I am pleased to announce that I will be giving a series of lectures and workshops in Bhutanese kushutara in the US this Summer 2017:
This year we are led by Patrizia Franceschinis Tshering. Living in Bhutan since 1982, married to a Bhutanese, Patrizia is an enthusiastic collector of textile art and handwoven textiles from South-South East Asia. Patrizia applies 21 years’ work in women’s development with international and non-governmental organizations with a life-long interest in textile design and hand weaving and has worked with Bhutanese master weavers and artists for decades.
I will also accompany the tour offering expertise in the techniques of Bhutanese kushutara weaving. The group will be capped at 11 guests.
This magical journey will wind through fertile valleys and villages, traversing the country to reach the little-visited textile heartland of kushutara in Eastern Bhutan. This trip is designed to deepen your experience of this fascinating country with a focus on Bhutanese textiles and opportunities to visit major sights.
The tour runs for 17 days/16 nights 23 Nov – 9 Dec 2017 and is priced at USD$$4748.00 per person (twin share/double, land package).
We had an awesome time on the 2016 tour (see photos at Textile Tour of Bhutan March 2016) and would love you to join us next year!
Note (April 2017): This tour is now fully booked, but you are still welcome to register your interest and be placed on the waiting list in case of cancellations. This also ensures you are notified immediately future tours are released.
To be added to the mailing list, please fill out the form below:
Recently I wrote about the imitation of shibori in embroideries on display in the exhibition China: Through the Lens of John Thomson at the National Textile Museum in Washington, DC (Textiles Imitating Textiles).
A few days ago, I was privileged to view the beautiful textiles submitted for Bhutan’s national textile competition and enjoyed another embroidery that beautifully portrayed textiles.
I loved going back to Bhutan with a decent amount of savings this time, meaning I could buy some of the high quality pieces I had only been able to collect as photos in 2011. Continue reading
The Textile Traditions of Bhutan tour 2016 has come to an end in Bhutan, but the memories and insights continue to be processed as guests return home. I am hearing from some that they are now reluctant to wash textiles purchased from nomads as their smell of wood smoke evokes Bhutan so strongly. Here is a little of what we got up to…
Want to join us on the 2017 tour? Receive a copy of the itinerary by filling out the form at 2017 Textile Tour of Bhutan
In Cusco, I was invited to the annual meeting and celebrations at CASA (Asociacion Campesina) and enjoyed the variety of traditional dress being worn by the women and men. Continue reading
I am fascinated by cross-pollenations between textiles of different cultures (such as batik influenced by patola designs, or block-printed fabrics imitating Thai kit designs) as well as across media (such as stone carvings depicting patterning in clothing). In October, I finally made my first visit to the National Textile Museum in Washington DC, and saw the exhibition China: Through the Lens of John Thomson and found another skilled imitation of one textile technique in another textile medium. Continue reading
In Zoucheng, our lovely guide took us to visit 3 families who were producing zha-ran, or stitch-resist tie-dye. Continue reading
Among pieces of tie-dye I had purchased in Arimatsu in Japan, were some pieces of indigo-dyed heavy cotton. I was fascinated with the small butterfly stitch-resist patterns, but despite scouring books on shibori techniques, I failed to find out how to create them myself. Continue reading
I am pleased to announce that I will be giving a series of lectures and workshops in Bhutanese kushutara in the US and Canada in Fall 2015: Continue reading
To create a new pattern heddle storage system, the weaver begins with her loom warped with the warp threads passing through a pair of fixed heddles for the ground weave, and then behind that, each warp end passing through it’s own long vertical string heddle. Continue reading
To avoid having to pick up the required warp threads to create each row of a supplementary weft pattern, Lao-Tai weavers have devised several methods of storing these patterns on their loom. Continue reading
I recently encountered a Bhutanese kira that is unlike any other I have seen. The weaver has pushed the boundaries both literally and figuratively. Continue reading
I had plenty of opportunities to see all stages of warp preparation while I was at Ock Pop Tok for 2 months and during a couple of visits to Vientiane, Continue reading
I saw this impressive piece covered in sihos (mythical lion-elephant creatures) pregnant with double-headed nagas (protective river serpents) and carrying their young and a frogman (or perhaps an ancestor spirit) on their backs at Phaeng Mai Gallery in Vientiane. Continue reading
When I was volunteering at Ock Pop Tok in 2011-12, I used to sometimes take a break to visit Mon and watch her weave beaded patterns on her Katu backstrap loom. Continue reading
Near Kompong Cham, I visited several weavers in and near the village of Prae Chung Kran, where I had been told hol was being woven. Continue reading
I am delighted to announce that Textile Trails, The Australian Himalayan Foundation and Bhutan and Beyond have teamed up to offer a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Bhutan tailored to those with a special interest in textiles and women’s empowerment. Continue reading
After the touristy atmosphere around Inle Lake in Burma, I found it a delight to travel up to the Shan hills and stay a few days in the less-visited town of Namshan.
Luntaya acheik, the celebrated “100-shuttle” tapestry fabric from the Mandalay area of Burma, is woven with tiny shuttles with tapered ends that allow them to do double duty as pickup sticks. Continue reading
Weavers in the Mandalay area specialise in acheik, sometimes called lun taya acheik, meaning 100-shuttle design. While not always using 100 shuttles, there were certainly plenty!
Cambodian hol fabric is patterned before it is woven, by tieing and dyeing the pattern into the weft threads. Continue reading
Ever since I bought my first piece of piece of 2/1 twill ikat silk in Chiangmai in 2001, I had wanted to see it woven, and finally in 2012 I was bumping along in a tuk-tuk heading out of Phnom Penh to Phnom Chisor to visit hol weavers. Continue reading
I was very impressed with the standard of weaving I found when I visited the Houey Hong Vocational Training Centre for Women. Continue reading
Laos is home to a large number of ethnic groups, many of whom still wear all or part of their colourful traditional dress, especially for festivals or weddings.
Last week I had the pleasure of taking Kay Faulkner’s East Meets West course at the Contextart Forum in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. Continue reading
Cambodian hol is woven on a plain warp, with all the design being in the pre-patterned weft (see Hol Weft Preparation). Once the warp is wound onto the board that will hold it at the foot of the loom, the hundreds of ends of very fine silk must be threaded through the reed (heddles are created once the warp is on the loom).
Recently I enjoyed browsing through the sumptuous kushutara brocades paraded down the catwalk at the Window to Woven Dreams fashion show held at the opening of the new Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan. Continue reading
I came across this magnificent piece at Nikone Gallery in Vientiane. Continue reading
At a weaving centre perched on stilts over the waters of Inle Lake, I saw the painstaking work involved in making lotus thread, traditionally used for monks’ robes. Continue reading
I purchased my first piece of 2/1 twill ikat in Chiang Mai in 2001, and as well as loving the soft pattern edges created by tying and dyeing the yarns before weaving, I was transfixed by the way the weave structure affects the colours as the fabric moves. Continue reading
I have Air Asia to thank for discovering this museum: they cancelled my onward connection Kuala Lumpur to Vientiane and gave me a whole day to fill in KL. Continue reading
Chonabot in Khon Kaen province is a centre for very fine mat-mii weaving. Continue reading
Zoucheng, north of Dali in Yunnan, is home to a thriving community of artisans practising the art of zha-ran, a type of tie-dye. Continue reading
A short break in Australia has given me a chance to catch up with the contents of parcels mailed home. Here are some clearer photos of the kushutara samples I wove in Bhutan. Continue reading
The ghada is woven in narrow strips, with an interesting technique for creating the textured bands that run weft-wise. Continue reading
The ghada is a cloth used for carrying light loads in the area of the Annapurnas where I lived for a couple of months. Adjacent corners are knotted together, Continue reading
Seeing the dark and cramped space where these saris are woven, I perfectly understood why the senior weavers from this workshop had taken their warp to the local park to prepare it for mounting on the loom. Continue reading
I was intrigued to find Bhutanese yathra-style jackets for sale in Kathmandu. Enquiring of the shopkeeper, I was told that they are woven further out in the Kathmandu valley by ethnic Nepalis, not Bhutanese immigrants.
Dhaka cloth can be woven with the pattern threads inlaid along with a ground weft thread, or only using only pattern threads in the weft, which produces an effect like tapestry. Continue reading
These striking fabrics are produced by the Toda women living in the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu. Glancing only briefly at them in Ooty shops I had presumed the patterns were woven, but Continue reading
This weaver had set up outside a shop in the bus park at Burtibang, a transport hub town in western Nepal. Her loom set-up was very similar to the backstrap looms used in Bhutan, Continue reading