Near East

Syeda M. Bibi & Begum Bibi

Pre-Islamic geometric motifs of flowers and nature adorn the highly refined textiles produced by members of the artist collective Poetic Threads of Pakistan, nestled in the country’s Swat Valley. In this area, master designers have long been revered for producing items which have protective and talismanic symbolism—properties which are still preserved and treasured today.

Per generations […]

Gohar Sajid

In rural Pakistan, the artist collective Sabah creates a range of intricately beautiful woven goods, the vast majority of which are made by women. The organization is led by powerhouse seamstress Gohar Sajid, who was born and raised in the village of Bhutri. Unlike many Pakistani girls, Sajid went to school before she married, and […]

Salma Abed Damej and Doha Awath Saber

Fantastically colorful and energetically patterned, the textiles made by the artists of Nature Iraq are as unique as the culture they belong to. Founded in 2004, Nature Iraq’s not-for-profit mission is to support the work of Marsh Arab women weavers who reside in several townships in the Mesopotamian Marshes of the southern region of the […]

Amina Yabis

Amina Yabis was a typical Moroccan housewife and mother of four boys whose husband was a school teacher. With the support of her husband and family, she decided to break out of the narrow role defined for her by Moroccan society and help women play a part in the economic and political life of her […]

Abdeloihed Elbellaj, Khaddouj Bouffi

In many instances, the world’s most spectacular folk art has roots that span millennia, with traditional patterns, tools, and even designated gender roles that span generations. Master Moroccan weaver Khadouj Boufi makes a range of vibrantly colored and energetically crafted carpets, but, although her textiles are inspired by Morocco’s long history of Berber rugs, the […]

Amna Shariff

For centuries, Lahore, Pakistan, has had a tradition of producing uniquely artful adornments, be they textiles for the home, or wearable goods suitable for the most important ceremonies. This resplendently creative region continues to dazzle locals and visitors alike, thanks to artists like Amna Shariff, a master jeweler based in Lahore. Shariff’s elaborate jewelry is […]

Sulafa Embroidery Center

At Sulafa Embroidery Center in Gaza, Palestine, hundreds of female refugees produce modern, embroidered textiles while still maintaining traditional artistic styles. Sulafa would not be possible without the help of The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which was established by the United Nations in 1949. One […]

Noshad Yousuf

For its sheer ingenuity and utter uniqueness, the work of master folk artist Noshad Yousuf stands alone. From his studio in Karachi, Pakistan, Yousuf makes a marvelous type of artwork known regionally and abroad as “Truck art.” These items are riotously colored and gorgeously patterned, per the traditiona in this part of the world. Not […]

Hocine Bazine

For centuries, the Berber people of North Africa have been known for their distinctive textiles. Algerian master weaver Hocine Bazine has longstanding family roots in the creation of rugs and textiles associated with the region. Traditionally, Berber carpets served utilitarian purposes, providing soft ground coverings for tents or more permanent dwellings. The textiles also were […]

Salaheddin

Since 2004, Salaheddin’s Syrian artisans have been crafting finely wrought, imminently practical glassware and other objects in a manner traditional to the region.

Though its artists hail from Damascus, Aleppo, and other Syrian cities, Salaheddin is based in Western Brittany, France. True? That’s because the cooperative was founded by Jean-François Vaillant and Isabelle Jouglard, who fell […]

Tarek Abdelhay Hafez Abouelenin & Ekramy Hanafy Ahmed Mahmoud

For the world’s nomadic peoples, portable spaces to take shelter and rest have been a crucial, centuries-old aspect of everyday life that continues today in many parts of the world. Egyptian artisan collective Tentmakers of Cairo might well be considered an authority on such a history, even if their days of making traditional Egyptian tents […]

Hamdi Natsheh & Hamzeh Natsheh

Hamdi Natsheh is a master glass-blower who runs the artist collective Hebron Glass along with his son, Hamzeh. Residing in the city of Hebron, located in Palestine’s West Bank, the artists make a range of dreamily colored, astonishingly creative glass products. Natsheh traces his family’s history of glass-blowing to the first half of the 19th […]

Ben Zion David

Jewish Yemenite fine jewelry, based on gold and silver wire filigree, is the highly specialized type of artwork that master jeweler Ben Zion has made for decades. When the majority of the community in Yemen immigrated to Israel in 1948, the poor economy had little need for goldsmiths or silversmiths and consequently, only a small […]