Introducing Our Newest Artisan Group: Preserving and Promoting Palestinian Traditional Tatreez

In December of 2023, we sat down and finally made a decision we'd be dreading for months. We archived all the crafts from our partners at Sulafa women's group and Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children in Gaza. Their workshops had been destroyed by the Israelis, the women artisans displaced or killed, and the crafts and materials all destroyed. The cultural heritage in Gaza has been obliterated by the Israeli genocide. With extreme grief, we continued to check in on artisans we could reach. It felt like a betrayal, but it was an act of acknowledging reality. These women's capacity to craft was devastated in black moment in our world history when they could barely survive.

We took a deep breath and pivoted to finally acknowledge the hundred women in the West Bank of occupied Palestine who had been begging for work. And in that context, we began Manjel ma Qoud--an initiative to respond to the desperate economic situation of women in the West Bank and to strive to preserve Palestinian cultural heritage. 

Manjel is the name of the scythe that is used to harvest heirloom wheat but it is also the name of the embroidery technique that binds two sides of the traditional Palestinian dress called the thob. Qoud is when we make jelly and sugar thickens it, which is also what allows it to be a way of preserving fruits. This name together Manjel ma Qoud is the name of a specific type of binding stitch in tatreez. But for us, it symbolizes the relation between agricultural and natural heritage to cultural and culinary heritage. They are all interconnected. 

All of the Palestinian tatreez crafts you see on our site today are crafted by women in Manjel ma Qoud. In addition to providing these women with the opportunity to generate income, we also offer training and qualifying support to build their individual capacity as cultural heritage workers. We anticipated employing around 20 women initially but within months, we had 50 women working with us.

We invite you to shop our tatreez, traditional Palestinian embroidery and support these women in working and supporting their families. See our collection here.

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