Saturday, September 28, 2013

Spinning and Weaving

A house in Safi wears a hat of wool - left to dry in the sun after being washed. 

For the first time at Safi crafts we showed off our traditional spinning skills - passed on from our mothers and grandmothers. A drop spindle- or more accurately a roll spindle - is rolled along the thigh after the wool is finger carded. 

We didn't get around to dyeing the wool except to quickly dip a small amount into red ochre. We are excited to experiment with more dyes in the near future.

The loom is set up on the ground using broken pieces of concrete, discarded iron rebar and twigs snapped of a nearby bush. Nothing in Safi is ever done alone so three pairs of hands are better than one. 

This is a mini version of the large traditional ground looms used to make warp faced rugs and the black goat hair tents still used as Bedouin homes. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Colours from the Earth

We've been digging ochre from the ground near Wadi Mujib on the shore of the Dead Sea. 

Sometimes it seems the rocks are sweating with color. Or maybe it was just the 45 degree (105 F) heat that made us think so. The crusty stuff is salt - stained with ochre.

Arwa strikes a pose in front of the setting sun. 

 After we dye the cotton we sew it into colorful market bags like this one. 

Tomorrow we are going to spin wool and experiment with the mud dyes. Usually protein fibres take dye much better than cellulose. We'll post the results.