Modern Embroidered Items

Embroidery projects set up to assist Palestinian refugee women with income, as well as to maintain and promote traditional Palestinian culture, appeared as early as the 1950s.


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Originally the most common item produced by the projects was the embroidered square cushion which came in two sizes (small and large or "jumbo" - a floor cushion) covered with traditional Palestinian designs in multi-coloured cross stitch.  Other early products included household items such as oven gloves, tea towels, hand towels, table runners, coasters with a mixture of traditional designs and modern motifs. Traditional thobs were adapted for the western market into modern styles, the embroiery moved into non traditional areas, and shawls were revived originally as embroiered garments in their own. Products included eyeglass holders, wallets, cosmetic purses, photo frames and dolls. By 1990 products were becoming far more varied, with individual projects making a name for themselves in certain fields - Jordan River Designs were known for their embroidered quilts and wall hanging, the ANAT Workshop for it's innovative dresses etc, while others remained more traditional in format. Projects stick to simple items that can be made from both new embroidery and cut up old pieces of embrodiery, whil other projects acces the myria of neighbouring Arab countries textile industries, utilizing Damascus atlas silks and Egyption watered taffetas as well as Palestinian Embroidery. Absolutely everyone still makes cushions! Only now that may be rectangular, or with the embroidery couched rather than cross stitched, or appliqued in the heremezy style.

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