Rajasthan is like a box of chocolates, filled with delights of different flavours. Its stunning, colourful and highly artistic handmade textiles are one such delight—one of the reasons why travellers should visit Rajasthan with an empty suitcase that they can fill up along the way! But, why stop at just shopping? With the availability of textile and craft workshops, travellers can pick up a few artistic skills while they travel. There are operators of all hues offering such tours and workshops, but very few will be able to match the expertise and renown as Studio Bagru in Jaipur.
A textile sourcing and design company that specialises in the traditional hand-block printing of Rajasthan, Studio Bagru works closely with the hand block printing artisans of Bagru. They also conduct highly interactive workshops focused on all aspects of block printing for beginners and for those in the textile design space.
Local artisans, who have been perfecting their craft for years if not decades, conduct the workshops. The outfit offers one- and two-day workshops. The one-day workshop starts off with masala chai and proceeds to a tour of the village where guests can interact with the artisans and see the process of block printing with the tour leader explaining every step in detail. Guests visit different areas, workshops and block carvers and then come back to the workshop to print an item on their own. They end the day with a delicious home-cooked lunch. In the two-day workshop, the first day is almost the same as the one-day workshop, except that participants get to do much more of the block printing process. On day two participants learn about dyeing and boiling of the fabric.
For those pressed for time, Studio Bagru offers a walking tour enabling travellers to see and experience the process of block printing and interact with the artist.
For a traveller this experience allows for exchange of ideas that they otherwise would not be able to have. This is especially useful for designers who want to understand the traditional craft and understand the practical and grassroots aspects of textile design and creation.
Price: Rs 6,000 per person for the one-day workshop; Rs 10,500 for the two-day workshop; and Rs 4,500 per person for the photo/walking tour
Read more: https://www.studiobagru.com/bagru
The impact on community life, culture, and income through the work and workshops conducted by Studio Bagru is substantial. During these design skills training sessions, artisans are reimbursed for their time, and realise the respect that an outside design community and regular travellers have for their work. As this business model grows, it will increase the income of the women, and allow them to focus on creating new designs and grow their businesses. During the tours and workshops, travellers are educated on how to be respectful of the culture and environment. They are expected to take permission before taking pictures, since most women artisans don’t like being photographed without covering their head. They compensating artists whose facilities are used during the tour. The outfit respects local holidays and festivals and does not take tourists during those periods. They encourage tourists to ‘take only pictures and leave only footsteps’ by limiting single-use plastic. The Studio uses water sustainably during the dyeing/boiling processes.