A look into the step-by-step process of Palestinian embroidery

Guest contribution by Rana Nazzal

Tatreez, or embroidery, is a Palestinian tradition deeply rooted in the history and culture of Palestine. It is a form of art and a language of expression. If we study the symbols and patterns of each area of Palestine, we can witness the connection of the Palestinian people to their land. Tatreez depicts not only the surrounding nature but also rites of passages and historical events. It is deeply historical but has also evolved as Palestine has been colonized, ethnically cleansed, divided, and occupied.

For me, preserving our embroidery is congruent with preserving our identity and telling our story. I live in the diaspora only because my father was forcefully evicted from his home in Tabaria in 1948. Although I am denied my homeland I maintain my identity through our traditions, including the practice of tatreez. Through each stitch I feel closer to what has been denied to me and I embed a deeper hope to one day return.


Rana Nazzal

Rana Nazzal is a Palestinian-Canadian completing her undergraduate degree at Carleton University. She is an active member of Students Against Israeli Apartheid-Carleton, and photographs and blogs at zaytouni.wordpress.com.


There are 2 comments

  1. Jess

    What books are you using to learn more of the motifs? (I see some in your pictures!) Great work – I love the embroidery and the history behind it!

  2. lavernewaddington

    Thank you for this article. A friend of mine bought an embroidery that has symbols very similar to those in the third picture from the bottom….the simple three red figures. My friend’s piece has three figures rotated and repeated much the same as the example you show except that the figure is more complex. Is this writing? What does that particular motif mean? Is it exactly like the written symbol or has it been adpated for the embroidery technique?

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