A Gleneagle Digital Portfolio

First In-Depth Blog Post [2022]

Good day, and welcome to my first In-Depth blog post of 2022!

For this year’s In-Depth project, I have decided to learn tatreez, a type of traditional embroidery/cross-stitch from my culture. This skill is usually passed down from generation to generation of Palestinian women and is a way to bring families together. Nowadays, many people living abroad do not have the time to pass it down, and I have taken this opportunity to ask a close family friend to mentor me in this art. This style of embroidery has a variety of unique characteristics, from the significance of the colours and the patterns to the techniques used in making it. 

A group of women wearing traditional thobes from the Nablus region.

Expanding on the reasons listed above, I wanted to learn this skill because I have the chance to get in touch with my culture and keep a tradition alive while simultaneously improving my hands-on crafting skills. This skill will help me further understand my culture and heritage because the art is deeply rooted in the experiences of Palestinian women. While used in a variety of decorative contexts, tatreez is often sewn onto a thobe, a dress-like garment. The patterns on historical examples of thobe garments can be analyzed to understand which villages or regions the wearer came from and facts about their life like their marital status through the unique colours and patterns embroidered on the garment. Knowing how to stitch different tatreez patterns can give me a more hands-on understanding of this history and much, much more.

Examples of tatreez patterns.

I can also improve my hands-on crafting skills by learning this as the designs can be very intricate and detailed. I have tried to pick up similar, textile-related arts skills like crocheting in the past and have found the process of practicing until my work is neat/even and until I can make my adjustments to the designs difficult to do on my own. Having a mentor to teach me why everything works the way it does rather than just how to do it will certainly help me understand this craft much better. I will also be held more accountable to practice and finish my work!

Speaking of my mentor, my mentor this year is somebody who is very experienced in all sorts of crafts from sewing to crocheting to tatreez. She cares a lot about what she does and I have fond memories of receiving her work as gifts growing up. Recently, she came to visit her family members living in Vancouver, who are close friends with my family. We went fabric shopping together and I saw that our friends had this beautiful tatreez wall decoration as well. Knowing how much she cares about her work, I contacted her to ask her if she would mentor me in tatreez and she was overjoyed! She is also Palestinian and she feels like a third grandma to me, so learning this skill from her just feels right. 

I am very excited to embark on the journey of learning tatreez from my mentor and I hope you look forward to reading about my progress as much as I look forward to making it!

Additional Resources/Further Reading: 

https://www.tatreezandtea.com/tatreezing

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Bana • January 26, 2022


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