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.