There are two forms of weaving practiced by bedouins in rural areas of the GCC: Khoos (palm-weaving) and Sadu (spinning and weaving of goat and sheep wool). During our week of initial research, a few artisans explained the process to us, and we recognised the importance of their passion for keeping these traditions alive, given that most of the complex skills had slowly died out. We were surprised to hear that there are no longer any women capable of weaving a whole traditional tent, as had been done for thousands of years.
Bait Al Sha’r, the striped black and white tent, had been hand-woven from sheep and goat’s hair by bedouin women for generations. The artisans at the souk insisted that with factories producing the tents today, there is no longer a need for hand weaving them, and there are no longer any women capable of this skill, previously carried from generation to generation.
Banafsajeel would love to prove them wrong. We are embarking on a search in the wider region to find the artisan(s) that can still hand-weave a traditional tent. We have our bets set on Saudi Arabia. Would you like to help with the search, or join in on the conversations with artisans in the Kingdom or elsewhere? Please get in touch!