This was the final workshop of our Jaipur trip, and it was a true culmination of everything we’d learned. We drove out to Bagru again, this time to Jaitex Art, for a session on true woodblock printing (as opposed to the mud printing for indigo resist).
When we first signed up for the trip, many moons before departure, we were given the opportunity to each design our own woodblock. Our designs were sent to India, and our blocks were carved by master artisans in preparation for our arrival.
When we all met at the hotel for dinner on the first night, our blocks greeted us by candlelight. It was the cutest gesture and a very warm welcome to a new place with a new group of people.
The center photo shows the block I designed, with the two nested triangles. I wanted something that could make some fun repeats and tesselations. To augment our designs, the workshop included a huge table covered in woodblocks that we could use, and that felt like Christmas. It was so hard to choose between the hundreds of blocks, but I grabbed an armful of various triangles and tried my best to just go for it.
The pigments used for these prints were natural dyes. We had access to four colors: black, yellow, red, and brown. I chose to limit my design to just black and yellow because those are my favorites, and I wanted to maintain a very graphic, modern look.
I played with different repeats of my block, and added other triangle blocks where appropriate. I didn’t plan the design out in advance, which was very contrary to my usual style, but my biggest takeaway from the week was to let myself play and be creative. So I just started. I worked my way around the edges, and filled my scarf: triangle by triangle.
I’ve probably said this about every day, but it was so fun to see what everyone else was working on. This project was especially interesting, because we were all working with blocks that we had designed months ago, often with certain intentions in mind. We had all learned so much over the course of the week that many of us ended up making entirely different creations than we anticipated when we first designed that block. And that was pretty awesome.
Every scarf was so beautiful, special, and unique.
This picture makes it look like everyone went with yellow, but the red dye actually looked yellow until it was set with a mordant that set the dye permanently and turned it red.
It’s been fun to go back through these pictures a full three months after the trip. This blog post reminds me that there are so many more things I want to print, and I’d love to try different colors and different variations of my little triangle woodblock. That block and my handprinted scarves are some of the best souvenirs I’ve ever brought home from a trip, and I will cherish them and their memories for a long, long time.