Thank you so much for this article, Shirabe. For me it could not be more relevant or more timely. I have a longtime interest in Palestinian embroidery, going back to the early 1970s when I discovered the book Palestinian Embroidery by Shelagh Weir in the Los Angeles County Art Museum gift shop. This book is copyright 1970 by the Trustees of the British Museum.
Although it’s a thin trade paperback and most of the photos are in black and white, I was captivated by the style immediately. I was fascinated by the way the comparatively small number of traditional motifs were combined and recombined and recolored to produce seemingly endless variations. Early on I picked one of the chest panels shown in the book to chart and embroider in cross stitch as a pillow, which I finished in the early 1990s. Eventually the pillow wore out, which it should not have done; that was due to an error of mine in constructing the back. Some time after that, I lost the chart in one of the many involuntary moves I was forced to make after my husband passed away.
When I joined Pinterest a few months ago, one of the first boards I created was my Palestinian Embroidery board.
This board has just been enriched by about 10 new pins from Elizabeth’s board. But even before that, it had more pins than any of my other boards, more even than my cross stitch board. It goes without saying that many of the followers of that board are Palestinians–or they very often have Arabic names anyway. When I check out their boards in search of new designs, I’m always impressed by the strong nationalistic feeling that infuses their love of the work, whether they are designers, artisans or collectors.