keeper of the textiles part 3


When we went to Israel in 1970, one of the places we visited was Madam Farida's workshop. Madam Farida and her workshop of embroiders made European style dresses using traditional Arab/Bedouin embroidery motifs.

My mother's friend Bernice has several of these dresses. she brought my mother to the workshop. My mother chose a motif, a dress style, the colors and the fabric. The blue dress pictured, with the red and yellow embroidery was the second dress that my mother had had made for her.

The first was black with bronze and white embroidery. When my older sister was in Israel for her junior year, she went to visit Madam Farida's--perhaps to place the order for this dress. There Madame, Farida had a wall of photographs of celebrities and good customers wearing her creations.

Madam Farida pointed out a photograph with "Madam Bernice" ( my mother's friend) and "some lady" wearing their Farida dresses. My sister got all excited, my mother was the "some lady".

The embroidery on this dress is set up like a traditional Arab dress. The dress is a simple darted sheath, long,and with walking slits. My mother used to wear these dresses to black tie events.


These dresses were purchased at a hopeful moment in the history of Arab Jewish relations. Wearing such a dress was a way of speaking of hopes for peace an co-existance. We are, at this moment in a very different place. I don't think I will wear either dress, but I am glad to be their keeper.








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