Tatreez Workshop

Thursday, March 24

In preparation for the Tatreez workshop on Thursday evening I had watched some lectures and read up on the history and meaning of embroidery in Palestine. Tatreez means embroidery in Arabic, but also often specifically refers to Palestinian embroidery. I had been in contact with Fouda Deeb, a Palestinian textile artist for about two weeks then. On two Sundays I biked out to Vlaardingen to meet up with her, once accompanied by Carla Arcos and Maia Lauffs. She showed us her beautiful embroidery work: dresses, scarfs, a map of Palestine, and a huge crochet blanket.

The workshop was held in a small room behind the knitting room in the Fabric Station. We made some tea and bought sweets. Fouda had prepared aida fabric, cotton thread, embroidery needles and patterns. After we introduced tatreez and showed a short video, Fouda went around to show everybody the basics of the cross stitch, which is based on small xs formed in the squares of the aida fabric. This way, forming and connecting little xs, we slowly worked our way across the fabric, sometimes while chatting, sometimes in concentrated silence. Embroidery is a repetitive activity, the movements soon feel automatic, but if one doesn't concentrate on the pattern, one easily makes mistakes, having to start over and over again. At the end of the 2.5-hour workshop most participants had only finished a tiny part of the pattern. Through working with Fouda and reading literature on Palestine I learned a lot about affirmative, cultural activities as forms of resistance.