Textile Design Retreat
Textile Design Retreat
with Rebecca Layton of Rekh & Datta
Saturday & Sunday March 23-24
10am-5pm each day
Location: 442 Warren St
Class size limited to 8
Join textile designer Rebecca Layton of Rekh & Datta for this two-day studio retreat. Explore the Indian tradition of wooden block printing, learn the nuts and bolts of repeat patterns and experiment with color, shape and composition to build a small Kantha quilt.
Hand wood block printing is a craft that goes back many centuries in the subcontinent of India, and continues to be a sustainable and creative livelihood for artisans in many parts of India today. The technical prowess involved in hand block printing—as well as the particular charm and unique character in each piece of fabric—makes it an enduring and relevant tradition, especially within the current renaissance of handmade textiles here in the US.
Kantha quilting originates in Bengal and is a technique repurposes and reuse old cloths and saris. Kantha (Sanskrit for “rags”) embroidery is a simple running stitch, traditionally sewn by rural women, combining pieces of the beautiful woven Bengali cottons, creating a double-sided, light, functional cloth that is a unique heirloom, much like American quilts.
This studio retreat is designed for participants who are comfortable with unstructured time to experiment, under the guidance of the instructor, and open to sharing and receiving input from other participants.
Day One: Introduction to Indian tradition of block printing
Explanation of techniques and processes Intro to repeat patterns — technical aspects
Demo of printing process
Experimenting with simple printing techniques
Group table time show work and share discoveries
Day Two: Putting the pieces together
Continue printing depending on your process
Cut up printed cloth into smaller sections and lay out quilt composition, interposing with other woven and solid pieces and/or fabric brought by participants
Machine and / or hand sew together sections into small finished piece
Embroidery can be added
Complete quilt embroidery and finishing of quilt edges
Supplies to bring: (most printing supplies will be provided)
Plain white natural woven fabric to print on (3 yards) — should be pre-washed
Any additional light colored fabric for experimentation
Embroidery thread in a variety of colors
Your sewing machine
Basic sewing kit - Scissors (for cutting fabric), pins + pincushion, seam ripper, neutral thread for machine, needles for embroidery thread — if you don’t have everything it is OK we will have some supplies available to share!
Rebecca Layton is a textile designer and founder of Rekh&Datta, a line of fabric, accessories and clothing that are hand block printed in Rajasthan, India. Rebecca taught textile design in New York for many years before heading to India to study this ancient craft while living and working in India from 2010-2012. She returns to India every year to work with artisans to create her custom block printed fabric. Layton has exhibited and taught in the US, Spain, and India, and has done artist residencies at MacDowell Colony, Skowhegan School of Art, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Jentel, Kunstlerhaus in Salzburg, Austria, and the Wurlitzer Foundation, as well as having been a Fulbright Senior Scholar in India. Having spent many years traveling, working, and researching textiles in India, Rebecca will share her experiences developing unique prints and working with artisans who use these ancient printing and dyeing techniques. Rebecca will also share her own design process, as well as the craft and culture of hand block printing in India, a tradition that goes back many centuries there and continues to be a sustainable and creative livelihood for artisans in many parts of India today.
Rekh&Datta is a design studio producing small batch cotton clothing and accessories made from fabrics that are hand blocked printed by master craftsmen in Rajasthan, India. Rekh is the Hindi word for line; datta means shape. Together, line and shape are the foundation of design. Compelling, modern design is the springboard for our mission: to create handmade clothing and accessories that are mindful in their design, fabrication and construction. We are dedicated to merging art with craft to create timeless garments and furnishings that are as functional as they are luxurious. We are dedicated to creating garments that are created with the highest ethical and sustainable practices. Block printing is a craft that involves minimal impact on the environment. In fact, it can be done without any electricity at all in villages that use natural and low impact dyes. Rekh&Datta has a policy of using no intermediaries for production whatsoever, ensuring that fair wages goes directly to printers rather than middle men. Textile designer Rebecca Layton spent several years researching and studying the block print process before starting Rekh&Datta. Our line is based on the principles of slow clothes and holds to the core value of educating consumers as about how their clothing is made. We seek to preserve the value of the craftsmen and stitchers we work with to produce the highest quality with the lowest environmental impact.