Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sadu - and why I am in Kuwait at all....

What is sadu?

Weaving by Al Sadu weaver, Laila
I will take a quote from a great blog by Dr. Keireine Canavan, a professor and researcher from Cardiff, UK (

"Al Sadu is an ancient Bedouin tribal weaving artform, which in its broadest linguistic identity is rhythmically linked to poetry, memory, the weaving practice, the extension of the hand, and the graceful moving pace of a camel."

If any of you are self-proclaimed textile nerds, then you understand the intrigue of a material that is described in this way. The link between the movement of the hand, the process of weaving, and the lifestyle of the weaver draws a beautiful mental picture that translates wonderfully onto the woven cloth called sadu.

I am still learning about sadu, the relationship of the cloth to the close knit Bedouin community, both in the past and present. The cloth itself is a reflection of the weaver, the symbols woven in the center panel, called the schedua (sp?), hold the thoughts and the responses of the individual to her environment, life, thoughts. These motifs are not settled into a predictable iconographic language. They are said to change over time, sometimes with one weaver interpreting the same symbol in a different way.

Cloth designed by Al Sadu weaver, Laila
These woven cloths were an intrinsic part of the traditional Bedouin life - actually putting roofs over their heads, and functioning as needed household items. They brought a certain beauty into a stark landscape.

I am only going to just touch the surface of these weavings. I am so new to the terms and aspects of this cloth that I would rather direct you to some great resources - just to get you started!

Ibjad: Ornate Tent Dividers and Weavings of the Kuwait Desert by Sheikha Altaf Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah (who is patron of Al Sadu, incredible woman, and deserves a blog post all on her on)
Al Sadu: The techniques of Bedouin weaving  by  Anne-Rhona Crichton
Bedouin Weaving of Saudi Arabia and its Neighbours by Joy Totah Hilden    

Since this post is photo poor - check out the previous one of all things beautifully sadu!                             

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