2021: The Year of Motherhood & Maker
I’ve always been a maker. Making and creating since I was young. But 2021 was a big year for myself as a maker because this year I became a Mom. And that will always come first for me now. Being a momma has impacted my practice and purpose in beautiful ways.
A Year of Collective Practice & My Favorite Makes
Looking back at this previous year of growth and creativity, something is markedly different for me. Every time I look at one of my finishes from this past year, I can look at it and name the individuals who contributed to its creation-- and that’s no longer solely my mom, aunts, and family members. Incredible women from across the globe who originally came together over our shared passion for threads, fabrics, and thobe-making have now become my favorite source for creative inspiration, ideas, last minute project/plan changes, and support. I can look at my daughters first few thobes which came together this year and name the individuals who consulted me on colors, cuts, and fabric. The incredible friends who inspired me to make her headpiece by gifting her her first row of coins. The women who encouraged me against my natural instinct for covering (and maybe ruining!) projects with beads because I love shiny things too much. And the friends who responded to messages late at night as I was choosing fabrics for new projects. In 2021, I am blessed to have found a community, trust, and inspiration in all of the makers around me. Thank you for your impact on my practice and helping me sustain myself as both a maker and mom. I have learned from all of you infinitely. Now, for some of my favorite finishes of the year!
January 2021 - The Jerusalem Chest Piece
A story of a resilience, strength, and resistance. This piece tells the story of some of the most transformational moments in my journey to knowing my Palestinian identity and myself.
March 2021 - The Baby Thobe
My baby girl’s first thobe. One of my proudest creations. From the moment she was born, we have been determined to support her in carrying her identity with confidence and pride. Of course, her first thobe had to carry the threads, fabric, and traditions of her Momma’s rich Ramallah heritage.
June 2021 - The Motherhood Thobe
I’ve shared in multiple spaces that this has been one of the most meaningful thobes I’ve created. I began this project multiple times when I thought I was going to become a mother - and then stopped it multiple times when we learned that God had other plans for our family. When I picked this thobe back up again in early 2021, I was hesitant about completing it until we had made it past a safer point in my pregnancy. My husband and I remembered each of those losses on this thobe with a particular motif, and we also picked numerous celebratory motifs of life and health to commemorate the occasion of our family’s expansion. I feel so much pride when I wear this thobe - I love the gold accents throughout it and so much more of it. I also love how it’s both finished and not. InshaAllah if our family continues to grow, each child will be celebrated with new additions onto this thobe.
Spring-Winter 2021 - Heritage Inspired Dresses for My Little One
I spent a lot of this year sewing, too, and not always embroidering! It’s something I truly love to do. I love the ability to select and use sustainable materials that carry meaning and bring us closer to the land. I also love the ability to resist fast fashion to an extent by investing time and attributing value to the things I can create for my daughter (and myself) that will last generations. In addition to her first holiday gowns, my mom and I made her a plethora of handmade pieces that will adorn her first year. This one was my absolute favorite!
November 2021 - My Baby’s First Headpiece
I created this piece to be an adjustable headpiece to match one of J’s first thobes (that I haven’t shared with the world yet because it is deeply personal to our family, but you will see soon!). I created this headpiece by studying my own and chose shared motifs from my headpiece to fill hers. Two of my dearest friends gifted these coins to my baby as a surprise for all of us! So now, Baby J has her first row of coins - a collection that will grow with her throughout her life as we continue to keep these traditions alive. The coins, like coins on the headpieces from centuries ago, are removable and will be transferred to her future headpieces that will grow in size and have new, meaningful rows of coins alongside this first one that started her off.
A favorite tatreez memory from December 2021: Women from across multiple cohorts of The Thobe Project came together in person for a meet& greet, some stitching, and a thobe study.
What’s next for 2022?
This past year of my practice has taught me more than ever the value of good mentorship and a good network of crafty, creative individuals to both guide, inspire, and sustain me. Having good mentors is a blessing I am forever grateful for in my textile journey. I am so grateful to say that I’m starting out 2022 on what I think will be a three-year learning journey for where I’m hoping to go in my personal practice. I’m grateful that by sheer luck and a few very specific online searches, I was actually able to find a local mentor to help support me through this journey. While I’m not quite sure I can say where the journey will lead me, I can say I’m excited for the process, learning, and community along the way. Additionally, I have a few big projects that will be nearing the end of their timelines in 2022. Namely, my Ramallah thobe I’ve been working on since June! I’m excited to share more of that with you as it comes together. As we close out 2021, I’m wishing each of you a Blessed & Happy New Year filled with joy, good health, memories, and new creative endeavors!
Until Liberation & Return,