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.
Artist and textile designer Rebecca Layton discusses the history, craft, and culture of hand wood block printing in India, as well as the process and collaboration behind her own contemporary block prints. 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. She’ll share the hands-on process from sketch to finished product in her textile collections, showing the studio design process and the rewards and challenges of working on site in another country.
Rebecca Layton is the founder of Rekh&Datta, a line of 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, living and working there full-time from 2010-2012. She returns to India for several months each year to continue her work with artisans in this tradition. Layton is an artist who has exhibited and taught in the US, Spain, and India, and has done residencies at MacDowell Colony, the Skowhegan School of Art, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Jentel Artist Residency, Kunstlerhaus in Salzburg, Austria, and the Wurlitzer Foundation, as well as having been a Fulbright Senior Scholar in India. Her design studio is in Austin, Texas.