The Yathra Journey
In the village of Bumthang, Kingdom of Bhutan, I met weavers who introduced me to theYathra tradition. The Bhutanese practice a skilled craft that has been refined and perfected for a thousand years. As a result of caring work with their animals - yaks and sheep - and their exceptional handiwork, they create a fabric that is riveting, colorful, spiritual - one that has never been introduced to the United States (until now). They are my source of vests, jackets, shoulder bags and table liners. Indeed, Enlightened Clothing and Textiles™, exclusively from SamSara Gear.
In Bhutan, both sheep and yak wool are the source of Yathra . The farmers go to great lengths to care for their animals. They're fed well and allowed to roam. This nurturing translates to extraordinarily soft yet strong wool. Contrary to popular belief, sheep and yak who are bred for their wool are allowed to live out their days in the pasture.
The sheep and yaks are sheared at intervals throughout the year. Once sheared the wool is dyed by dipping it in plant and tree bark to bring out the glorious range of colors. Wool is then collected and delivered to the weavers. This is where the real magic happens.
Because each piece is hand loomed, no two designs are alike. Each one is developed by the creative minds of the weavers. weavers use horizontal frame looms - known as "treadle looms". This large tool allows weavers to painstakingly and expertly bring their fabric into being.
Some of the wool used by the weavers is not endemic to Bhutan, but instead imported from India. As such the dyeing may involve chemicals unlike the pure organic dyeing done in Bhutan.
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