Palestinian embroidery, or tatreez, is a centuries-old artistic tradition, passed from mother to daughter over a cup of tea. The traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, also known as the thobe, has traceable origins from the beginning of the sixteenth century and the tatreez, or embroidery has an iconographical and symbolic significance that ultimately dates back to Chinese symbols from around 5,000BC. Award-winning Palestinian embroiderer Feryl Abbasi-Ghnaim began passing the endangered art form to her daughter Wafa Ghnaim at the tender age of two, and in 2015, Wafa started Tatreez & Tea. Her mission is to preserve Palestinian embroidery and storytelling traditions in the diaspora by offering online and live classes around the world to promote community, awareness of the art form and Palestinian solidarity. We’re thrilled that Wafa will be hosting a workshop for Selvedge, The Language of Palestinian Embroidery, across the weekends of 15th and 22nd May 2021.
Tatreez and Tea began when Wafa set out to write a book that preserved the meanings and patterns of fifteen designs she and her sisters spent their lives learning about. Following several funding awards, in 2018 she self-published the 448 page book, Tatreez and Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora, complete with dozens more embroidery patterns and meanings. The book asserts that embroidering the cross-stitch — pulling the threaded needle through the fabric in a meditative repetition — honors the legacy of Palestinian women who, for hundreds of years, produced rich textiles that have become a symbol of solidarity, identity and sisterhood for Palestinians all over the world.
Guided by Wafa, participants in our upcoming virtual workshop will learn how to embroider traditional Palestinian motifs, as well as learn the art history of the historic villages they originate from. The pattern is an exclusive, custom sampler that incorporates the motifs of el-Khalil, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Bir Saba into a collaged 4x4 inch wall hanging on a beige even weave cloth. Open to students of all skill levels, the class offers an in-depth exploration of the traditional concepts and styles of Palestinian embroidery practiced by women for centuries, as well as the basics of transferring a pattern to fabric, threading a needle, the use of ombre thread, two methods of cross-stitching, and motif repetition. A materials pack will be sent to participants in advance of the workshop.
Booking closes for this event soon. Visit the event page for more details and to book: The Language of Palestinian Embroidery with Wafa Ghnaim