who are looking for a readymade opportunity to do so. This could cut across persons of all age groups who are looking for a new creative experience: high school and college graduates on fellowships or who have taken time off between pursuing further studies or choosing a professional career, older adults taking a break from routine jobs or businesses; and, those in middle age or retired persons wishing to re-ignite their creative urges;
Those in the field of professional design. The opportunity to learn more about this centuries-old craft, and source beautifully-crafted textiles straight from the workshops of the artisans, might open up new avenues for the application of the craft to the mutual benefit of both the artisans and themselves;
Budding entrepreneurs Budding entrepreneurs who see a business opportunity in the fields of design and procuring and marketing of textiles/garments; particularly those who are oriented toward fair trade and sustainability and who wish to create a network of like-minded individuals: artisans, designers, retailers, and suppliers;
Just about anyone who has ever worn a block printed garment, and is curious to come up close to the craft in its traditional cultural context.
Alongside personal enrichment, guests will also have the great satisfaction of:
Undertaking travel and developing a hobby/skill that has perfect synergy with the local micro economy;
Introducing and sharing creative designs across cultures and continents, and gaining design perspectives from many points of view simultaneously;
Helping imperceptibly establish global linkages for the Bagru micro economy. At the moment, the artisans lack in the understanding of international designs and fashion trends. The “dialogues” between artisans and diverse participants from across the world will help increase awareness of new fashion trends, and of the available technologies for environmental sustainability. The dialogues are also expected to create an environment for building entrepreneurial, financial, and marketing capability in the Bagru micro community, and capacity to engage in design innovations to keep pace with changing market preferences. This could be an important feel-good factor;
From the proceeds of this initiative, Savista Retreat plans to institute a scheme of scholarships and financial grants, through which it hopes to motivate meritorious young women and men of Bagru. There will be two scholarships: one for a person who has shown interest in growing her/his small business, and the other for a youth who wishes to continue her/his education but does not have the means to do so.
The Jaipur Block Printing Workshop
“A Brush with Blocks” will involve a two nights-three days stay at Savista.
On Day One, participants will learn about block carving, printing, and natural plant and mineral-based colours. They will also select a wooden block of their choice from the wide range available.
On Day Two, they will be taken through the process of washing, dyeing, color fixing, and printing, followed by a hands-on experience of printing a length of fabric of their choice, using the block(s) that they have selected.
On Day Three, before they depart, participants can either finish any remaining work on their textile, or pursue any special interest relating to the industry in Bagru. Finished fabrics will be mailed to participants.
The cost of this full board package includes:
breakfast; packed lunch; dinner; teas/coffees;
transport to and from Bagru;
all materials: textiles, blocks, colours;
all support: escort, compensation to master craftsmen and workshop premise owners, and other related agencies such as dyers, washers, etc.;
For those looking for a customized longer-duration experience/training in block printing, Savista is open to preparing such a package.