Monday, August 23, 2010

Syria and silk

I have not got the right adaptor plug to charge the battery for my camera- so I cannot take photos. So I am sharing some of my encounters with textiles in Syria on my recent Creative Arts Safaris trip.

Silk was once a trading  product produced in Syria and much of the lush Ottoman  silk fabrics which one can still encounter in museums, were  produced in Syria. There was a thriving silk industry which has dwindled to perhaps half a dozen producers in  small villages in the countryside..We have been lucky to find one of the artisans and to be able to see the whole process from mulberry leaf to silk worm to spinning the silk yarn to weaving and the creation of scarves and crocheted tops.
The white mulberry tree the leaves of which are used to feed the silkworms.
Silk worms feasting on mulberry leaves on specially made dishes which prevent the worms from escaping.
The worms beginning to spin their cocoons.
The cocoons once they have been collected- could you not have fun with these!( I am of course thinking dye and colour)
In the spinning process the silk thread is wound onto a wheel for easier reeling afterwards. I love that  this family used such simple but effective equipment- no  whirring machines here, just age old equipment.
The silk  wound onto reels.
Weaving the silk on a narrow loom which has been sunk into the ground. This family has been weaving for many generations and it is being passed on to the children.

Voila - finished products- all hand made!
I loved being able to see this whole process, I know you can read about it in books, but it is not the same somehow. Of course a wonderful hand woven scarf, made wider with a crocheted seam had to come home with me and thank goodness I have had it in this cold nasty and wet winter weather!The family were hospitable and  passionate about their silk. Of course we were treated to a cup of coffee and traditional home made biscuits!

If you are at all interested in the tour of Syria more information can be  obtained from Creative Arts Safaris- I will be your creative tutor on the trip!


Florcita said...

what an interesting post. I have read about this process from...tree leaf, worm to beautiful silk products but I had never seen pics!
Excellent post!

Antique Rugs said...

outstanding photographs! Keep up the fantastic work!

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Rachel at The Inspired said...

Wow..amazing and very inspiring! said...

Thanks for this article, pretty helpful piece of writing.