The tradition of embroidery is one of the great art forms of village life in Palestine and Jordan.
|Al Salt traditional dress (Jordan)|
photo: Fatima Abbadi
From mother to daughter, each generation added new inspirations to the traditional designs. Women would meet on market days, for family celebrations and of course at the pilgrims' meeting places and gain muse from each other.
Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. In this way, it has been practiced for decades.
Embroidery and most other fiber and needlework arts are believed to originate in the Orient and Middle East. Primitive humankind quickly found that the stitches used to join animal skins together could also be used for embellishment. Recorded history, sculptures, paintings and vases depicting inhabitants of various ancient civilizations show people wearing thread-embroidered clothing.
The fabrics and yarns used in traditional embroidery vary from place to place. Wool, linen, and silk have been in use for thousands of years for both fabric and yarn. Today, embroidery thread is manufactured in cotton, rayon, and novelty yarns as well as in traditional wool, linen, and silk.
In Palestinian villages, the tending of chickens and selling of eggs was the domain of women, who used this source of income to buy thread and fabric. Girls grew up watching their mothers embroidering, and learnt the skill from the age of about ten.
The main stitches used in Palestinian embroidery are cross-stitch and couching. In couching a thick thread is positioned on top of the fabric, and a thinner thread is stitched over it to keep it in place.
Motifs and colors
The names of motifs change from area to area, and often from one generation to another.
"What is a Moon in Ramallah is a Star in Hebron. What is an Orange Branch to a grandmother is a Rose Branch to the granddaughter,"..