We invite you to come on a journey with us and discover this enchanting city, the people, the rich culture and heritage, and of course the crafts!
THE DREAMERS BEHIND SKILLSTOURISM
We’re Varis and Catherine. Mysore stole our hearts from the moment we arrived in early 2014. As lovers of the hand made we sought out the local artisans who live and breathe their craft. We learned how their knowledge and skill is passed down one generation to the next.
We want you to see what we’ve seen, to experience what we have, and then some! In India every day is full of surprises. We want to help you have the best holiday of your life and leave with new insights, skills and friends. Come discover Mysore and it’s crafts with us.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"I would recommend anyone to take this workshop. It was a fantastic experience to learn from a true master of his craft! Thank you so much for the opportunity!"
Prashanti - Charlottesville, USA
"I did this course with my three boys. They had used saws before but not me! It was difficult work, but fun too. I look forward to doing it again in December and starting a real project. Next time I will wear better glasses and cooler clothes! Ashok and Tanuja were very attentive and encouraging teachers. "
Jackson (14 years) - Charlottesville, USA
"My experience was very fun and hard. I learned a lot and made a lot of progress. The class was challenging but not frustrating. Being able to bring stuff home on the first day is very rewarding. I love the things I made. Ashok is a great teacher."
Eoghan - Kildare, Ireland
"I found the workshop to be fun and challenging. We got loads of support and guidance from the teachers and I picked up new skills quickly. It was a fantastic week and we learned the process from start to finish. I can now make my own pieces if I want to! Some of the days were very difficult and I became frustrated at times learning some of the harder skills, but that made it more rewarding to have the finished product in my hand on the last day. I would recommend anyone to take this workshop. It was a fantastic experience to learn from a true master of him craft! Thank you so much for the opportunity."
Ander (16 years) - Charlottesville, USA
"My experience here was awesome! I learned SO MANY things. I am excited to potentially do much more here later in the year and at home in the US where I have a bow cutter and lots of material! Thank you so much."
Zac, New York - USA
"My first lesson was wonderful! The three hours passed by very nicely. The instructor Ashok brings out the artist in everyone and makes the class very easy to follow. It was an incredible five day journey. This class brought out a sense of calm in working with wood. It also taught me to be patient and stay in the moment. Ashok and his support staff are incredible. They made these five days lots of fun and at the same time taught me a lot about the techniques used for inlay work. A big thank you to everyone here!"
Martin & Dila - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Silver Jewellery Making
"Thank God for Skillstourism! I always admired crafts in general including jewellery, but I never considered myself skillful or patient enough to do it myself. Working with my own hands and having the required patience were definitely never among my strengths. But when I met Varis and he told me about Skillstourism, my old limitation shattered into pieces. "It's no science, these are just ordinary people", Varis told me while we walked among the many craftsmen tiny studios of Mandi Mohalla's neighborhood in Mysore, "if you are open enough, you will learn". I signed up right away for a jewellery course, taught by master jeweller Shyam. Not only I learnt the basics of jewellery, but I also have tons of fun hanging out with Shyam and other local craftsmen, all very talented, hard working and good hearted people. In just five days I was able to make the engagement ring for my fiancé and another for myself. But what's more important, I realize that craft-working is like meditation, your mind stops and you're fully in it, nothing else matters! I became very patient during the course, it was very therapeutic. I will definitely sign up for another course next year, can't wait to learn more stuff!"
Shelly & Sophie - Tel Aviv, Israel
Textile Block Printing
"We attended Skillstourism workshop, during our stay in Mysore, for Yoga TTC. We enjoyed everything: the location is stunning - you feel the authenticity (rather than staying in the main touristic area), seeing the craftsmanship and old techniques, and lastly the block printing process - we literally felt like kids in a candy store! You get to let you imagination loose. We must mention that we also really enjoyed Catherine's company who was kind enough to guide us and make sure that we felt comfortable all along. We definitely recommend this special experience which we will remember as one of the highlights of our stay in Mysore! "
Avril - Cork, Ireland
Textile Block Printing
"Would highly recommend! Fairoz was so patient and informative. He really helped me create an artistic vision! Everyone was so welcoming - translating, chai, snacks and juice made it all the more enjoyable! I am delighted with my pieces."
Louise - United Kingdom
Textile Block Printing
"It was really exciting going to a less touristy part of Mysore, Mandi Mohalla is a really nice neighbourhood. We felt safe at all times. This part of India is friendly and quiet and very traditional and quaint. The place where we did block printing was so full of character and the huge padded printing table was big enough for everyone to print comfortably. I was very excited to see so many beautiful blocks, all hand carved from teak and ready for us to select and print with on the mini course. The staff were really friendly and welcoming, Fairoz mixed our coloured inks for us to use in the morning and after an initial demonstration from the very skillful Khan we were happy to be left to print at our pace. Khan and Fairoz were always on hand if we needed any help and were really good at helping line up patterns and showing us how to print difficult blocks. They also have an excellent eye on what works well so their advice was always welcome. The time just flew by when printing, it was such a happy feeling, creating beautiful pieces and feeling really excited about showing people our accomplishments. It’s amazing how professional our work looked despite having no experience with wooden block printing. This was one of the best activities I have ever done whilst on holiday. I really learned and absorbed a new technique and had some beautiful creations to show for my time there which I will always treasure. All the staff involved made it all so easy for this experience to happen and I really appreciated the time and attention from the artisans. Full of patience and kindness."
Francis - New Zealand
"This course has taken me from knowing nothing about marquetry to being confident that I could continue to develop my skills independently. The level of detail from learning how to string a saw to cutting and finishing techniques was comprehensive, and the instruction was easy to follow. The history of the teacher on the first day was very interesting. Thanks for the lessons. "
Michael - Austin, Texas, USA
"Very pleased with the level of patience shown. I learned a lot and had fun. I managed to make something beautiful. Would definitely take this course again."
Marianne - Byron Bay, Australia
"Amazing set up and workshops. So great to experience something totally different in India. Thank you so much Catherine. So great to have genuine great value service provided to tourists coming to India. Amazing!"
Nicole - Oklahoma City, USA
Textile Block Printing
"I recently took the block printing class offered by Skillstourism. It was a great educational experience all the way around. I learned a skill I will be able to use in a variety of creative ways in the future. All of the people involved were helpful and went above and beyond to make our week fabulous. I can't thank Catherine and Varis enough for providing this unique experience! I look forward to taking this tradition and making it my own, artistically."