Revel in the magic of Bhutanese fabrics as you follow The Weavers Trail. An itinerary that specially captures the enchantment of Bhutan’s matchless fabrics and takes you through every step of their creation.
The Weavers Trail helps you unravel the secrets behind.
* Materials that make the dye.
* Dyeing and spinning of yarn.
* The loom and weaving kit.
* Actual weaving methodology.
* Finished products.
To see how the Bhutanese weaves come alive, The Weavers Trail takes you through:
Bumthang – where you see the sheep development farm managed by the Animal Husbandry Department. This abundant supply of wool is then woven into the country’s famous fabrics – Matha and Setha.
Pema Gatsel – an area that holds out several insights into traditional weaving at its very best.
Radi – a place where you’ll see households with expert weavers producing the finest fabrics. The same fabrics that are in such great demand in the markets of Thimphu.
Khaling – this centre, not very far from Trashigang, produces fabrics which you will see again at the Handicrafts Emporium in Thimphu.
Weaving a Spell Over You
Few people know of the isolated Himalayan country of Bhutan. Still fewer know that among its many hidden treasures is a magical mosaic of rich vibrant hues and patterns, in myriad weaves. Weaves that have today become vivid symbols of the Dragon Kingdom.
Discover this timeless tradition on the Weaver’s Trail, a 13-day trip through the weaves of Bhutan, with Silver Dragon Tours & Treks, Thimphu. (A world Away Travels). Your host to a wondrous country.
Weaving- More than a tradition, a Passion!
The art of weaving is held in high esteem in Bhutan and it is surprisingly prevalent. Many women, especially in central and eastern Bhutan, weave at home. They do not belong to any particular social group or corporation, but are simple village women who use their spare time to weave clothes for their family, and sell what is left over.
The economic benefits of weaving, however, cannot fully indicate its social significance. The recognition and prestige that goes with being acknowledged as a good weaver is immense. In Bhutan, there are many women who have earned the honor! so intrinsic is weaving to the culture and tradition of Bhutan, that it is a favorite topic of discussion. People constantly compare notes and judge the quality of weaving. The tightness of the ground weave, the delicacy of the supplementary weft or warp patterns, the ingenuity of motifs, colors and combinations. Each of these is discussed and commented upon at length.
Weaves that capture the imagination
Bhutanese weavers use cotton, silk or wool to create intricate patterns. But the fabrics they are best known for are Brocade Patterning and the Floating Warp technique. In the former, designs are woven in the ground with either the supplementary weft or the supplementary warp technique. The floating warp technique creates beautiful patterns on the front of the fabric. But such is the skill involved that the reverse bears no evidence of this.
Weaving in Bhutan – Unique dimensions
Weaving has special social significance in Bhutan. Apart from weaving for home consumption and supplementing income, fabrics are also woven to be given as gifts. On occasions like promotions and marriages, they are presented in a set of prescribed odd numbers. These may be 3,5,7 or 9, according to the rank of the recipient. What’s more, reselling a dress (Kira) is fairly common. Whenever a person does not like her Kira any more or needs to raise money, a sale may take place. Fabrics are considered assets, which can be traded in the same way as gold, land, or stocks and bonds. Once an economic force, the gift of woven fabrics has today become an important custom. A proud tradition that is prevalent even in the urban parts of Bhutan.
Looms that create magic
The tools of the weavers trade are themselves objects of great fascination. Traditionally, fabrics were woven of a back strap vertical loom. Today, this loom is used mainly for cotton and silk fabrics, while wool is woven on a pedal loom.