The Language of Palestinian Embroideryby Selvedge Team
Join us on Saturday 15 and Saturday 22 May for a virtual workshop on Palestinian embroidery, or tatreez — the 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. Guided by Wafa Ghnaim, who began her training in embroidery with her mother at age 2, 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.
Wafa Ghnaim is an American born Palestinian businesswoman, writer, and artist. She founded Tatreez & Tea in 2015, to preserve Palestinian tatreez embroidery and storytelling traditions in the diaspora. Her self-published book, titled Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora (2018), documents the traditional patterns passed to her by her mother, award-winning Palestinian embroidery artist Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim. Tatreez & Tea has since become a social media sensation and global initiative offering online and live classes around the world in service of promoting the practice of Palestinian embroidery by anyone, anywhere. In 2018, Wafa was awarded the prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Traditional Arts — a once in a lifetime award for her work in preserving and teaching Palestinian embroidery around the globe. From teaching at universities around the world, to becoming the first-ever Palestinian embroidery instructor at the Smithsonian Museum — Wafa Ghnaim has led a tatreez revolution; a global collective of embroiderers, allies, designers and artists who are committed to preserving the artform.
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.
Find out more about our workshop on the event page: The Language of Palestinian Embroidery with Wafa Ghnaim
Founder Polly Leonard will be chatting with Wafa this Friday in our regular 'Tea and Textiles' chats. Visit the Selvedge Instagram page on Friday at 3pm (GMT) to watch, or visit our YouTube channel to view our back catalogue of chats.