I’ve long been a follower of Jenny Bowker, who if you are not into quilting names, is a well known Australian quilter who spent many years as an expat wife in the Middle East. Consequently, by reading her blog I became aware of the Tentmakers Of Cairo.
Have you seen them? There are literally hundreds. Thousands probably. All different. All divine.
They are quite possibly the most beautiful things I’ve seen.
Each one is so different, I couldn’t pick a favourite.
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/applique.htm is another excellent place to learn about them.
Go to Google, type in “Tent Makers Of Cairo” and do an image search. Allow yourself hours. HOURS.
I’m in awe. And these are men, sitting in their shops, with no fancy schmancy tools, no fancy needles, no fancy drawings. Just done the same way, with needle and thread, that generations have been doing before them.
Sadly, it’s a dying industry. I’m very pleased that people like Jenny are doing a lot to promote them. These are works of art, and should be treated as such.
I totally want to do one.
I’ve taken this information from a Saudi website, it’s a very interesting read:
Go to the massive 10th-century gate of Bab Zuwayla, in old Cairo, cross the small square in front of the gate and you are at the beginning of one of the oldest thoroughfares in Cairo - Shari Khayyamiya. Khayma means "tent" in Arabic and here, in the Street of the Tentmakers, the ancient craft of making huge tent pavilions, or suradeq, out of appliqued cloth patterns has been carried on for hundreds of years..
(taken from this link here – go read it, it’s very interesting. I’ll wait for you.)
Jenny has a very interesting blog/website (sadly, she doesn’t seem to be updating her blog all that often these days – she’s a very busy tutor now). Looking at her quilts it’s easy to see how her quilting has been influenced by her time in the Middle East.
*updated – I’ve found that the AQS Quilt Show in Grand Rapids, MI - August 22-25, 2012 will be featuring them. Obviously only worth going to if you’re in the US – let’s hope that they can come over to Australia soon*
I hope you enjoy them.