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
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
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 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
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
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
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.
I have recently enjoyed a rather clear video of kushutara weaving posted on YouTube:
It’s nice to see a close-up video of a weaver working relatively slowly. Continue reading
I had the opportunity to accompany Active Travel’s Textile Tour group for a few days. South of Trongsa, we visited the Tarayana Foundation’s unique project that has revived the art of weaving cloth from the bark of stinging nettles. Continue reading
As I travelled to Phobjika in November, the cold weather was prompting the wearing of Yathra garments. Continue reading
Recently the King of Bhutan married his bride, Jetsun Pema. Watching the ceremony taking place in Punakha, I heard Bhutanese wondering why the King was wearing floral brocade rather than one of his many handsome aikapur ghos, which they considered more typically Bhutanese. Continue reading
Kushutara pieces are expensive because they are so labour intensive, so I have purchased only one large piece. The remainder of my “collection” is in the more affordable form of the photographs on the other pages of this website. Continue reading
Along with mathra, Sethra is a very popular plaid associated with Central Bhutan. Continue reading
The addition of sapma motifs to sethra or mathra woven for a woman’s kira is a more recent innovation and designated “pesar” or “new design.” Continue reading
I have not had the opportunity to weave yathra, and only the briefest opportunity to watch it being woven. Continue reading
In addition to the backstrap loom two other kinds of looms are used in Bhutan: the frame loom and the card loom. Continue reading
Mathra is a predominantly maroon plaid, originally from Kurtoe, but now more closely associated with Bumthang. Continue reading
The Bhutanese describe the width of these supplementary warp patterns in “legs” which are counted in the cross-hatched bars that run at right angles across the yellow and red stripes. Continue reading
In this close-up, you can see how the supplementary weft threads in this type of pattern (on the green ground in this gho) are taken all the way to the rainbow stripes, and the point where they reverse direction is hidden there. Continue reading
Thrima means “to coil” and there are several ways the Bhutanese coil the supplementary weft threads in their kushu designs. Continue reading
Sapma designs look very similar to supplementary weft patterns from non-Bhutanese weaving traditions, except that the Bhutanese technique is not visible on the reverse of the fabric. The other difference is that thread ends are worked as pairs. Continue reading
The rigid part of a Bhutanese backstrap loom consists of a platform to sit on connected to a vertical frame Continue reading
The Bumthang area of Central Bhutan is famed for supplementary-weft work in wool. Continue reading
A stiff 3-hour walk up the hill from Khoma (1000m higher) brought us to Goenpaka, where the standard of kushutara weaving is even higher. Here the weavers’ skills are so highly valued that they are completely spared from working in the fields, and can weave throughout the day and into the evening.
I had the great joy of spending 5 days in the village of Khoma in Lhuentse, Eastern Bhutan, the area famed for weaving kushutara.
These ones have supplementary weft designs between the stripes of (yellow and red) supplementary warp patterning. Continue reading
Tsechu (festival) time is heaven for a textile voyeur like me. Everyone wears their finest clothes, and in Paro that meant the opportunity to see many especially fine kushutara kiras on the women. Continue reading