Advertisement Close


Beginner Class Series: Palestinian Embroidery of The First Intifada

By: | posted on: Feb 21, 2020

Date(s) - 02/21/2020 - 03/13/2020
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Add This to Your Calendar

The Jerusalem Fund


$2 - $150 USD
Contact Person:



Jerusalem Fund


“… through Palestinian embroidery and it’s promotion we keep a candle in the window…” – Leila el Khalidi (2000)

About this Event


  • Class Dates: Every Friday, 4-7pm from February 21 – March 13. Mark your calendar. Please arrive ten minutes early if possible.
  • Prerequisites: None. Students are welcome to take one or all of the classes, and no experience is required. The class series does not need to be taken in any specific order, and any student can join any class.
  • Supplies: All supplies are provided except for fabric. 12×12 white Aida cloth (12-14 count) will be used for all the classes in the series. Students are welcome to order from Wafa directly ($2 per 12×12 cloth), or bring their own. Some students may require two sheets of Aida cloth.
  • Agenda: Only in the first class (February 21) will an in-depth art history lecture be included prior to stitching that day. The following classes will include a brief context around the motif being stitched at the start of the class, but will not repeat the full length art history lecture. Students arriving late will miss the contextual design analysis at the start of every class.


  • Friday, 2/21, 4-7pm – Introduction to Intifada Tatreez, History, Resurrection & The Flag
  • Friday, 2/28, 4-7pm – Resistance & Rock Throwers
  • Friday, 3/6, 4-7pm – Map of Palestine & Calligraphy
  • Friday, 3/13, 4-7pm – Dome of the Rock

The thobe, a traditional embroidered dress handmade and worn for centuries by Palestinian women, is the bedrock of Palestinian textile artistry. Since the 11th century, Palestinian women have showcased their skillful stitchery on their traditional costume, displaying unique motifs, colors and styles across the various villages of old Palestine. After 1948, nearly one million Palestinians were forced into exile, and carried their Palestinian embroidery traditions with them into refugee camps and around the world, also referred to as the ‘diaspora’. As the diaspora spread across the globe (the largest and longest-standing population of displaced people in the world) — the thobe evolved into a symbol of national identity and solidarity.

During the First Intifada (1987-1993), when Israeli soldiers confiscated the flags of Palestinian women protesting in the streets, the women responded by embroidering the Palestinian flag and silhouettes of the country in repetition along the chests, sleeves, and back hems of their thobes. Since the thobe was worn against the skin, Israeli soldiers were unable to confiscate clothing, and Palestinian women boldly used their bodies as a tool of political resistance.

Author and teaching artist, Wafa Ghnaim, will share her research into the infamous First Intifada motifs within context to the broader art history of Palestinian embroidery production and design. The main dresses discussed are those that have been featured in the collections of the Palestine Museum’s “Labour of Love” exhibit (2018), Widad Kawar’s Home for Arab Dresses “Tiraz” (current), School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Textile Resource Center and private collections.

The first class (February 21) will include Wafa’s latest research regarding Palestinian design before and after 1948. While other classes will include a brief design analysis on the motif being stitched that day, Wafa will not repeat the introductory lecture on February 21. All students are welcome to take one class, or all of them! No experience is required.

Because we will be using one cloth for the entire class series, you have the option of either bringing your own Aida cloth or order one with registration. All students are required to bring fabric to class, and are welcome to order it through the below Eventbrite registration, or bring their own. The cloth specification is 12 or 14 count Aida cloth, depending on the student’s comfort zone. If you have any questions about the type of cloth that is required for class, please contact the instructor, Wafa Ghnaim, at

The two images used in this event are taken from “Fabric of Resistance”, by Elizabeth A. McInerny of Guernica Magazine, and the dresses belong to Wedad Kawar’s collections. I am analyzing these patterns for educational purposes, to teach students how to embroider motifs for the Palestinian cause and honor the work of our predecessors.

Refund Policy

Contact the organizer to request a refund.

Eventbrite’s fee is nonrefundable.

Loading Map....