Palestinian tatreez embroidery is a centuries-old folk art, traditionally passed from mother to daughter over a cup of tea.
Tatreez & Tea’s mission is to provide educational resources, namely through workshops, lectures and publications, to preserve Palestinian arts, crafts and folkloric traditions in the diaspora community. Traditionally, Palestinian women created various crafts, predominantly embroidery, that told the stories of their lives. Today, personal narratives of the embroiderers are being lost due to our culture’s increasing aesthetic valuation and commercial appropriation of the art. Our goal is to preserve, document and share Palestinian artistry and storytelling traditions so they are no longer endangered. The book, Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora, is a critical piece to our mission. The book includes rare and sacred information regarding our motifs that were rescued by my mother and grandmother when they fled Palestine in 1948, and would otherwise be endangered or completely lost in history.
The Brooklyn Arts Council fiscally sponsors the Tatreez & Tea project and accepts 100% tax-deductible donations on its behalf. If you are interested in booking an event, please contact Wafa here. If you are interested in attending an event, you can find current listings here.
Tatreez & Tea is a historical document.
The self-published, self-funded, self-promoted digital book Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora by Wafa Ghnaim is a Palestinian led documentation project that ensures Palestinian embroidery motifs are not lost in the diaspora. Design meanings, histories and patterns are now considered “endangered” according to most arts preservation organizations.
In the book, Wafa brings traditional Palestinian embroidery to life by revealing the traditional meanings and personal stories encapsulated in each motif. Palestinian women have gathered together for generations with their daughters to work collectively on embroidery projects, bonding with one another over a cup of tea — and Tatreez & Tea intends to preserve this endangered crafts culture. Tatreez & Tea includes 27 traditional Palestinian embroidery patterns, 7 tea recipes, and an extensive collection of photographs and stories.
Tatreez & Tea can be purchased from Amazon, iTunes and Nook. Thanks to the continued funding from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition in 2017, the second edition of Tatreez & Tea will be self-published in print by 2018. You can preorder the print edition for a limited time on LaunchGood.
Oral storytelling is an intimate experience among Palestinian women, done through a familial mentorship over a lifetime.
Wafa’s mother learned these stories through her mother and grandmother. As generations of Palestinian women grow in diaspora, their identities and stories remain silently coded in needle and thread. In publishing and teaching the meanings of our traditional designs, we give voice to our matriarchal ancestors, document oral history, as well as preserve the sacred tradition of Palestinian storytelling in women’s craft communities.