Saturday, April 4, 2009

Food Patterns

Lots of pics this week. The first were taken in a food souq (street) in Damascus. Followed by the start of my latest piece of work.

For those who may be interested in possible travel to Syria and Egypt here are contact details. Jenny was our Australian guide, and is also a quilter, and Tarek's company was the local contact. Both are highly recommended.
Jenny Bowker:
Tarek Mousa:

Sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and lemons under cover

Meat shop - where do all these bits come from?

Fresh vegetables every day

As an olive fan, this had my eyes popping...

Dyed vegetables. Cauliflower on lower left, carrots on lower right


And here is the beginning of my new piece..... I will give the design source in a future blog.

My design enlarged by drawing up a larger grid on paper and copying from the smaller working design (taped on to larger paper design)

The fabric was given a base dye, and the paper design was securely pinned to the back side of the fabric. I then manipulated this on my small lightbox which allowed me to trace the design in pencil on to the back of the fabric. And yes, I remembered (just in time) to reverse the design direction. Using the pencil lines as a guide I then painted on discharge paste. Once steamed this removed enough of the dye to give clear lines on the right side of the fabric. I then repeated these lines with another discharge application on the right side to give bolder lines, followed by the usual wash and iron, ready for the next application.

Next Blog: Textile Feasts

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Tentmakers Khan

A typical crowded souq where we mingled with the locals

I have returned from visiting Syria and Egypt. What an adventure! Lots of exciting things to see and the senses were once again fully challenged. Over the next few weeks I will blog about things seen and relating to textiles, as well as progress on my own new projects.
We spent time in the souqs (shopping areas) of the old cities of both Damascus and Cairo. Shop themes seemed to concentrate in one street and the Tentmakers in Khan was no exception. Panels of appliqued and quilted cloth were used to line the inside of the tents as far back as the time of the pharoahs. Geometric patterns, in bright red, green, blue and yellow cottons, seemed very familiar as many of these are still used today in western quilting. No longer regarded as a necessity in Egypt, this occupation is being threatened by cheaper printed quilts. The Khan stitchers, mostly men, continue their tradition and create an amazing selection of quilts and items, from small to very large, for the tourist industry and for local special events.
While waiting for my companions to finish their viewing/purchasing, I conversed with one of the stitchers while he worked, and he invited me to try my hand. I managed to achieve quite a decent piece of applique and I think he approved as he soon set to doing something else while I stitched. I had passed my apprenticeship!

A view through the tentmakers souq

He seems happy with my efforts......

My two cushion purchases, the birds were not a typical pattern, nor were the colours (paler than normal) of the geometric cushion, but they suit my intended use

Next Blog: Food Patterns