Saturday, May 2, 2015

Workshop: Kushutara - Bhutanese Weaving

Registration Opens June 22 at 10am.

2015 Maiwa Textile Symposium
Workshop Kushutara - Bhutanese Weaving 
Wendy Garrity

$250 includes 20 lab fee
Two Day Workshop: October 27, 28, - Class Limit 12

and/or

$350 includes 25 lab fee
October 29, 30, 31, - Class Limit 12

Maiwa Loft: Above the Net Loft, Granville Is. Vancouver BC



In these workshops, Wendy Garrity will introduce students to Kushutara, the sumptuous single-faced brocade used for women’s festival dresses in Bhutan. Participants will explore traditional Bhutanese motifs and learn sapma and thrima, the supplementary weft techniques.  

Participants will have the opportunity to examine samples of Bhutanese kushutara cloth and will learn to identify how different patterns are created.

Wendy learned by weaving alongside master weavers during a year living in Bhutan. She will share techniques not documented in the few books published on Bhutanese textiles.

Wendy’s Bhutanese teachers referred to each weft technique as a “stitch.” In these workshops Wendy will teach students to use and  combine the five basic stitches to weave these traditional Bhutanese motifs. She will also lead students through ways that they can begin to experiment with their own designs. 

In order to share Bhutanese weaving with western artisans, Wendy has adapted backstrap loom technique to the shaft loom. 

Although traditional Bhutanese kushutara is woven with a pickup stick and fine silk yarns, participants will learn using more substantial yarn that can be manipulated with the fingers, thus increasing the ground covered during this workshop. Wendy will demonstrate the use of the pickup stick with finer yarns so that students will be able to practise at their leisure after the workshop. 

Throughout the workshop Wendy will share her experiences living in Bhutan, attending festivals, teaching in schools, and weaving alongside locals.

This is a rare opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of weaving while also learning from someone who has made a true cross-cultural journey. Wendy joins us from Australia.

In this two-day workshop, participants can expect to learn two or three of the five basic stitches and may be able to begin combining them into larger designs. 

Both workshops provide a thorough grounding in Kushutara such that students will leave the class with confidence to work on their own projects. Those taking both workshops will be able to learn all five stitches and complete several traditional Bhutanese designs combining those stitches. Alternatively they may experiment with their own ideas for contemporary applications of these techniques.

Confidence with weaving plainweave and operating your shaft loom are essential. Participants must be able to bring to the workshop a table loom with a minimum four shafts. Students will receive instructions on dressing their loom prior to the workshop. It may be possible to accommodate backstrap weavers who do not use a shaft loom – please enquire.


Instructor Bio


Wendy has a lifelong involvement with crafts and textiles and a fascination with the traditional textiles of Asia. From 2010–2013 she took a career break to pursue her interest in textiles, women’s empowerment, and grassroots development. She combined volunteering with travel in Asia and South and Central America. Returning to Australia, she adapted the kushutara techniques to western looms in order to share them with western weavers. She documents traditional textile techniques at textiletrails.com and promotes the sustainability of textile traditions at every opportunity. 

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