This is exactly a month after the last update below.
Without the 3-4 days off per week, and possibly with longer sessions of weaving, I could make some serious progress.
Below is a photo of the newly arranged space! The carpets were brought in by Yousef.
This little number was lent by the gallery owner as a sample of a different technique I could work with. It’s a Wissa Wassef tapestry from the 80s, purchased in Cairo. A 12-year-old wove this.
The technique used on the Wissa Wassef tapestry requires weaving within the forming grid (thin cotton thread that holds the wool yarn). While I make knots one by one, this technique is simpler and faster. Judging from the image in the screen shot below, the loom is slightly more complex than my upright one, and it helps with speeding up the process. The tools used for this are not too different from my set, I believe.
The Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre, established in 1952, offers a variety of crafts to young Egyptians; they include cotton weaving, wool weaving, pottery, and batik – a technique of producing textiles on cloth with wax. Ramses and his wife Sophie had helped for generations in “releasing the innate creativity of young Egyptian villagers freed from the constraints of a formal education.”
This has got to be a step in the right direction, if it is taken up in Lebanon.
Since I read an article about attempting to revive the Syrian textile industry (PDF link below), one line stuck out:
“Syrians are striving to keep their industry alive…”
And of course they would! It’s one of the few industries they have, which Lebanon happens to be missing. It can have a great outreach and be imparted to anyone who needs a job, a trade, or even a hobby. Additionally, hand-made textiles sell for quite a bit of money.
I still want to see this project take off. If it can’t take off from the point I’m standing, then with some better coordination and networking, it will elsewhere.
I really hope so.
Well, this post is meant to focus on progress of any sort, right? For French readers out there, the second half of this article is a first step: Détournements calligraphiques… | Written by Zena Zalzal, L’Orient Le Jour, Feb. 26 (PDF also available below)
Note: the L’Orient Le Jour article recounts the opening of 392 RMEIL 393’s Arab Visual Culture exhibition, featuring the Concrete Poetry of Rola Haidar, in addition to my project. Do check out the Arab Visual Culture page and show, if you can!