Threads of Culture: Textile Arts Immersion
A joint project of Mystic Art Retreats and Raj Arts Initiative
with Charles Ekabhumi Ellik
Delhi, Panipat Rajasthan
Nov. 11-24, 2019
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.
Keep reading for more detailed information about the immersion and what you’ll experience.
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
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
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.
DESTINATIONS (As time allows)
- Asia’s largest textiles Market –Old Panipat (Open-air market amid historic buildings)
- City Palace –Jaipur (unbelievable beauty, incredible architecture, fantastic astrological artifacts)
Lodi Gardens –New Delhi (Serene scenic gardens with crumbling monuments)
Raj Textiles –Panipat (Group of four factories with thousands of employees)
Raj Estate Farmhouse –Panipat (intimate instruction and traditional handicraft demonstrations)
Amber Fort & Nahagar Fort –Jaipur (magnificent Hilltop Fortresses filled with glorious decor)
Jantar Mantar –Jaipur (fantastic astrological architectural wonders)
Royal Cenotaphs –Jaipur (lovely intricate monuments in a quiet park-like setting)
Jaipur Textiles Factory –Jaipur (block-printing workshop)
Old Pink City Bazaar –Jaipur (teeming hive of activity amidst a riot of colors)
Connaught Place –New Delhi (Shopping and dinner)
Humayun’s Tomb –New Delhi (Stunning sandstone masterpiece)
Khan Market –New Delhi (Shopping and dinner)
PRICES (installment payments can be arranged)
Shared Room (one roommate)
New Delhi and Panipat: $2800
New Delhi, Panipat, and Jaipur: $3300
Private Room (no roommate)
New Delhi and Panipat: $3300
New Delhi, Panipat, and Jaipur: $3900
Limited scholarships available by application only.
Send an email to:
Payment method: Paypal
+Info and Registration: Mukul Purohit:
- 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
13 nights (3 in Delhi, 7 in Panipat, 3 in Jaipur)
Sight-seeing and shopping in New Delhi (and tips on haggling)
Transportation to all destinations, including 1st Class train trip
- Air ticket from your country to India
MORE DETAILS (About our project and the immersion)
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 12-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.
- Instructor: Charles Ekabhumi Ellik (Artist-In-Residence)
Instructor: Shailin Smith (Raj Arts Initiative)
Producer: Mukul Purohit (Mystic Art Retreats)
All skill levels welcome! Please notify us if you are already a skilled textile artist so we can contact you to design a custom instruction curriculum.
LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION
- Examples of past artist-in-residence projects: www.therajartinitiative.com/about
- Examples of textile wall art: www.rajoverseas.org/blank-1
- This cultural immersion is a partnership between Mystic Art Retreats and Raj Arts Initiative:
SUGGESTED READINGS (No reading is required to enjoy the immersion)
- The Fabric of India – Rosemary Crill
Shop Class as Soul Craft – Matthew B. Crawford
Bhakti Coloring Book and Shakti Coloring Book - by Ekabhumi Charles Ellik
PLANNING YOUR TRIP
(we will send you more detailed suggestions and a packing list after you register)
- REGISTER: If you hear the call to participate, first thing to do is get in contact with us to guarantee your place at the retreat. Please contact Mr. Purohit:
PLANE TICKETS: we suggest you purchase at least 2 month prior, arriving in New Delhi after noon on November 10th, 2019. Your return flight should be from Nov 24th morning, 4:00 AM or thereafter. Hotel check-out is at noon on Nov 24th.
HOTEL: If you are in New Delhi before Nov 10th, or if you plan stay in India after Nov 24th, you will need separate arrangements. Please let us know if you would like help booking your room for an extended stay. We highly recommend arriving at least one day early to recover from jet lag if you are flying from the Americas. Our hotels are exquisite but streets are noisy, so bring a few extra ear plugs.
VISA: check for the Indian Embassy from your country and follow what is needed to receive the Indian tourist visa. The online application for a tourist e-visa is usually confirmed within 24 hours if you are eligible. We recommend to confirm your visa at least 40 days in advance.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: We strongly recommended insurance; World Nomads is excellent.
FOOD: Indian food can be quite spicy and intense, though we do try to accommodate our guests with mild options. The meals served during the retreat are an experience by itself. If you are allergic to something else, please inform as soon as possible for us to be able to make special arrangements. We recommend bringing a few “nutrition bars” (Cliff Bars are great) for snacks during long trips.
WATER: All meals are prepared using filtered water. Is not recommended to drink water or brush your teeth using tap water. Peel the fruits you eat.
WEATHER: November days are warm (80°F), dry, and sunny, but may get cool quickly in the afternoons. Nights are cool (50°F); you might use a good hat, jacket, scarf or shawl, and nice pair of warm socks. Avoid tight clothing, shorts, short sleeves, or exposing shoulders or cleavage out of cultural respect; we will visit areas where tourists are rare. Bring sun cream and lip balm. Indoor shoes and comfy shoes for long walks are recommended.
REFUNDS AND CANCELATION
If requested in writing, full refunds will be given within 7 days of payment minus a 15% service charge. No refunds will be given after 1st September 2019. We cannot be responsible for visa issues, acts of god, or modified itineraries due to the typical chaos of travel in India. Our staff is highly experienced and we will do our best to ensure your participation is as easeful as possible, regardless of any surprises. Full refunds will be given to all paid participants should the retreat be canceled by the organizers. We reserve the right to cancel at any time for any reason.