Courses Offered

The children follow a curriculum designed by experienced and veteran artists and craftsmen. The complete course lasts six years. Both theory and practice are part of the curriculum to develop the necessary skills and aptitudes. We have skilled art teachers who teach the children traditional arts and crafts and introduce other subjects, such as math. English and Dzongkha are also taught at a basic level.

During the first two years basic drawing and painting are the focus. It provides the basis that will allow the students to continue in other crafts. All students are expected to pass this course. From the third year onward, students can choose from a variety of crafts, based on their skills and aptitudes:  carving, sculpture and thangka painting.

Practical work and an exam at the end of each academic year are the main tests by which the students’ progress is judged and the decision to promote them to the next higher class is made. Besides their academic development the school also focuses on the spiritual development of the students by including special prayer sessions every morning and evening.

Basic Computer/ English & Maths

Computer is an integral part of the modern world and everything we do today involves working on a computer i.e from sending emails to book keeping. It is most important to provide our students with basic computer skills so that when they graduate from the school and enter the job market, they are not left behind because of their lack of basic computer skills. The students are also taught basic graphic designing so that they can combine their traditional drawing skills with the computer graphic cababilities to enhance their productivity.

Similarly, basic English and Maths are also taught to the students so they they will be able to communicate and write basic English.

Tailoring

Tailoring courses are also provided at CTAS in conjunction with Embroidery and Weaving courses. The idea is mainly to equip the student with all the necessary skills to complete a product (weaving/embroidery) and also be able to do the tailoring themselves to make it into a finished product and not having to depend on others.

Jimzo (Sculpture) - Currently Discontinued

Jimzo(Clay sculpture) is one of the ancient crafts in Bhutan, more important than sculpting in brass or other metal. One of the most celebrated works of a Jimzo is the making of clay statues, paper-mâché and clay masks, and other religious items. The clay statues made by Trulku Dzing during the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal are still found in many Dzongs and monasteries.

The other clay work found in Bhutan is the art of pottery. Traditionally, while the making of statues and other religious items is done by men, the art of pottery is associated with women.

Rimo (Drawing)

Rimo (drawing) is the foundation of all courses. All the specialized courses require basic knowledge of Rimo. During the first two years, students learn how to draw and paint all forms of the traditional arts of Bhutan.

Wood Carving

Carving in Bhutan has been experimented with and perfected in a variety of materials like stone, wood and slate. Traditional Bhutanese designs carved on these materials are the most wonderful pieces of artwork. Since Bhutan has an abundant variety of wood, woodcarving is seen in many forms. Carved wooden masks of various shapes and sizes are used in religious dances; decorations are found engraved on houses, Dzongs, palaces, temples and monasteries. Wooden symbols are found adorning altars, containers like bowls and cups; sheaths or scabbards and handles for knives and swords are all made of wood. The beautiful carved pillars and beams, printing blocks of wood and the altars are excellent examples of woodcarving. Wood carving was introduced in CTAS in the 2002-2003 academic year. Here too, the students must have completed the Rimo classes.

Embroidery

There are two special categories within this craft. The first are those items which are sewn and embroidered (ranging from clothing to intricate and rare embroidered thangkas). The second refers to applique and patchwork items made from stitching cloths together. This includes the large thongdrols (Thankas) displayed in the Dzongs during festivals, as well as hats and elaborate boots worn with the Gho on official occasions.

Textile Weaving

Thag-zo covers the whole process from the preparation of the yarn, the dyeing and making of numerous designs. This is the largest craft industry in terms of the variety and the number of people doing it throughout Bhutan. Women of eastern Bhutan are skilled at weaving and some of the most highly prized textiles are woven by them. In the past, textiles were paid as a form tax to the government in place of cash and people from western Bhutan travelled all the way to Samdrup Jongkhar to acquire/barter for woven textiles. Bhutanese textiles are woven from cotton, raw cotton and silk with intricate motifs woven into the cloth.

Khoma village in Lhuentse is famous for Kushithara, while Rahi and Bidung are known for bura textiles, namely Mentsi Matha and Aikapur. One type of cotton fabric woven in Pemagatshel is the Dungsam Kamtham. Which lends its name to the village Decheling (Samdrup Jongkhar)Adang village in Wangdue Phodrang is known for textiles such as Adang Mathra, Adang Rachu and Adang Khamar while the Bumthaps in central Bhutan are known for Bumthap Mathra and Yathra, both textiles woven out of Yak hair and sheep wool. It’s interesting to note that the people of Nabji and Korphu in Trongsa are known for textiles woven out of nettle fibers. Weaving is also a vocation amongst the Brokpas of Merak and Sakteng.

Thanka painting

The art of painting is as old as the people themselves and it has been passed down from generation to generation, from a master painter(Lharip) to a novice student. This profession, like most others, is considered an act of reverence and devotion and painters are believed to accumulate merit and influence their karma. Painters work on a wide range of motifs from simple motifs and the eight lucky signs to painting huge scrolls of Thangka and Thongdroel. These are paintings of Buddhist deities that are often painted on the wall or on simple cloth. Thongdroels are bigger in size and a mere sight of these huge scrolls is believed to deliver us to nirvana. Thus, it brings merit not only to the believers but for the painters as well. A Lharip can decorate a house, an altar; paint a Thangka or Thongdroel, paint the statues of deities or any other object that needs painting. The paints used in Bhutanese painting are the natural pigmented soils that are found in most places in the country.

The students who successfully complete the Rimo course have the option of specializing in Thangka painting. This course teaches them intermediate to advanced techniques of painting.