How to Support Tatreez & Tea: The Print Edition

It is official! We are now offering Zakat-eligible preorder of the print edition of Tatreez & Tea in our new Ramadan fundraising campaign!

For those of you who supported our work through the Indiegogo fundraiser in 2015, you know what we promise, we deliver. By the end of 2016, you each received a free download code for the digital version of Tatreez & Tea. We are so excited to announce our decision to make the expanded, revised, second edition of Tatreez & Tea into a printed one! The new book will include over 50 hand drawn patterns from my mother and grandmother. These are one-of-a-kind patterns that cannot be found anywhere else.

Preserve the meanings, stories and patterns of traditional Palestinian embroidery motifs.

 We need your help to bring this book to print, and preserve traditional Palestinian embroidery and storytelling traditions in the Palestinian diaspora.

Palestinian embroidery is a centuries-old folk art, traditionally passed from mother to daughter over a cup of tea.

Tatreez & Tea’s mission is to:

1) Research, author and publish documentation of tatreez embroidery traditions, meanings and design histories, specifically, through Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora.

2) Provide educational resources, namely through workshops, lectures and seminars, to preserve Palestinian arts, crafts and folkloric traditions in the diaspora community.

Tatreez & Tea is a historical document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. Tatreez & Tea wants to change that.

Tatreez & Tea has brought together Palestinians of all walks of life – from New York to Alberta to Toronto to Florida to Arizona to Oregon – in attendance of our workshops and lectures to share the personal stories of embroidery from their Palestinian grandmothers and mothers. Palestinian women and men from across the diaspora have shared a common desire to see the physical book, gift the book to their mother and grandmother, and to see our sacred storytelling traditions that give tatreez embroidery life and meaning in print. 

Amidst the political situation in the US, where funding for the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) that funds Tatreez & Tea is cut and there are attempts to ban Muslims from entering this country — crowdsourcing Palestinian Muslim led projects that amplify our narrative and give voice to the otherwise silenced and unheard, is imperative. Without the NEA, Tatreez & Tea will only stay alive in its mission to protect and preserve Palestinian tatreez embroidery stories and traditions, with individual donors like yourself. Your $10, $20, $50 make a difference! We cherish each gift.


About Tatreez & Tea

We are a book, and an organization! 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 and is an unprecedented literary contribution to the field of Palestinian embroidery and folk arts. The book includes rare and sacred information regarding our motifs that would otherwise be endangered or completely lost in history.

Tatreez & Tea is the only organization today solely dedicated to preserving Palestinian embroidery and storytelling traditions. You can learn more about the workshops and lectures we’ve conducted so far at www.tatreezandtea.com, as well as learn more about the project updates we share throughout the year to our donors.

“When I embroider, I feel close to my homeland.” – Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim

My mother, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, is the leading Palestinian folk artist specializing in fabric and fiber arts in the United States. She is of the Nakba generation, who fled Safad, Palestine in 1948 — and has dedicated her over 50 year career in teaching young women of color the endangered art of Palestinian embroidery and traditional art that she learned from her mother and grandmother. She has been funded and honored by countless organizations, including the Oregon Historical Society, Oral History Center of Cambridge, Oregon Folklife Network, National Endowment of the Arts and the Regional Arts & Culture Council. A brief idea of her contributions to the Palestinian diaspora community can be found on her website: https://feryalabbasighnaim.wordpress.com/.

As new generations of Palestinians are raised in diaspora, it is becoming more crucial than ever to document our endangered traditional art of embroidery, the designs, meanings, context and history. Prior to seeking grant funding in 2016, we had attempted to fund this project entirely on our own for over a decade, and after my mother’s injury 2015 — I realized that I cannot hold back any longer. I need to write this book while I can, and I need your help. I cannot do this alone.

What We Need

We have obtained full funding on research for this book from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition. I, Wafa, have completed 68,000 written words for the book and anticipate it will reach about 80,000 words by the end of my research (end of July). I photographed the embroidery with the help of my studio stylist, Andrea Leake, in Portland, Oregon. The embroidery was all created by my mother. We will have approximately 250 or more images to share in the book, and after we complete the patterns for the second edition, we will have over 50. In order to complete the printed edition of the book by the end of 2017, we need to fundraise for the following:

  • Book designer/Graphic designer

  • Illustrator for instructive information on how to do the unique stitches of old Palestine

  • Photo retouching

  • Photo editing

  • Additional time in the studio

  • Videographer to capture specific stories in the oral history interviews

  • Additional stipends for studio assistant, editor, author and main artist

  • First, limited edition order of Tatreez & Tea by the first half of 2018

Anything raised in addition will be saved to fill any grant funding deficits.

A unique, unprecedented literary contribution to the field of Palestinian folk art.

Oral storytelling is an intimate experience, and in Palestinian women’s culture it is done through a familial mentorship over a lifetime. My mother learned these stories through her mother and grandmother. As generations of Palestinian women grow in diaspora, our identities and stories remain silently coded in our needle and thread. But our ancestors stories cannot be forgotten. In publishing 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 circles.

Also, this book will be a unique, unprecedented literary contribution to the field of Palestinian folk art. The few and only books published about Palestinian embroidery share the beauty of the designs — however, not a single book provides historical context or meaning behind what the designs on the garments mean. This book will decode our art for future generations to come and no other Palestinian embroidery book offers the sacred meanings and patterns that are in-print and available for purchase today.

Palestinian women’s stories are documented through the designs — a coded language used by women over centuries to communicate to one another — which is decoded through dialogues between mother and daughter. In the same tradition, my mother and I would like to lock arms with you to make this long awaited dream come true — not just for ourselves, but for all Palestinian women and men in diaspora who are seeking to construct their cultural identities outside of Palestine.

Please share our campaign with all your friends and family!

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