RTA conducts weaving program for school girls

School girls from seven dzongkhags across the country took part in a month-long weaving skills program conducted by the Royal Textile Academy (RTA) in Thimphu from July 1.

The girls who attended the program were from Thimphu, Paro, Wangduephodrang, Sarpang, Gelephu, Trashiyangste and Zhamgang.

They were aged between 9 and 20 and learnt basic weaving skills aimed at imparting textile knowledge and art of weaving to children, to preserve and promote the textile traditions of Bhutan.

Most of the students did not have prior weaving experience. Executive Director of RTA, Rinzin Ongmo Dorji said it was heartwarming to see young girls take part in the weaving program which is an integral part of Bhutanese tradition. “I am very much impressed,” she said. “It was also targeted to productively engage the students during their long summer vacation.”

During the course of the program, students wove 144 plain cotton mufflers. The students were provided with all the necessary weaving tools and materials by the RTA as well as a minimum stipend to purchase their back-to-school necessities.

Tandin Wangmo, a class VII student of Norbuling Central School in Sarpang said, “I used to learn weaving techniques from my mother at home, but taking part in this program helped expand my knowledge.” She added that when she gets back home, she will share this knowledge with her friends,

According to RTA, over 300 trainees have completed the training so far. The summer and winter weaving programs are for beginners. Students at first learn plain cotton designs and gradually move towards simple patterns and then proceed to silk yarn and intricate patterns.

Meanwhile, the mufflers woven by the girls were divided into seven different categories and nine judges inspected the best. One of the judges who witnessed the woven products said, “Although, most of the students had never woven before, the products they turned out were pleasant and innovative.” 

Students took about four days to weave a plain cotton muffler. As their skills progressed, they were trained in weaving simple patterns which took around one to two weeks for complete beginners.

The trainees are taught to weave plain cotton and silk weaves, yathra weaves, weaves with simple patterns and intricate patterns depending on their existing skills levels.

Student were awarded certificates and remuneration for their effort to learn and preserve the art of weaving.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu