The World of Beduin Weaving
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Joy May Hilden
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A Review of 1998 Activities:
A Mideast Trip and Two Conferences

woman weaver
1. Settled Beduin woman of the Abu Taweel Workshop plying yarn. Rafah, North Sinai.

man showing bag
2. Man of the Al Shabab tribe near Aswan showing a woman's bag, mukhlaya.


Ms Hilden took a month-long trip to the Mideast which included visits to see weavers at work in Egypt and Jordan, and to note the types of items made and techniques, styles and colors used.

JMH with weaver in Egypt
3. Joy with a settled nomadic weaver in Gheita, north of Cairo.

settled nomad weaving a piece
4. Settled nomad near Gheita weaving a saddlebag on a ground loom.

Places visited in Egypt:

  • North Sinai

  • Cairo

  • Aswan

  • Gheita, north of Cairo

Weavers visited:

  • A settled Beduin family active in the Abu Taweel Workshop in Rafah, North Sinai

  • a Beduin family of the Al Shabab tribe near Aswan

  • a group of weavers, settled nomads, in Gheita north of Cairo

women weaving a saddlebag
5. Some women of Gheita weaving a saddlebag.

Besides visiting weavers, Joy went to a museum, shops, private collections and the Marketing Link, an organization assisting craftspeople in finding markets.

woman making weft twining
6. Detail of #5, showing women making weft twining.

Place visited in Jordan:

  • The Bani Hamida Weavers, a project assisting a tribe of settled Beduin in making and marketing woven products that appeal to modern tastes. The tribe lives in the hills near Madaba and has an office in Amman.

Gheita woman weaving w/ coke bottle
7. A woman in Gheita weaves a narrow band inside a palm leaf shelter, using a Coke bottle to separate the uppper and lower groups of yarns.


Joy was a guest at the 22nd World Crafts Council Asia Assembly, Al Bsatt Festival, in Amman, Jordan and Taybet Zaman, a site near Petra, Jordan. She gave a paper titled, "My Experiences in the Field; Beduin Weaving in Saudi Arabia". The emphasis of the conference was weaving.

Treasury Building, Petra, Jordan
8. In the grand Treasury building at Petra.

Bani Hamida weavers
9. A Bani Hamida weaver works on a rug in weft twining technique.

weaver with ground loom
10. A weaver with her ground loom discussing the work with a Bani Hamida supervisor, as a fellow weaver and two conference delegates look on. The hills overlook the Dead Sea.

large pot for dyeing sheepswool
11. Bani Hamida weavers near a large pot for dyeing sheepswool. A ground loom is stretched nearby.

The trips organized by the conference included a visit to the Bani Hamida Weavers. See photos.


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