Unlike previously published books on Palestinian Embroidery, this book is the first to document all the different motifs by origin and names used on the old dresses.
The tradition of embroidery is one of the great art forms of village life in Palestine. 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.
Margarita Skinner of Switzerland in collaboration with Widad Kawar of Jordan provides us with a glimpse into the history of embroidery, starting with the invention of the needle some 20,000 years ago. Over 200 Palestinian motifs of the period 1850-1950 have been illustrated.
Unlike previously published books on Palestinian Embroidery, this book, Palestinian Embroidery Motifs 1850-1950: A Treasury of Stitches, is the first to document all the different motifs by origin and names used on the old dresses.
Margarita Skinner lived in the Middle East for over twenty years and during that time volunteered in several Palestinian women's projects in Jordan, Gaza Strip, West Bank and for over five years she supervised embroidery production by over 300 ladies in a self-supporting programme in the Gaza Strip. Her 1998 book Between Despair and Hope: Windows on my Middle East Journey 1967-1992 gives some details of this endeavour. Margarita met Widad Kawar when they both worked in the refugee camps of Jordan after the 1967 war.
Widad Kamel Kawar is known as Umm ‘l-ibas al falastini - Mother of the Palestinian dress. Her world-acclaimed collection is the largest in the Middle East and has been exhibited in Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland, Iceland, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia. Margarita was a guide and consultant during the exhibition in Switzerland in 2003.
'This book is not only an addition to the literature on the fast fading cultural heritage of occupied Palestine but also provides a window through which anthropologists can catch a glimpse of a fateful century in the history of the Palestinian people.' - THE GULF TODAY
'this book is a treasure.' - WASHINGTON REPORT
'...sheer beauty to be found within its pages' - THE JORDAN TIMES
'the perfect companion to Widad Kamel Kawar's Threads of Identity...It is very fortunate that the authors provided the means to identity and locate motifs before the tradition vanishes.' - SAUDI ARAMCO WORLD
'The groundbreaking aspect of this book is in the mapping it has done.' - HAARETZ
'a vast embroidery treasure trove and recommended reading for every hand embroidery enthusiast!' - EMBROIDERY DESIGNS GUIDE
'This real page-turner is the easiest way to learn about the Palestinian culture.' - LIVING WELL MAGAZINE
'...almost each Palestinian town has its own unique pattern...this book is tracing the history of this Palestinian handcraft.' - QANTARA, Denmark
'one of the most characteristic elements of Palestinian material culture.' - THE TANJARA
'amazing book...200 motifs are shown in full color and with accompanying patterns.' - INQUISITOR
Art and Culture - Palestine
Middle East Culture and Heritage
Embroidery - Palestine
Introduction A Treasury of Stitches Border Motifs Motifs from Daily Life Motifs from Fauna Motifs from the Garden and Fields Motifs from Nature and the Environment Motifs from Trees Selected Bibliography Index of Motif Names
SAUDI ARAMCO WORLD - Palestinian Embroidery Motifs
April 02, 2012
Palestinian Embroidery Motifs is the perfect companion to Widad Kamel Kawar's Threads of Identity, published in 2006. It identifies, in Arabic and English, the numerous motifs used in the rich variety of...
Last year when we were working on the posters for Israeli Apartheid Week: Beirut we were researching symbolic references to Palestine, and came across this amazing book. Covering all the villages of Palestine, it documents the patterns, motifs, and symbols that revealed themselves in the...
EMBROIDERY DESIGNS GUIDE - Palestinian Emboridery Motifs, Do They Reveal The Origin?
September 26, 2009
So let's begin with: What is a motif? A motif is basically a design or figure that consists of recurring shapes or colors, as in architecture or decoration.
It could also mean a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music. An embroidery motif is a pattern in cloth which...
WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS - Palestinian Embroidery Motifs
April 01, 2008
Besides the historical perspective and identification of motifs by region and village, the book is a most attractive coffee table addition.
Margarita Skinner of Switzerland, who over a period of 20 years worked in women's projects in, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and, has...
QANTARA - Dresses That Tell Stories
March 10, 2008
Judging by the patterns of the embroidery on a dress, one can determine where someone comes from - almost each Palestinian town has its own unique pattern. Now a newly published book is tracing the history of this Palestinian handcraft.
The embroidery with which Palestinian...
LIVING WELL MAGAZINE - A Treasury of Stitches
December 03, 2007
"To the Palestinian women of the past and present whose needles magically create A Treasury of Stitches"
A Treasury of Stitches is a wonderful memoir that unites motifs created through a period of 100 years (1850-1950). Margarita Skinner, in association with Widad K...
HAARETZ - A Stitch in Time
November 23, 2007
In her book on Palestinian embroidery, an art she decribes as a 'pharmacy of the soul,' Margarita Skinner shows how certain patterns are inextricably linked to specific geographical areas.
From the standpoint of the future of the Palestinians, Margarita Skinner...
THE JORDAN TIMES - The Art of the Needle
September 05, 2007
The title of this book is an accurate description of its contents, but it hardly prepares the reader for the sheer beauty to be found within its pages.
Of course, traditional Palestinian embroidery is beautiful, but things can be presented in different ways, which may...
GULF TODAY - Motifs of Distinction
August 31, 2007
The beautiful embroidery traditional Palestinian thobe remains the most potent symbol of this occupied and dispersed nation.
The checked kuffiyah worn by liberation leader Yasser Arafat is worn by men in many Arab countries but Palestinian women's dresses are...
Satisfied in Seattle (Amazon.com) January 29, 2016
This is a beautiful book covering a century of Palestinian embroidery. Among the few titles available on this subject, Skinner's book is by far the best.
eman February 08, 2015
I love this book! As a Palestinian, I've always been interested in learning how to do tatreez (Palestinian embroidery) after seeing my Grandma decorate her house with all handmade embroidered furniture. I bought this book after months of searching for motifs online and I do not regret it. The pages come filled with beautiful, easy to follow patterns with all sorts of colors and motifs. I'm obsessed with this book, I've already started making a few patterns and plan on making an embroidered thobe to wear to my cousin's Henna party. Also, it comes with the cutest bookmark! [Amazon Review]
An interesting book for dedicated collectors
Angela D. May 14, 2012
An interesting book for dedicated collectors, includes a short introduction to the historical and cultural facts of the embroidery motifs, beautiful photographs and simple, easy-to-read-and-use charts, but still there could have been more pictures and patterns in the book. [Amazon Reader Review]
Excellent Book by far
A. Lobna Ottawa - Canada January 27, 2012
I just bought the Treasury of Stitches book, and it is the most fantastic book for embroidery motifs, Palestinian embroidery is my hobby for the past 17 years, exactly since I met my mother in law, she's Palestinian but I'm Tunisian, so she taught me how to make the cross stitches and she was a master because she's very neat and meticulous, so my work has to be perfect in the front and in the back as well, and since than I'm hooked and I have done so many beautiful pillows... I love Palestinian embroidery so much. I used to make lots of photocopies for new motifs.
Many Thanks to the author and everyone who help to create this marvelous book, I love it and I already ordered one more book.
God Bless you all. [Amazon Reader Review]
The best book on Palestinian Embroidery that I Own
aboudmcg December 09, 2010
I have many books on Palestinian embroidery, but this one is laid out better than all of the rest of them. It has the motifs listed in chapters by type, i.e. border motifs, fauna, etc. However, what I like best is that Skinner notes the area where each motif is prevalent. The graphs are clear, clearer than they are in the other books I have. What I would like to see more of are the colors that are common in each area. Since each area of Palestine has its own color of red, for example, it would help for Skinner to have given the color numbers following the DMC chart for the colors used in each area of Palestine as a help for the person who wants to make an ethnically correct embroidery.
The book itself will not hold up to repeated use because, although it is new, the binding is already breaking. I will have to get it spiral bound so that it will lie flat for ease of use.
I am pleased with this purchase and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in ethnic embroidery. [Amazon Reader Review]
Anyone interested in Palestinian embroidery...
Nada Sbeih September 08, 2009
Well this is the book for you!! This is very nice book full of many beautiful motifs. I personally recommend it to anyone who is interested in embroidery. It has so many different kinds of beautiful motifs. Very interesting, the motifs go way back,to where each motif has it's own special meaning. Great book!!!
Reader Review by Nada Sbeih
A wonderful Gift to give
S. Abdullah August 26, 2008
This book makes a wonderful gift for Eid and the holidays. It is appreciated not only be Palestinians, but Arabs and foreigners alike. The content is superb and the photography exceptional.
-Reader Rview by S. Abdullah, UAE
Healing of the soul
Aida Khalaf Mango August 26, 2008
An excellent book that is refreshing and a soul fortifier. As good for the soul as fresh spring air. Well done and we hope to see more of these books.
-Reader Review by Aida Khalaf Mango, Amman, Jordan
A real page-turner
Falak O. Shawwa August 26, 2008
The photographs are fantastic. Really, they are. This book is an exceptional reference book, and is visually captivating. Not only are the images brilliantly shot but also the author did an impeccable job in compiling this book. You discover so much about the history of Palestinian embroidery, thus constantly exploring different elements of Palestinian culture. The material presented in this publication has been thoroughly researched and developed. This book is a great gift to your mother, grandmother, aunt, friend or yourself! The culture enclosed in this book is all a large part of the traditions of the people we hold dearest and nearest to our hearts- The Palestinians.
-Reader Review by Falak O. Shawwa, Dubai, UAE
The roots of every Palestinian is in this book
Susan Shawwa August 26, 2008
Every stitch is a story and a mark. I highly recommend that every house should have at least one book. I have about 60 books on Embriodery, but nothing with this knowledge. Thank you all for the great efforts and visibility seen in this book. I have already passed on your website to my contacts. Keep up the great work. Thank you again! Waiting for the coming editions.
-Reader Review by Susan Shawwa, Abu Dhabi, UAE
This book is absolutely beautiful
Sandra Bennett February 29, 2008
It makes an ideal gift to love ones, friends and co-workers. I just can't recommend it enough.
- Blackwell Reader Review by Sandra Bennett
Friends of Sabeel - UK December 07, 2007
Palestinian Embroidery Motifs – A. Treasury of Stitches 1850-1950 is part of the recommended reading list for Rediscovering Palestine art and culture books by www.friendsofsabeel.org.uk