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Weavers Spotlight: Jmiya Al-Wajj

This is a particularly unique piece, in that it is the first textile woven by Jmiya Al-Wajj, Ghazala’s leading Bedouin weaver and spinner. This makes Jmiya one of the only Bedouin women in the world who now knows how to warp a loom, and weave complex designs (called supplementary warp-pick up).

This is an extinct technique, found only in private or museum collections and referenced in books. This piece is woven today, by a Bedouin woman living in an “unrecognized” village, living a semblance of her nomadic ancestors’ original way of life. This piece also shined an unexpected light on Jmiya, among local communities. People are reaching out to her and requesting that she weave for them.

She is becoming her own entrepreneur, self-empowered and recognized by her communities for reviving this tradition. And if you look closely at the textile Jmiya wove, there are no mistakes. Considering that this was her first weaving on which she learned this technique, this is no small accomplishment. It shows that ancestral craft is in one’s genetic memory, even when history’s darkest shadows of colonialism have tried to annihilate the freedom of expression this textile represents.


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