english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England

My First Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani


Batik Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

A couple of weeks ago I attended my first workshop at Guthrie and Ghani in Moseley. Having visited on their opening day and had a nose at their upstairs studio, I was keen to go back and try a class there. A friend at work was attending a Batik Taster Session so I decided to tag along.

The course was run by Layla Tutt who is a local batik artist and, as she told us herself, first and foremost a rock chick and musician. Layla introduced us to batik by showing a number of her own works as well as pieces created in previous teaching sessions she has run with children.

Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening
Guthrie & Ghani Grand Opening

(Batik pieces by  Layla Tutt)

Batik Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

Layla then introduced us to the tools of the trade. The key tool is the tjanting which is used to create outlines in hot wax. This wax serves as a resist, creating an area protected from the paint which is then applied.

Batik Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

We were given the opportunity to dye either one large or four small pieces of batik. I went for the one larger piece but it did mean that my very first attempt was my only attempt, and by the time I had got to grips with the tjanting I had run out of fabric. On a single layer image (which was all that was really possible in a short session as we didn’t have enough time to allow the paint to dry) batik can be quite a quick technique. However, Layla stressed that a large, multi-layered image can take a long time to create; largely due to waiting for each layer to dry before starting the next. The tjanting appeared to be one of those tools that does take a bit of getting used (wax coming out too fast, not enough wax coming out, etc) so it was difficult to achieve much in a short session, but it was good fun to have a go. I really enjoyed it but think I’ll probably stick to lino/screen printing and direct fabric painting at home due to the additional barriers of getting to grips with batik (the need to purchase a wax pot and tjanting, and to learn a new technique).

Batik Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

Anyway, here is my batik piece from the evening. As I said, I only had one piece of fabric so I made use of every inch to squash on a fair few patterns and colours. Layla mainly creates floral patterns and her pieces inspired us to do the same – I think every single member of the class painted flowers!

Handmade Batik Print
Handmade Batik Print

Having finished painting my piece of fabric quite early in the evening I took advantage of the opportunity to pop downstairs into the Guthrie & Ghani shop to do some shopping.  I treated myself to some lovely Sevenberry fabric which I’m in the process of making into a blouse with a peter pan collar. Assuming I don’t slack off and spend too much time watching TV / reading blogs you’ll be seeing it very soon.

Sevenberry Fabric
Sevenberry Fabric


Author: Charlotte

Sewist, crafter & blogger, based in Birmingham, England. I'm spending the year growing and gathering to create natural dyes and enhance my sewing projects. Find me at www.englishgirlathome.com

2 thoughts on “My First Workshop at Guthrie & Ghani

  1. Oh I’m SO jealous! I was really tempted to go but couldn’t make the dates. I love your piece, it’s really lovely. I’m going to my first class there this Thursday, beginners knitting! It was great to meet you today 🙂

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