Today, October 15, is the International Craft Day! Celebrate with us on this occasion these three crafts that are unique to Palestine.
Known for its rich, exquisite beauty, embroidery is hands down the most symbolic of Palestinian crafts. Palestinian embroidery has been influenced by the many cultures that have occupied the land. Some say its influence can be traced as far back to the Canaanites, who were here 3000 years ago!
Embroidery has thrived in spite of Palestine’s turbulent history. Embroidery projects sprung up in communities in the aftermath of the wars in 1948 and 1967, and 2 Intifadas, when women sought a means for economic survival through craft-making. Embroidery projects continue to be popular at women’s groups across Palestine. It’s a testament to the resourcefulness of Palestinians, and their strong love and pride for this cherished heritage.
-> Get to know our embroidery producers
Not only are olives a well-known delicious staple in Palestinian cuisine, its branches, pruned after harvest season, also make excellent firewood and craft-making material.
Olivewood craft is an ancient heritage in Bethlehem - generations of artisans have been carving souvenir items for pilgrims from their olive trees ever since the 4th century, when the Church of Nativity was built at the site of Jesus’ birth.
Small, family-run olivewood workshops still dot across the Bethlehem area today. Evolving with market demands, one can now enjoy beautifully fine-grained olivewood crafts in the form of traditional religious relics, Christmas decorations, kitchen utensils, and more.
-> Read about Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative, our partner that makes olivewood products.
Leather is one of the main crafts from Hebron, a southern West Bank city known for its craft industries -- glass blowing, pottery, and textiles like the traditional kaffiyeh. Artisans use cow and goat leather sourced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to make footwears, furniture, and accessories.
Numerous tanneries and leather workshops used to employ tens of thousands of Hebronites at its peak until cheap imports started to flood the market in the last decade. Today, the young generation of artisans are passionate about designing contemporary items like laptop cases and wallets to keep alive the heritage of their beloved city.
-> Read about Jelld, our partner that makes leather products