Design fans, you’ll love the photos from this workshop that took place in Joshua Tree last fall. Block Shop, an LA-based textile company, brought together a group of creatives to teach them the Indian tradition of hand block printing using carved wooden blocks and naturally made dyes. Gathering with a group of like-minded makers and soaking up some sunshine at a homestead out in the Mojave Desert while designing scarves sounds like the perfect way to spend a Sunday.
We recently had a little chit-chat with Lily and Hopie, the sister duo behind Block Shop, and they filled us in on how they got started with their business and the inspiration behind their workshops. Stay tuned for more workshops from this crew, as they’re always adding new gatherings to their calendar. Make sure to sign up for notifications of upcoming workshops here.
Words by Hopie and Lily of Block Shop
Tell us about the workshop - what inspired you to host the workshops?
The workshops are our way of inviting people into the to the collaborative spirit of our work, and passing on the ancient craft of hand block printing, exactly the way we’ve been studying it in Bagru for the past six years. We love our customers, they’re the kind of women and men we want to be friends with. From screenwriters, to flower farmers, to geo-climatologists, to conflict zone journalists...they’re interested in the world around them. We always wish we could invite all these Block Shop folk over to dinner and hear their stories. In a sense, this is our way of doing that.
What do attendees learn at the workshop?
What should people come away with? An adventure, a new skill easily applied at home, new connections with lovely like-minded people, creative expression, and the confidence to make something beautiful.
How did you select the workshop location?
The biggest joy of hosting workshops here is sharing this otherworldly landscape with our workshoppers. Not simply taking it in, but working in it. The desert strips away stimuli, relaxes the senses and even slows the heart rate; it releases people from their daily tensions and can open up creative block. Open physical space, open brain space.
Tell us about blockshop and how/why the company was started.
Block Shop is a textile company based in Los Angeles and Bagru India, founded by sisters Hopie and Lily Stockman. Block Shop began as a passion project in 2010 when Lily was living in Jaipur for a year on a painting apprenticeship. A friend introduced her to Viju, a fifth-generation printer outside the city and they started collaborating on large-scale unstructured paintings that served as the blueprints for our first scarf designs. Hopie visited six months later and fell in love with the ancient printing technique and Viju’s wonderful family.
When we launched our business in 2013 our goal was to create a market for our designs and bring visibility to the master printers we were collaborating with. Now we employ over twenty people in Rajasthan. We work directly with our printers and weavers –no middlemen– to ensure fair wages. Our business mission is to make heirloom textiles that have high social benefit and low environmental impact. We donate 5% of our profits towards community healthcare initiatives.
Our collection of home textiles now includes scarves, pillows, quilts, and cotton dhurries, all printed, stitched, or woven by hand in Rajasthan.
Workshop + Images: Block Shop
Make sure to sign up for notifications of upcoming workshops here. !
MEET THE CORRESPONDENT
Hopie & Lily