Art of the Rebozo: Painting on Silk Oaxaca Style with Costume Designer Hilary Simon

Oaxaca is the ideal location for this 8-night, 9-day silk painting workshop led by London, U.K. costume designer, artist and curator Hilary Simon from March 22-30, 2013.  Hilary will curate a London and Mexico exhibition on the rebozo in 2014, and we are fortunate to bring her to Oaxaca to give you this incredible experience to create a hand-painted silk rebozo based on Oaxaca motifs.

Inspiration for design is everywhere within the indigenous culture here and there is no shortage of topics to draw from: stunning scenery, food, flowers, textiles, archaeology and art.  Plus, this is Semana Santa Week, a perfect time for visual inspiration. During our time together, we will visit museums, markets and artisans to capture visual images that will become subjects for your rebozo.  If you have your own idea for a design, bring it! We’ll help you translate it to silk.

Silk painting is suitable for all levels, from total beginner to professional artists.  It is easy to grasp and execute.  Each participant will have a unique style that emerges in the class and this is a very enjoyable experience with exciting results.

We will use the French technique of gutta-serti on habutai silk.  The designs are outlined with gutta or water-based resists, which are applied to natural off-white silk that has been pre-washed, dried and stretched (on a stretcher).

The result will be a beautiful silk rebozo of your own creation                                   that measures at least 72″ long  x 24″ wide!

Hilary will demonstrate each step and walk you through the process.  First, we will practice on a small sampler before starting on the larger piece of silk that will become the rebozo.  This sampler can be made later into pillows and beautiful accessories.  You will see how the dyes react to the gutta and the fascinating effects that result.  Next, you will prepare a design to apply directly onto the silk with a soft pencil or paper stencil.  We will spend time exploring ideas and motifs, with sketches and photographs to stimulate your creativity.  You will also learn how to mix and dilute the dyes to expand the color palette.  The combinations are endless and the colors are rich and vibrant.

We will use Special Effects that include fine and coarse salt to give a mottled effect, alcohol to soften the dye intensity, and outliners to highlight designs at the final stages that yield iridescent, glittery, and metallic colors.  A Faux batik effect is achieved using hot wax that gives a crackle effect to the design.

Preliminary Daily Itinerary: This is Semana Santa Week in Oaxaca, an extraordinary time for visual inspiration.

Friday, March 22, Day 1:  Arrive and check in to your Oaxaca hotel.  If you arrive early enough, join us for a for a no-host dinner.  Overnight in Oaxaca city.

Saturday, March 23, Day 2:  Orientation and Exploration: After breakfast, we will explore Oaxaca on foot with sketchbook in-hand, visit galleries and museums, and soak in the Colonial architecture of this incredible city. Depart Oaxaca in late afternoon.  Check in to Teotitlan del Valle bed and breakfast.  (B, L, D)

Sunday, March 24, Day 3:  Talk and demonstration.  After exploring the famous regional tianguis (market) in Tlacolula in the morning, we gather in the afternoon to make the pipette to apply the gutta gum, practice on a piece of prepared stretched silk, learn how to control the gutta line which is the grounding for the development of the creative piece, then apply the dyes. (B, L, D)

Monday, March 25, Day 4:  Painting Demonstration.  Learn about the dyes and various dye application techniques: adding water alcohol, salts, painting wet on wet or wet on dry surfaces, layering.  Student work at their own pace, spending time on their personal interests.  Take a break to participate in the Lunes Monday processions. Don’t forget your sketchbook. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle for the rest of the week. (B, L, D)

Tuesday, March 26, Day 5:   Faux Batik  Demonstration as a final application. Bringing all the techniques together, Day 5 is the time to play with all that you have learned.  Prepare to begin your major piece. Ideas and sketching for the Rebozo. (B, D)

Wednesday-Friday, March 27-29, Day 6/7/8:  During this time, Hilary is available to help students with ideas and developments.  She will demonstrate and coach each person individually to express her/himself fully through their design.  It takes time to carefully prepare for the finished piece and we know that participants will each work at a different pace. For those who are speedier, more silk can be painted!  We’ll take a break to join villagers for Maundy Thursday processions.  Good Friday evening reception and Rebozo Exhibition.  Local guests are invited. (B, D)

Saturday, March 30, Day 9: Depart after breakfast.

What is Included:

  • 21 hours of instruction
  • Unlimited coaching
  • Open studio workshop time
  • All lodging
  • 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Guided visits as indicated in the itinerary
  • Transportation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Silk to practice on and for your long rebozo
  • All dyes, gutta-serti, and wood frames

What to Bring:

  • Your own watercolor brushes (we’ll send specifications)
  • A sketchbook and drawing pencil
  • Your inquisitiveness and enthusiasm
Meet Your Workshop Leader: Hilary Simon — Costume Designer, Artist, Curator.  Hilary is currently working on a textile exhibition of the Mexican Rebozo.  It will open in London at The Fashion and Textile Museum on February 2014.  In July 2014, the exhibition will travel to The Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City and then in December open at The Textile Museum in Oaxaca, Mexico.  It will have work from the Robert Everts collection, contemporary Mexican and British textile designers, fashion designers and artists, pieces from private collections, and much more.
From 1993 to 2009, Hilary was Head of the Costume Department at GMTV Breakfast Television.  In addition, she worked on film television drama, light entertainment and the theatre as a freelance costume designer.
A specialist in silk painting, she offers workshops worldwide at The Eden Project in Cornwall, England, Wildfiber in Los Angeles, and Artguat in Guatemala.   Her work has been produced on greeting cards giftwrap, books and book covers. Her images can be seen on the Bridgeman Art Library website.Lodging/Accommodations and Cost.  To keep this program affordable, we have selected a lovely B&B in Oaxaca City and a clean and basic B&B posada in Teotitlan del Valle, where most of our workshop is held.  Local meals are prepared by excellent cooks from organic ingredients made from scratch. Vegetarian options are available.

Base Cost: $1,595 per person double occupancy with shared bath facilities. Single rooms with private bath are available with a $300 single supplement.  Please tell us your preference below.  Use the Registration Form.

[ ] Option 1: I will share a room, double occupancy with shared bath, $1,595 per person.

[ ] Option 2: I prefer a single room with private bath for a total of $1,895 per person.

[ ] Option A: One-hour massage scheduled during open times in the weekly schedule. Add: $50.

Most travel workshops of this type and length cost more than twice as much! The workshop does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips/gratuities, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation to and from Oaxaca city.  We will arrange taxi pick-up and return from/to the Oaxaca airport at your own expense.

Reservations and Cancellations.   A 50% deposit based on your preferred options is required to guarantee your spot. The final payment for the balance due (including any additional costs) shall be paid by January 15, 2013. Payment is requested or PayPal. We will  send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register.

We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

To get your questions answered and to register, contact: normahawthorne@mac.com  Since we are in Oaxaca most of the year, we are happy to arrange a Skype conversation with you if you wish.

This retreat is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We reserve the right to make itinerary changes and substitutions as necessary.

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