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Bhutanese Nepali weaving
Jahar Ghalley at her loom, Bhutanese Nepali weaving, 2015; Jahar Ghalley; Worcester, Massachusetts; Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Jahar Ghalley at her loom, Bhutanese Nepali weaving, 2015
Jahar Ghalley
Worcester, Massachusetts
Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Detail of weaving; Bhutanese Nepali weaving; 2015: Worcester, Massachusetts
Welcome door hanging; Bhutanese Nepali weaving; 2015: Worcester, Massachusetts
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Jahar Ghalley
Worcester, MA
Jahar Ghalley weaves traditional Bhutanese patterns using hand-manipulated wefts on a modified four-harness loom. Rather than measure her stitches by counting threads, Jahar uses her eye to determine the width of the patterns. Using vibrant colors, she inlays each thread by hand. Once finished weaving, Jahar turns her textiles into shawls and scarves.

Jahar grew up on a farm in southern Bhutan. Girls were denied an education. She tended cows, goats, and sheep and harvested vegetables. Jahar married at 15 and had her first child a year later. When inter-ethnic conflicts intensified in Bhutan during the 1990s, Jahar's family was among thousands of Bhutanese of Nepali descent who were forcefully evicted by the government. "I lost everything. I had to leave my home and all that I grew up with in Bhutan," says Jahar of the move.

For the next 19 years, Jahar's family lived in a Nepalese refugee camp; it was there that she learned to weave. In 2010, the family resettled in Worcester, now home to over 600 Bhutanese refugees. Thanks to the non-profit, Refugee Artisans of Worcester (RAW), Jahar has a loom on which to work in her home. In addition to the creative and therapeutic benefits of weaving, Jahar earns income from selling her scarves and shawls.
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