How does memory become artifact?

Hand-woven wool & silk needlepoint wall hanging, crafted using the age-old artisanal technique

The Chandelier, 2011

Hand-stitched needlepoint wall-hangings, exploring the duality between nostalgia and the love and labor of new craft

Bedouin women were traditionally tasked with constructing the tribes’ nomadic structures and packing them up, often weaving long stretches of fabric from the hair of goats or the wool of sheep. Yet with many tribes abandoning their nomadic ways and seeking a more urban existence, this housing and weaving – as a way of life- is fast becoming a phenomenon of the past. The wall-hangings seek to reawaken that tradition and recall its memories. The tribute that took three women six months to craft, acknowledges the contribution and silent self-expression of the nameless bedouin craftswomen, and the accumulative design processes they passed down from generation to generation.

Bedouin Woman Weaving, 1898 – Matson (G. Eric and Edith) Photograph Collection, Library of Congress

How can we reconcile the rhythms of our past within our present and future realities?

The handmade objects of our past are imbued with collective traditions and are a tangible form of memory. I was initially inspired by my great grandmothers’ hand-woven rug, and the interplay of wool strands looped by her hands- and those of my mothers- and flowed through an intuitive process of hand-drawing, collages, paintings, and digital transcription. In my own temporal looping, back and forth between different media and stitch patterns, my process became as much an exercise in recreating traditional weaving patterns as it was marked by my own contemporary interpretation. A process linking the hands that pass down our heritage through the legacy of the everyday objects that live on.

A traditional Bedouin rug woven by my great grandmother. It is refered to as the ‘Fijjeh’ and is characteristic – through its colors and pattern – to Madaba, a holy city in Jordan. Rugs are traditionally passed on through the family. Sheep Wool, 384 x 82 cm, Weft-faced flat weave
My great grandmother, Eideh Shuwayhat with her twin daughters, Marta and Elaine