6-14 October 2017

Earthmade: Papermaking and Textiles in Iraq Al Amir

By Amer El-Mousa
On Wednesday, July 13, 2016

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In support of the livelihood of rural women in Iraq Al Amir, Lina Kanafani, founder of Mint design gallery in London, invited designers Jenny Hier and Eva Schlechte of Studio Gutedort to hold a papermaking workshop at the Iraq Al Amir Women’s Association in May 2015.

Image courtesy of GutedortThe local skills of making dough was utilized to create paper dough to produce a range of small bowls. Given the limited resources and water scarcity in the area, these rural women were encouraged to find new methods of working. The outcome was a paper dough that requires little water and is dyed using natural herbs and spices. The dough is dyed with natural herbs and spices, pressed into molds, and after drying was easily removed.

Image courtesy of GutedortFollowing the success of the collaboration, a further textiles workshop was held in Spring 2016 with handlooms. The goal was to work with the women to extend their existing skills and experience in weaving. Using alkanna root, red cabbage, pomegranate skin, onion peel and black tea, a color spectrum was explored to create a new collection of natural colored and handwoven textiles on the dobby looms.

Image courtesy of GutedortGutedort used a technique to tie the threads before dying to create a pattern that reflects the interplay of light and shadow in open spaces in the village, mirroring the whirring shadow and light often found in the village’s main yard.

Iraq Al Amir will be exhibiting their paper bowls and textiles at Amman Design Week’s Crafts District this September, thanks to the support of Al Shams Al Mushriqa; an organisation whose goal is poverty alleviation and providing support to rural women.