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Ghurzeh Fashion – ‘tatreez’ as contemporary art

Ghurzeh’s tatreez, as all Palestinian embroidery, is based on cross stitches that identify Palestinians in a discernable regional style. (Photos: Handouts from Me’ad Mansour)
AMMAN — Palestinian embroidery, or tatreez, is a rich artistic tradition of creating designs using needle and thread passed down by mothers to daughters through generations. Palestinian artist and needle-and-thread pioneer Me’ad Mansour is taking tatreez to the next level, adding a contemporary expression to it with her one-of-a-kind business, Ghurzeh Fashion.اضافة اعلان

Ghurzeh Fashion is the first brand in Jordan that introduces tatreez on wood, creatively pushing the boundaries of tatreez and reinventing its modus operandi.

Ghurzeh Fashion was established in 2018 as a means of projecting nature’s most intricate forms on bags and clutches.

(Photos: Handouts from Me’ad Mansour)

“My parents are Palestinian refugees and as all Palestinians in diaspora, we have been clenching to our rich heritage and diverse identity. Tatreez is a limitless art. It can be infused into endless materials, not only the traditional Palestinian dress, the thoub. At Ghurzeh, we introduced tatreez on wooden handbags and home accessories, sending a clear message by creating pieces which make a perfect blend of tradition and modernism,” Mansour told Jordan News.

According to Mansour, the needlework carries within its folds a different meaning: one of resistance, the struggle of a people and the story of a homeland.

Ghurzeh introduced the collection “Say it Palestinian” aiming at reviving some of the words used in the original Palestinian dialects which will soon cease to exist, by hand embroidering it on comfortable and cozy unisex hoodies.

(Photos: Handouts from Me’ad Mansour)

A word can have up to seven variations in the different dialects of Palestine. This collection explores the interplay between text and image: text embedded in textiles and rendering handwriting in thread.

All products of Ghurzeh are handmade.

“We work on our products from A to Z; wood purchasing, wood perforating and tatreez. One piece will approximately contribute to eighteen families’ economics and it takes almost three days to produce it,” Mansour said.

(Photos: Handouts from Me’ad Mansour)

Ghurzeh’s tatreez, as all Palestinian embroidery, is based on cross stitches that identify Palestinians in a discernable regional style. The type of embroidery and motifs, the arrangement of the motif, the colors of the embroidery threads and fabrics are strong visual cues about the wearer’s place of origin.

“We study the patterns we use from credible sources. We do not tamper with the preserved patterns when incorporating them into our designs. We use different formulations, such as the cypress tree from Gaza and the Kanaan’s star from Ramallah, which is considered as a symbol of the blood of the martyrs who have risen in defense of their land,” she said.

(Photos: Handouts from Me’ad Mansour)

Ghurzeh received support in its first steps from Dezain Space in the form of mentorship in business and financial management, and network opportunities with other designers. In May 2021, when Dezain and Mercheese launched their Palestine-Merch campaign to support Palestinians in their time of need, Ghurzeh was among the contributors.

Mansour launched a DIY tatreez box which includes embroidery threads, plastic canvases, needles, different embroidery patterns and a step-by-step tutorial for people who have no background in tatreez, but can experience pieces coming together while learning about their heritage, stitch by stitch. It was impactful as it helps preserve the heritage.

(Photos: Handouts from Me’ad Mansour)

Ghurzeh also has a creative, elegant, eid boxes. In order to empower women who lost their sources of income due to the pandemic, they started buying eid cookies, mamoul, packaged them in embroidered boxes and sold them.

Ghurzeh has a niche for customization; it has unique collections which include hand embroidered Quran covers, coasters, wooden spoons, table runners, brooches, and earrings, among others. Traditional tatreez has never looked so stylish!

While tatreez existed throughout time, this timeless craft has continually been reconceptualized; now by the team at Ghurzeh who pushes the boundaries of its meaning and limits.

It's worth mentioning that Ghurzeh is one of the many designers that are supported by Zain Jordan through “Dezain space” which was launched in 2018 to support the continual growth of the designing sector across the kingdom, and to shed light on Jordanian creative designs, in addition to providing the opportunity for the Jordanian designers to reach the markets, connecting them with other designers to collaborate with each other, mentoring them and empower them to expand their business and grow.

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