IZAUK Kesa/Rakusu Sewing Session

This will be a Zen Practise sesshin devoted to the sewing and repairing of kesas and rakusus to be led by Zen Nun Françoise Kosen Laurent

There will also be Japanese Calligraphy workshops offered at this sesshin

On Friday and Saturday there will be zazen before breakfast and after supper with 2 periods of sewing or calligraphy in between. On Sunday we will have a half day of zazen, lunch and then samu before going home.


At ordination, a kesa is presented to the bodhisattva, monk or nun. In our sangha the garments, the rakusu and the 7-band 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.

This session will be led by Zen Nun Françoise Kosen Laurent. She was ordained a nun by Master Deshimaru in 1976 when she stitched her first rakusu. For the last 20 years she has dedicated herself to the study and teaching of the kesa and directs workshops at La Gendronniere and other European dojos. Françoise will help those who would like to start or continue sewing a kesa or rakusu, and those who wish to do repairs.

Japanese Calligraphy / Shodo

We shall also be offering workshops on Japanese calligraphy.  The workshops, which are aimed at those with little or no previous experience, will be led by John Callaghan, who has practised shodo (the Way of Writing) with his teacher, Keiko Harada, since 1999. All equipment and materials will be provided. Early booking is recommended as space is limited.

PLEASE NOTE:  Participants must follow one activity during the weekend.  Please state whether you will be sewing or doing calligraphy.


Thursday, 20th September at about 6pm to eat at about 8pm


Sunday 23rd September after lunch and cleanup, about 3:30pm – please plan on staying long enough to fully participate in samu/cleanup


Bilberry Hill Centre, Rose Hill, Birmingham, B45 8RT

The Bilberry Hill Centre is located on the outskirts of Birmingham, within walking distance of the delightful 500 acre Lickey Hills country park.  Being close (but not too close) to Britain’s central city makes it readily accessible.

How to get there:

The nearest train stations are Barnt Green and Longbridge. Bus service number 145/145A (operated by iGo) runs about once an hour between Longbridge and Barnt Green stations (Stop LH), stopping at Rednal Island, from where it’s a 3 minute walk (west) to the Bilberry Hill Centre.

From central Birmingham: Bus 98 (operator National Express West Midlands) runs between Priory Queensway, Birmingham and Rednal Lickey Road/Old Hare & Hounds two to four times each hour. From here it’s a 6 minute walk (south) to the Bilberry Hill Centre.

Local taxis are Roundabout Cars 0121 453 1313 and Gold’n’Black Taxis 0121 453 4949.


Loose dark clothing for zazen, a zafu if you have one, and a bowl & cloth for meals.  Also your sewing things if you have any.  If you are repairing a kesa/rakusu bring thread of the colour already used and if there is a tear, matching cloth.  Thread, needles and cloth will be available to buy, please request.  If you are bringing your own cloth (100% cotton) to make a rakusu or kesa please bring black cloth.  Please speak to the organiser if at all unsure.


Friends of IZAUK:   Recommended – £145 / low-waged  – £120 / unwaged – £100

Non-members:  Recommended – £160 / low-waged – £135 / unwaged – £110

You will receive a £20 discount if you send a £25 deposit (or full payment) with your booking slip, which should be returned before 6th September. Deposits are not normally refundable.

Existing Friends of IZAUK Members who require financial assistance to attend can apply for help from the IZAUK bursary fund – Contact John Callaghan: john.cal@outlook.com  You can become an IZAUK member at the session.


Online registrations are now closed –  if you would still like to come, you need to contact the organiser directly: contact Kate at katethompson2@yahoo.com or 07486 160026 (preferably text).