It is with great pleasure that I announce the release of my long-awaited print book, Tatreez & Tea on Amazon. A total of 448 pages, this book reflects my family’s effort to preserve a wide-range of traditional Palestinian embroidery motifs in the diaspora. Not only do I write about the design meaning and history of each motif — I also share personal family photographs and close up’s of the front and back of the embroidery in case you are teaching yourself the art at home. Even more, I share 7 tea recipes, 1 coffee recipe and a very special SAFARJAL/quince preserves recipe my mother has made for years in memory of her eldest brother and my uncle, Dr. Adnan Ghalib Abbasi.
For those that have already read through the first edition of the book, not only will you notice an abundance of motifs (some of which redesigned for easier use in print), you will notice a great deal more instructional guidance in the first chapters, including a full match up of Aida, waste canvas, needle and thread sizes so you know how to start your first projects.
There are nearly two dozen illustrations from the very talented Jumana Al Qawasmi at Watan. Cute little never-before-seen tea cups, coffee cups, and little iconic symbols in Palestinian heritage that will just make your heart skip a beat.
All the family photographs were touched up by Carlos Khalil Guzman, who gave them life and vibrancy in a way that transports you through time.
I spent countless hours over the last two and a half years with Andrea Leake, styling the embroidery with floral arrangements in creative, unique and modern ways that is a feast for the eyes. She is incredibly creative in composition and design, a skill that she’s honed in on in her floral career for decades.
Hundreds of photographs and illustrations, 18 chapters, 4 poems, and 9 recipes are formatted and edited into the most beautiful narrative by a graceful, detailed and gentle woman (and my little sister), Safa Sofia Ghnaim . Safa formatted th
is beautiful book through many hours of sifting through a laborious yet satisfying complex puzzle comprised of my thoughts and imagination. She combed through my numerous vision boards of this book, sample layouts, my tears and insecurities, vague explanations, long calls — all because the purpose of this book was far greater than a pers
onal satisfaction, but one that brought my family together from around the world. Safa
is in Germany, my mother and sister in Oregon, and myself in New York.
Finally, I want to ultimately thank the Brooklyn Arts Council who believed in this book project from the moment I pitched them in 2015. Going in cold, I had never requested funding for project — let alone applied to the most competitive grant application project at any local arts organization in the nation. Brooklyn is home to some of the greatest artists of all time, and the Brooklyn Arts Council has been a part of the journey of many over the years. They helped create this book, fund my artistic practice and ultim
ately bring me closer to my identity as an artist and writer. An identity that I hadn’t yet assumed when I first met them.
The book is now available worldwide. This is such a joyful and bittersweet day for me, to release this project to the world and share not only my mother’s story, but my story. If there is one thing I learned while writing Tatreez & Tea starting at the age of 31, then getting pregnant at age 32, having a baby at age 33, and having a newborn then toddler at 34 and finally launching it while he is running around at 17 months old — I learned that I too have a story to tell as a Palestinian in the diaspora. And I better tell it. I better write it. I have another generation coming, and they should know the stories of their great great grandmother, their grandmother, and also, of their mother. I did not grow up immersed in the Palestinian diaspora community, and I had to learn my identity while surrounded by a predominantly white community. But my Palestinian roots strongly clenched on and emerged when I needed them most, thanks to my upbringing through my parents.
Thank you to my mother, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, for always selflessly sharing her stories and lessons with me and my sisters. Thank you for showing me how to connect with who I am, beyond politics and protests. Thank you for teaching me a way to communicate with you spiritually, with Palestine and with Tayta. Thank you for sharing this dream to write a book with me, one that I ultimately took on, and pursued with such ferocity that I wrote an encyclopedia. This one is for you Mama!
And finally, to the donors that supported me last year in my LaunchGood campaign — your books are in the mail! You should be receiving them, depending on where you live (some are international), between now and September. All donors will be receiving a special gift in the mail, beyond just the book.
If you are interested in reading up on the latest and greatest on the book, my mother and I, in the media — all articles in the press are updated here.
I have two book launch events scheduled in Washington, DC and New York City. In the coming months, I plan to host book launch parties in Oregon and Illinois. I hope to see you there! All events are posted here.