Brand Bhutan: Karma Yangchen


Karma Yangchen, a distinguished artisan from Bhutan exemplifies a profound commitment to the art of handwoven textiles.

One of the few veteran hand woven textile producers from Bhutan, her journey began at the age of sixteen ignited by a fervent passion for Bhutanese textiles eventually transforming her into a skilled textile designer. At twenty she founded her own textile business, evolving into a pioneer of natural dyes with over 25 years of expertise.

Achievements of Karma Yangchen

As a revered resource person for the Handicraft Association of Bhutan (HAB) and the Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Craft (APIC) Karma has generously shared her knowledge, training over 2000 weavers nationwide in the intricate art of natural dyeing. Notably she and her team had the grand honor of crafting the Royal attire ‘Namza’ (Gho) for King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck during His Majesty's 2008 coronation, facilitated by the Royal Textile Academy.

Mission of Karma Yangchen

Recognized with the Bhutan Seal of Excellence in 2010, Karma remains devoted to preserving traditional Bhutanese weaving techniques and employing the finest materials. Her design inspirations stem from the surrounding nature, a motif reflected in her zero-waste weaving studio. Implementing a meticulous approach to measurements and quality control, she ensures zero yarn wastage, repurposing dye waste into organic fertilizer for her kitchen garden.

Karma Yangchen champions sustainability, emphasizing the global shift towards natural fibers and dyes amid climate concerns. Through her eco-conscious practices she strives to convey the significance of harmonizing with nature.

In the realm of natural dyeing, Karma stands as an exemplar, melding ancestral traditions with sustainable production. Situated in Punakha valley, she employs pure homegrown natural dyes, including madder and creeper, employing traditional methods handspun by skilled artisans (local community women weavers) and woven on a loom, one of Bhutan's oldest looms, often crafted from bamboo.

Dedication and Inspiration

Karma's creative repertoire extends to innovative textile products, such as the tapestry GNH Wall Hanger, woven from recycled materials and symbolizing Gross National Happiness of Bhutan. Awarded for it's Seal of Quality in 2008, this creation epitomizes her dedication to weaving stories of happiness, nature and tradition.

Her butterfly-inspired natural dye throw, a fusion of raw silk on wool, not only captivates with its beauty but also conveys a deeper message about the importance of butterflies in the ecosystem. Recognized with the Seal of Excellence from Brand Bhutan, this creation attests to Karma's ability to merge artistry with ecological mindfulness.

From metho (flower) cushion covers to scarfs and shawls, all bearing her creative touch, Karma's designs eloquently speak of her commitment to nature-inspired, local, and eco-friendly weaving. Her artistry, innovative designs, and wealth of experience shine through in each textile product, encapsulating the ancient art form of weaving, enriched with stories and wisdom.

Her textile scarfs, too, have earned the esteemed Seal of Excellence, a testament to the enduring quality woven into every piece by this masterful artisan.

Safeguarding A Precious Bhutanese Traditional Art

With unwavering humility Karma Yangchen holds a profound aspiration to safeguard the natural traditional art of weaving and the sacred processes of natural dyeing. Her heart's desire is to be a custodian of these age-old traditions, ensuring their passage through the hands of generations yet to come. In her noble pursuit, she seeks not only to preserve the ancient art form of weaving and the venerable tradition of natural dyeing but also to be a beacon for a culture steeped in healing and well-being.

Karma's vision extends beyond the loom, weaving threads of tradition that are in harmony with Mother Earth. Her commitment to employing only natural, eco-friendly resources reflects a deep reverence for the environment and a dedication to fostering a culture that resonates with the gentle rhythms of nature. With humility and a sense of responsibility, she endeavors to leave a legacy that not only embraces the richness of Bhutanese heritage but also contributes to the well-being of the earth and its people.

For any enquiries kindly email [email protected]
Or visit follow Karma Yangchen on instagram @karma.yangchen.textiles 

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Contact no. +975-17609998
Thimphu & Punakha Bhutan
This feature is a part of the Brand Bhutan series to promote Bhutanese entrepreneurs. 

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