This will be a Zen Practice session devoted to the sewing and repairing of Kesas and Rakusus with parallel workshops on Japanese Calligraphy / Shodo


The session will be led by Yasho Valerie Gueneau, a Zen Nun and Kesa sewing teacher who has practised for more than 30 years. She is a disciple of Taiun Jean-Pierre Faure, abbot of the Kanshoji Zen Temple in La Coquille, near Limoges, France


Arrival: Thursday 28th September 2023 from around 5.00pm to eat at approx 8.00 pm


Depart: Sunday 1st October 2023 after lunch and clean up, to leave at about 3.30 pm – please plan on staying long enough to fully participate until the very end


At ordination a rakusu / kesa is presented to the bodhisattva, monk or nun. In our sangha these garments, the rakusu and the large kesa are made by hand following the method handed down since the time of the Buddha. They are suitable for all ordinations within the AZI
Yasho will help those who would like to start or continue sewing a kesa or rakasu, and those who wish to do repairs

Japanese Calligraphy / Shodo

Calligraphy workshops will be held parallel to sewing and will be led by John Callaghan. John has practised Shodo (the Way of Writing) with his teacher, Keiko Harada, since 1999
The Calligraphy workshops will be aimed at those with little or no previous experience. All equipment and materials will be provided. Early booking is recommended as space is limited

Session format

On Friday and Saturday the day will begin with morning zazen followed by sewing and calligraphy before and after lunch. Each day will end with zazen in the evening. Sunday will be a half day of Zazen

Please note: Participants must follow only one of these two parallel activities throughout the week – you can’t do a bit of each


Gateway Residential Centre, Church Street, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1AE
The centre is located underneath Ashbourne Methodist Church. The nearest railway station is in Derby from where there is a regular bus service to Ashbourne. There is no parking at the centre other than to unload, but long term street parking is available 5 minutes distance away


    • Recommended: £175 (Members)   £195 (Non-Members)
    • Low Waged:       £150 (Members)   £170 (Non-Members)
    • Unwaged:           £125 (Members)   £145 (Non-Members)
Those booking before the 14th September with full payment or £25 deposit will receive a discount of £20 (deducting your £20 if paying before the 14th September)
If paying the £25 deposit please pay the balance of your fee before the session. (Please note that deposits are not normally refundable)
Friends of IZAUK members who require financial assistance to attend can apply for help from the IZAUK Bursary Fund – Contact John at

Please Bring:

  • loose, dark clothing for zazen
  • a zafu if you have one, and a zafuton (a sitting mat for under your zafu) if you have one
  • a bowl, with cutlery and a cloth to wrap it in
  • a mug
  • a SLEEPING BAG OR DUVET (unless one blanket is enough for you)
  • a top sheet (only a bottom sheet is provided)
  • a towel
  • your Sewing things if you have any.  If possible please bring your own small scissors and ruler in cms

For Further Information:

Contact Jeremy:

Registration: –

Online registrations for the session are currently suspended. If you wish to attend the session please contact Jeremy direct at