• Berkeley, CA, USA
  • Nov 10 - 24, 2019 (15 days)

About This Event

INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW

Welcome to a unique and spectacular two-week cultural immersion focused on the sumptuous textile arts of India. This full-service experience starts the moment you step out of the airport. It’s perfect for first-time visitors to India and those who seek an inspiring introduction to textile arts and a unique glimpse into the lives of India’s artisans.

You will enjoy world-class instruction, gourmet meals, and four-star accommodations throughout. All workshops, tools, materials, transport, meals, and entry fees are provided. We will visit some of the most spectacular sights, cultural institutions, and ancient bazaars in North India. You will return with a changed perspective, refined skills, new friends, amazing souvenirs, and unforgettable memories.
You will learn about weaving, embroidery, macramé, tufting, spinning, and dyeing. A lovely work of textile art –designed and made by you- will be completed with the help of a master artisan. You will visit factories, family estates, palaces, fortresses, museums, teeming bazaars, India’s largest outdoor textile market, and ride an elephant! Author, instructor, and artist-in-residence Charles Ekabhumi Ellik will be your guide.
This event is produced in partnership with the Raj Arts Initiative. Their parent company, Raj Overseas, is the largest exporter of hand-made rugs in the world, with 10 factories and over 6,000 employees. In the process soaking up this rich cultural experience, you will be helping to support the people and culture that produce traditional handicrafts and modern hand-made masterpieces. Our goal is to raise awareness of not only fine handicrafts, but of the priceless people and cultures that produce them.

Our lives are all interwoven in the tapestry of life; but it’s easy to forget in the modern urban world. The quiet wisdom passed down by our elders that is hidden in meditative creation of family heirlooms is too often disrupted by the flash and glitter of worldly ambition. This immersion celebrates the sacred transmission of cultural wisdom across generations.  Our goal is to nurture an intentional and mutually-respectful connection between people who are passionate about the arts. Together, we will reawaken our awareness of the intrinsic connection between all beings.
Textiles are a defining technology of civilization, one of the basic attributes that define a culture. Fabrics quite literally touch every aspect of our lives: we are protected, ornamented, and comforted by the materials we wrap ourselves in, sleep under, and walk upon. What we wear and how we wear it communicates who we are to ourselves and others. After language and gesture, apparel is the most direct way in which we personally communicate. Mystics describe the nature of reality itself as being woven from threads of destiny.
Modern society has largely forgotten rewards of lovingly creating high-quality heirlooms by hand. It’s no wonder so many people are so stressed, when the relaxing benefits of focusing on simple manual crafting have been neglected. There are few things more satisfying than completing a project that is beautiful, feels good to touch, enriches your home, can be given as a gift, or passed down to future generations.
Our goal is to provide a unique and transformative experience suitable for absolute beginners and creative people from any background. . Highly-skilled textile artists can also be accommodated by working at their own pace with local weavers on more specialized techniques, patterns, and materials. This is also an excellent opportunity for fine artists to inspect the facilities before applying for the Raj Arts Initiative’s artist-in-residency program.

Together we will learn about the rich culture of North Indian textiles, weaving, fiber arts, and the meditative benefits of focused manual labor. Participants will enjoy hands-on workshops with master artisans, embroiderers, and designers. Artist-In-Residence Charles Ekabhumi Ellik will give a preview of his experimental fine-arts projects at the factory, as well as share his personal views on creative work as meditation, sacred art and collaborative work.
Hands-on workshops will include: weaving on a traditional loom, carpet tufting, yarn spinning, fabric dyeing, macramé, embroidery, and block printing. Each participant will be assisted by professional weavers in creating a stunning piece of textile art in the form of a wall-hanging to keep as a personal treasure. While working on our projects, we will practice meditation techniques suitable for use with any simple repetitive activity, including art, craft, manual labor, or home chores.
Our 14-day journey together will include a wide variety of experiences. Students will begin with two days of touring museums, monuments, temples, and shopping districts in New Delhi. Workshops and instruction will be held primarily at the extensive facilities of Raj Group in Panipat, just a couple hours’ drive north of the capital. The adventure will culminate with a visit to the magnificent sights of Rajasthan’s capital city of Jaipur, including the romantic City Palace, peaceful Royal Cenotaphs, stunning Amber Fort, shopping in the old bazaar, artist studio visits, and much more. Locals who do not wish to join us for sight-seeing in New Delhi or Jaipur are welcome to sign up for the immersive “Panipat-only” option.

We have a professional team of teachers, hosts, and guides who live in the cities we visit, as well as our visiting artist, who are ready to assist. This is not a conventional sight-seeing trip with hidden costs or agendas. We are working with the non-profit Raj Arts Initiative to foster an environment of mutual respect for the sake of preserving and promoting hand-crafted textile arts. This is a cultural immersion into the creative working environment of people who make heirlooms for a living and are passionate about India’s rich culture.


Event Highlights

  • Working side-by-side with master artisans
  • Personal guidance by author and artist-in-residence Charles Ekabhumi Ellik
  • Learning to use a traditional loom at a bucolic farm estate near Panipat
  • New Delhi sights: Crafts Museum, Lodi Gardens, and stunning Humayun’s Tomb
  • Shopping: Khan Market, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, State Emporiums, outdoor Bazaars in Panipat and Jaipur
  • Jaipur sights: Romantic City Palace, Jantar Mahar, Royal Cenotaphs, magnificent Amber Fort & Nahagar Fort, shopping in ancient Pink City (Jaipur Photo Credits: Ekabhumi, Mukul P, UnityArt Nabiha and Thom) AND AirPano
  • Haggling survival workshop, so you can bargain confidently in the bazaar
  • Classes: Weaving, screen printing, wood block printing, macramé, meditation and optional morning Yoga asana classes
  • Tips on how to recognize high-quality craftsmanship when buying rugs, clothing, sewn items
  • First class AC train ride from Jaipur to New Delhi with views of the countryside
  • Two meals “out” at gourmet restaurants, including the scenic Once Upon A Time restaurant atop Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur
  • Four-star or superior accommodations throughout
  • All art materials and tools included
  • Field trips to visit local palaces, temples, bazaars, and architectural wonders.
  • 3 meals a day featuring a wide variety of gourmet vegetarian food
  • 14 nights (3 in Delhi, 7 in Panipat, 4 in Jaipur)
  • Sight-seeing and shopping in New Delhi (and tips on haggling)
  • Transportation to all destinations, including 1st Class train trip
  • Airport transfers

Schedule

November 10-23, 2019 (Subject to adjustments): We encourage you to arrive early in New Delhi to recuperate from jet lag in our business-class hotel. Please let us know if you plan to arrive early or stay late, and we will help with bookings.

Day 0 (Nov. 10): Arrival day: Many flights arrive early (2:00 AM), so we plan to have a hotel room ready for you. Or if you are already in town, join us for informal sight-seeing and shopping.

Day 1 (Nov. 11): New Delhi sights and museums: Humayun’s Tomb, Craft Museum, Khan Market

Day 2 (Nov. 12): Transition Day: Delhi --> Panipat: Tour of facilities, project design workshop

Day 3 (Nov. 13): Panipat: Tour of facilities – Spinning, Dyeing & Weaving

Day 4 (Nov. 14): Panipat: Loom Weaving Day 1(Group 1) / Screen printing (Group 2)

Day 5 (Nov. 15): Panipat: 11am to 1pm Old Panipat visit: Asia’s largest textile market & historic monuments tour 2pm to 5pm: Macramé workshop

Day 6 (Nov. 16): Panipat: Loom weaving Day 2 (Group 1) / Screen printing (Group 2)

Day 7 (Nov. 17): Panipat: Loom weaving Day 1 (Group 2) / Screen printing (Group 1)

Day 8 (Nov. 18): Panipat: Loom weaving Day 2 (Group 2) / Screen printing (Group 1)

Day 9 (Nov. 19): Transit day: drive from Panipat --> flight from Delhi --> Jaipur

Day 10 (Nov. 20): Jaipur: Amber Fort, Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, outdoor “Plein Air” painting class

Day 11 (Nov. 21): Jaipur: City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Royal Cenotaphs

Day 12 (Nov. 22): Jaipur: block printing workshop, Nahagar Fort, dinner at Once Upon A Time

Day 13 (Nov. 23): Transition Day Jaipur--> Delhi: Morning shopping in the old Pink City Bazaar, evening 1st class train to Delhi, arriving around 11:00 PM.

Day 14 (Nov. 24): New Delhi: Free morning to rest and pack, hotel check-out before noon.

Venue Highlights

The instruction part of this art retreat would be held at the factories of Raj Overseas - This event is produced in partnership with the Raj Arts Initiative. Their parent company, Raj Overseas is the largest exporter of hand-made rugs in the world, with 10 factories and over 6,000 employees. The Raj Group was established in 1939 in Panipat and since then they have established more than nine factories across Panipat. ​From transforming the raw wool into yarn, to creating finished floor coverings, a full scale end to end production happens within these factories. In the process soaking up this rich cultural experience, you will be helping to support the people and culture that produce traditional handicrafts and modern hand-made masterpieces.

Accommodations

Accommodation will be offered in a 4star category business hotel at Panipat and New Delhi. For visitors to Jaipur, the accommodation will be at a 4star category heritage style hotel.

Amenities

  • Air Conditioning in Rooms
  • Free Wifi
  • Towels
  • Coffee/Tea
  • Cafe
  • Restaurant
  • Fitness Center
  • House-Keeping

Menu Types

  • Vegetarian

Menu/Cuisine

Vegetarian Indian and Continental Gourmet meals will be served

Directions

All your travel arrangements are included - Airport transfers, local transport, sightseeing

Tags: art artretreat arts creativity sacredart textileart textiles

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We're glad you've joined our retreat community. See you around :)

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