• Painting

    A Christmas Painting for the Newlyweds

    watercolor wedding painting - a Christmas gift for newlyweds

    My little brother (okay, little by just 18 months) got married in June and it was just so great. I finally have a sister (in law) and it was so exciting to be a part of their special day and the months leading up to it. I wanted to do something special for them for Christmas, and decided to test my painting skills.

  • Printmaking,  Travel

    Woodblock Printing at Jaitex Art in Jaipur

    woodblock printing at jaitexart in jaipur, india with ace camps

    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).

    jaipur woodblocks at table
    first night dinner table, set with our custom blocks

    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.

  • Books

    My 9 Favorite Books of 2019

    my favorite books 2019

    I’m thrilled to report that in 2019 I read 51 books, completing my goal of 50 for the year. I track my books in Goodreads, which is good motivation and also helps me remember what I read (and whether I liked it). Most importantly, it helps me find my next book. I’ve always found choosing books to be the hardest part.

    I worked hard this year to pick up my Kindle instead of my phone when sitting on the couch or lying in bed, and I feel like this year re-solidified reading as a true hobby of mine. I’ve always loved to read, but as an “adult” it can feel less productive than what I “should” be doing, so for a long time I didn’t read nearly as often as I would have liked. But guess what? Reading books feels way better than scrolling Instagram. So I’m all in.

  • Printmaking,  Travel

    Indigo Dyeing with Block Printed Mud Resist

    Indigo Dyeing with block printed mud resist – samanthasews blog

    After two days of carving our own rubber blocks, it was time to graduate to real woodblocks, Jaipur-style. We piled into our Innova caravan and headed out to Bagru for our first workshop: Indigo dye with Dabu mud resist.

    Indigo Dyeing with block printed mud resist - samanthasews blog

    Before we even began printing, I was blown away by the woodblocks. They are works of art in their own right, and it’s amazing to know that each line, each swirl, is painstakingly carved by hand. Each block is designed with cues to ensure proper alignment with the repeat patterns, and it was so interesting to start to understand how it all works.

  • Printmaking,  Travel

    Block Printing in Jaipur: Abstract Stripe Block

    block printing with a hand-carved abstract stripe block

    When I signed up for the trip to Jaipur, I knew I’d love every part of it. It was a whole week that revolved around fabric – what could be better?! But there were two things that were a million times better than I had imagined. First: I was absolutely enthralled with block printing and, more than anything, loved that this class gave me some much-needed creative space to play. And second: everyone on the trip was wonderful, kind, supportive, talented, and FUN.

    The combination of these two factors made every single day a treat. On the first few days of the trip, when we were designing our own blocks and printing with Jen, there were great ideas being manifested everywhere. Everyone was working on something unique, and it was pure joy to take a break from carving my own blocks, walk around, and look at the eye candy that everyone else was making.

    block printed fabrics created by my trip mates

    With block printing, it’s impossible to be perfect (unless you’re Brigitte Singh…) and Jen’s attitude, which I worked to emulate, is to: accept that the imperfections will happen, plan for them in your work, and embrace them as part of what makes a handprinted textile so special.