In rural Bhutan it is crucial that one be able to provide for themselves. This includes clothing, housewares, food, and drinks. Villages typically will have at least one craftsman for each vocation in order to limit trips to the main town, which can be more than a day’s walk away.
The majority of the homes we visited had at least one loom for weaving kiras, ghos, blankets, or scarves. The women were the ones who most commonly operated the looms and various types were available. Some consist of two sticks placed between logs and the simple pattern is woven from yak yarn. Others were much more complicated and had foot pedals, many colors, and metal tools used to make the most intricate designs. Young girls are taught the skill from an early age.
Bamboo weaving is conducted by both men and women for many different applications. It is not uncommon to drive over bamboo sticks laid in the road by weavers to help flatten and soften the fibers. Baskets, floor mats, fencing, and room dividers are all created from different types of bamboo weavings.
These two pastimes are typically performed in the evening after work in the fields, school, or the paid jobs are completed. The workday ends a 4:00pm in the winter and dinner is served at 7:00, leaving two hours of light to work.