Announcing Open Studio Spring 2024

Announcing Open Studio Spring 2024

The immensely successful and lauded rug craft and design exploration intensive - Open Studio - is back for a second time this Spring 2024. Register through this link

‘Open Studio’ is a unique and immersive two week learning intensive created for those who desire a more elevated and comprehensive understanding of Nepali-Tibetan carpet crafting and design. 

Ideated by Urgyen Wangchuk of Zekö Designs, Tenzin Norbu of Karnor Carpet Manufacturers, and Michael Christie, The Ruggist, the ‘Open Studio’ concept introduces participants to the realities of carpet making in order to provide genuine authenticity in salesmanship, service, and design.

The entire creative and production team of Karnor and Zekö will be at your disposal to not only ensure your initial designs are expertly transformed into maquettes, but also to assist creatively as you work alongside other creatives, and indeed the weavers themselves, to distill the incomparable beauty and culture of Kathmandu into your future creative work.

Moreover, Michael Christie, The Ruggist, will be your personal liaison, there to assist as needed, working in the studio with you to facilitate a better understanding of the nature of Nepali-Tibetan carpet making. Michael will also serve as guide and primary discussion leader throughout the Open Studio. 

It is this concentration of expert savoir-faire which Karnor and Zekö are offering to you as a participant of ‘Open Studio.’ 

The Spring 2024 session of ‘Open Studio’ takes place April 14 to 26, 2024 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Physical constraints limit the number of participants. In the event interest exceeds capacity, spaces will be filled via a portfolio assessment and lottery to ensure a dynamic and engaging session. Deadline for expression of interest is Friday, February 2, 2024. 

Please register your expression of interest in attending by completing this form.

Is ‘Open Studio’ for me?

If you share a passion for handknotted rugs and carpets and are in some way working in the trade of carpets, either as designer, retailer, cleaner or the like, then ‘Open Studio’ is an ideal program to refine your knowledge Nepali-Tibetan carpet making in Kathmandu, Nepal. While ‘Open Studio’ is not open to the general public, it is an inclusive environment for those seeking to expand their business opportunities and knowledge. 

What can I expect during ‘Open Studio’?

The casual, yet structured curriculum provides participants of ‘Open Studio’ extensive hands-on studio activities, engaging lectures, and enriching field trips in addition to nearly unfettered access to facilities and information in order to foster a new paradigm for carpetry in Kathmandu, Nepal. Participants will actively engage with all steps of the making process as their own designs are transformed from drawings into 45cm x45cm maquettes, samples if you will, all while production and industry experts contextualize the process.

By working closely and intently with skilled craftspeople, industry experts, and production management participants  gain an in depth understanding of the nature of carpeting making in the early 21st century.

Where is ‘Open Studio’ located?

‘Open Studio’ sessions take place in Kathmandu, Nepal primarily on the campus of the Karnor Carpet Manufactory in the borough of Jorpati. Field trips, cultural tours, as well as shopping and dining experiences take place throughout the entire Kathmandu Valley.

What are the dates of ‘Open Studio?’

The Spring 2024 session of ‘Open Studio’ takes place April 14 to 26, 2024 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

What is the purpose of ‘Open Studio?’

‘Open Studio’ is intended to foster and reinvigorate interest in the storied and time honoured craft of Tibetan carpet making. Since the modern carpet revolution began in the late 1980s, accelerating through the 2000s, Tibetan carpet making has continually evolved to suit the needs of the time. ‘Open Studio’ is part of our approach to the next era of carpet making in which we envision a renewed emphasis on quality, craftsmanship, and educated consumers.

After all, how best to design and/or sell something than by understanding how it is made?


Handknotted carpet making, like most forms of manual weaving, is a process best described in modern vernacular as slowmaking. Time, measured by each and every single knot tied in a carpet, is required to create even small samples – maquettes – of much larger finished works. 

As such, each participant shall complete the artwork for two rug designs prior to traveling to Kathmandu. During ‘Open Studio’ participants will be intimately involved in the weaving and finishing processes as both samples are woven. Finished samples will be shipped to the participants after the event.

Pre-Arrival Timeline

Friday, February 2, 2024 – Expression of Interest Deadline

Friday, February 9, 2024 – Confirmation of Participants

Friday, February 16, 2024 – Payment of Participation Fee Due

Friday, March 8, 2024 – Artwork Due for Both Maquettes. 

Sunday, April 14 through Friday, April 26, 2024  – ‘Open Studio’ Spring 2024 Session

‘Open Studio’  Spring 2024 Schedule (Subject to Logistical Revision)




Sunday, April 14


Recovery day and Welcome Dinner

Monday, April 15


First look at Maquettes, Factory Tour,

Seminar: Introduction to Carpet Making

Presentation: Working with a Manufacturing Partner

Tuesday, April 16


Cut Maquettes from Loom. Re-warping of Loom.

Seminar: Density, Structure, and Design – Carpets as sculpture not drawing

Wednesday, April 17


Observe and participate in Initial Stages of Finishing.

Pick your own colour for dyeing.

Thursday, April 18

Colour and Dyeing

Offsite Interactive Tour of Dye Facility

Friday, April 19

Materials Matter

Continue Observation of and Participation in Finishing

Seminar: Materials matter: Wool, Silk and more.

Saturday, April 20

Cultural Tour 1

‘Best of Kathmandu’ Cultural Tour by Responsible Treks

Guided Tour of the Kathmandu Valley’s Signature Sites

Sunday, April 21

Cultural Tour 2

‘Best of Kathmandu’ Cultural Tour by Responsible Treks

Guided Tour of the Kathmandu Valley’s Signature Sites

Monday, April 22

Digital Technology

Finishing Continues. Observe and Interact with Weaving

Seminar: Discussion of Digital Technology in Carpetry

Tuesday, April 23

Sustainability & Free Time

Finishing Continues. Observe and Interact with Weaving

Seminar: Sustainability, FREE TIME (AFTERNOON)

Wednesday, April 24

Accessibility & Free Time

Offsite Tour of Universally Accessible Weaving Facility


Thursday, April 25

Ethics &

Free Time

Seminar: The Ethics of Contemporary Rug Making


Friday, April 26

The Future of


Seminar: The Future of Weaving

Closing Dinner and Party

Saturday, April 27


Thank you for Coming to ‘Open Studio’


The Fee for ‘Open Studio’

With full access to Karnor’s main 10,000sqft facility including weaving, washing, and finishing in addition to the offsite dye shop, this uncommon deep-dive into handknotted Tibetan carpet making offers unprecedented access and insight which only a manufacturer as adept and progressive as Karnor can provide. ‘Open Studio’ is a distinctive opportunity to further your understanding of the vibrant nature of handknotted Nepali-Tibetan carpet making while working in situ with the experts at Karnor who have been crafting rugs and carpets for generations.

The $2,500 (USD) participation fee covers studio space and facilities access, all training sessions and instructors’ fees, materials for two sample maquettes, weaver and supporting staff fees, daily lunch and refreshments during studio (M-F), as well as opening and closing group dinners and the weekend cultural tour. Airfare, accommodations (see below), visa fees, and all other meals and expenses are the responsibility of the participant.


Karnor Carpet Manufactory is located in Jorpati, Kathmandu, Nepal a short drive from the iconic Bouddha Stupa. Karnor and its North American logistics partner Zekö Designs have selected two hotels in Bouddha as the official accommodations providers of ‘Open Studio.’ 

The Pema Boutique Hotel and its sister property Atisha offer an inclusive Bed and Breakfast Package at a special rate for participants of ‘Open Studio.’ While participants are of course free to make their own arrangements for accommodations, the daily shuttle to and from Bouddha and the Karnor Manufactory departs from Pema Boutique. If you wish to take advantage of the package, please add the ‘Accommodations Package’ when paying the fee for ‘Open Studio.’

For more information about the Pema Boutique and Atisha Hotel, please visit:

The package rate includes arrival on Saturday, April 13, 2024 through departure on Saturday, April 27, 2024. Additional nights (if required) can be arranged. The ‘Accommodations Package’ costs an additional $480 (USD)

Free Time

We understand that traveling to Kathmandu opens up myriad possibilities for exploration and networking, especially for those already working in the trade of handknotted rugs and carpets. Likewise, we know that everyone has different areas of interest and specialties. As such, during week two of ‘Open Studio’ the schedule includes three afternoons of unstructured ‘Free Time’ to be used as participants see necessary. Perhaps a more personal exploration of one element of rug making (which we will arrange), an afternoon shopping adventure, yoga, sightseeing, or - because we are realistic people - even a visit to another maker (which you arrange on your own). We only ask you to be respectful of everyone’s time and commitment to making ‘Open Studio’ a worthwhile experience for all participants. 

Final Thoughts

Potential participants are reminded of personal responsibility and are strongly encouraged to research and understand the travel requirements of Kathmandu and Nepal. A tourist visa is required and available at the airport upon arrival; a fee is charged. ‘Open Studio’ has been created with the 15 day tourist visa in mind. Most mobile providers offer international roaming service in Nepal, contact your provider for more information; domestic (Nepal) sim cards are available to tourists for a fee.

Further Information

For general inquiries, logistical assistance, and recommendations, please contact either Mr. Urgyen Wangchuk of Zëko Design at or Mr. Michael Christie, The Ruggist, at 

Back to blog