Craftsmen in Khawachen Weaving Center work together to create handmade Tibetan blankets.
Khawachen studio was established in 1994 and is located in the very centre of Tibet. The Founder’s mission was to preserve Tibetan textile culture and popularise stories of Himalayan life. At its prime, the studio employed more than 300 craftsmen. Less than 30 is holding this fortress of art and culture today.
In the yard, craftsmen are sorting, combing, spinning and dyeing the yarn. Some are weaving and washing new designs. This collective effort brings a traditional Tibetan blanket to life.
It takes a whole month of skilled weaver’s work to finish a 3×6 inch portion of this fabric. The whole process takes 7 steps to finish and each step requires dedication and care. Tibetan rugs are not only functional but also highly decorative.
Wool used to make Tibetan rugs come from sheep living on plateaus, 4000 meters above sea level. The traditional weaving methods produce warm, thick and strong textile. These fibers are pure in colour, thick, strong, super soft to touch and have a slight sheen to them. Because the strands of wool are thicker, they are easier to dye, giving the rug a saturated, colourful pattern.