Weavers from Kheng Gongdu and Silambi Geogs in Monggar are learning how to use Mechi loom. The Mechis are a tribal people in Assam, India. Like our weavers from Kheng Gongdu and Silambi, they are known for the nimbleness of their fingers and the dexterity in weaving. The textile designs are also similar. There is only one difference. Their looms are much larger and reportedly easier to handle.
Weavers from Kheng Gongdu and Silambi use the traditional back-strap looms which is also used by weavers all over Bhutan.
Forty five-year-old Sangay Dema from Silambi is one of the 20 weavers who are attending the month long training. She said “it is easier and faster than our back strap loom. We don’t get back ache.” She now plans to use the Mechi loom and also teach other weavers in her village.
Twenty one-year-old Leki Chozom is from Khen Gondu. She is learning how to weave for the first time. “I learnt tailoring first and then weaving. One month is not enough for me to learn everything. I am lagging behind my friends. We started together.”
The training is being conducted by Monhini Sageer-ri. She is happy with the progress though the training has to be conducted in sign language.
“They can’t speak Hindi or Nepali and I don’t speak their language so we communicate through sign language.”
The experienced weavers are learning faster than the new ones. She also believes that one month may not be enough for new learners.
“Maybe in two months, they can learn everything there is to learn. The older weavers pick up faster than the younger ones”
Organised by the weaving center at Turlling in Monggar, rural women attend the training in the morning and NFE learners in the evening.