Monday, August 28, 2006

Naive Embroidery

I know this will get repetitive, but I can't believe how soon I will be leaving Egypt. In some ways I am soooo ready to go already but it's going to be hard to leave the friends I've made, at least the ones that are staying. One of my friends already moved away and two more will be going before my sweetie and I do. Big changes.

One of the things I have loved the most about Egypt is the folk art. This is a piece of naive embroidery done by a craftswoman from the Mottamadaya Women's Association, a fair trade organization. The women were trained in embroidery by a Dutch woman and they depict common Egyptian scenes. When I first moved here three years ago there was a huge selection of these pieces available, but not so much anymore. I hope that's because they're being exported now and making these women some much needed money.

Anyway, this is one I own. The embroidered scene is roughly 15" square.

I bought this particular work because I loved the rooster wearing boots. And hmmm, something interesting going on with the man in the upper right, with the face both looking sideways and straight ahead.

I love this row of buildings. First is a church (crosses on the roof), the middle aqua-colored house has two of the pigeon houses (the domed things with sticks) I told you about in a previous embroidery post, and the building on the far right is a mosque (crescents on the roof). Very integrated.

The only thing the houses are missing is the satellite dishes, which are on every apartment building. This is the view out of my computer room window. There are the dishes and then the dome of the nearby coptic church.

Here's a woman baking bread. Behind her is a water jug, if that's the proper name for it. You see these all over here in Egypt, rather than drinking fountains.

This is what the water vessels look like:

I was a good girl yesterday and got the ginormous backing finished for my bed quilt and the backing for one of the charity quilts. So making some progress, that's good. I desperately wanted to start playing, but managed to hold off.

Sweetie and I started watching the third season of Monk. I'd resisted getting it because of the departure of Sharona, but Laura convinced me the shows are still good.

23 comments:

Lily said...

Okay, I would've bought that piece as well for the rooster in boots. Now all the roosters will want some!

You'll make new friends in Paris. And Egypt's not all THAT far - you could have a nice weekend visit with your friends staying. Or they could come and visit you!

Sweet P said...

The folk art is beautiful. I'm curious what do you and your husband do that require to live overseas?

Shelina said...

This is a great embroidery work! I appreciate your taking photos of the real thing and sharing the story.

KCQuilter said...

I love the folk art embroidery! Wow, what a treasure to have. And I have to agree, the "new" girl on Monk has filled the gap nicely! I do miss Sharona though. Did you see where Tony Shaloub got another Emmy for Monk last night??? I just wish they made more episodes.

quiltpixie said...

I can so see you enjoying that embroidery. Folk art doesn't generally draw me, but the colours are so vivid, and the booted rooster is worth a laugh...

Kathie said...

The embroidery is wonderful--charming, a one-of-a-kind, memory of your time in Egypt.

cher said...

clever to include a photo of some of the reality compared to the embroidery-what a great piece to have and enjoy. It's a bittersweet time-happy to look ahead to a new place, sad to leave behind those friends and the enjoyable times spent.

McIrish Annie said...

I LOVE Monk and sharona's departure doesn't change it much. I actually like the new assistant better.

if you like monk, you should check out PSYCH..

Dawn said...

I still love the palm trees! But I do love the rooster and love how there is so much to look at in the picture! The picture you showed of the real water vessels is very cool!

Glad you got the backings done.

I miss Monk. I used to watch it when it was on regular TV, but then it went to cable and we don't get cable. Did you know he won an Emmy last night for the show?

Judy said...

Very cool embroidery indeed! I hope you like the Monk season. I watched the first few without Sharona and didn't like them so we stopped watching. Plus, they changed him...he getting better and not as neurotic and I really liked the super neurotic Mink. SO I'll be glad to see what you think.

I wouldn't say that too many times..."i can't believe we are leaving soon"...might jinx yourselves! My mom use to talk about making friends then having to pull up stakes and move again. Sometimes she was lucky to meet someone who she had known in the previous assignment. They all seemed to move about in the same few groups!

Hedgehog said...

This reminds me so much of La Tapisserie de Bayeaux in France (there's a repro in England, too). Made in 1066, it's an embroidery that tells the story of the Battle of Hastings. It's meters and meters and meters long. Although there are plenty of men on horseback and weapons, there are also great everyday illustrations and surprises. Maybe you can get up to Bayeux once you're in France. The museum is a little bizarre, but it's worth it and the town is cute, too.

Laura said...

I am so far behind on blogs, having no computer does that. I hope you are enjoying Monk! We have liked the new character. I think my favorite episode has to be the one where he has amnesia. Have you gotten to that one yet? Really funny. Love the embroidery!

Laurie Ann said...

I just finished Angel over the weekend. The finale was amazing, although I cried my eyes out. The Fred/Ilyria story arc was amazing and they really wrung the most out of it. Much better than the Buffy finale.

Susan said...

What a great piece of folk art. I love the little individual touches you pointed out, and the woman wholooks like she has a bird on her head. I suppose it's a water jug, but it looks like a bird. =)

ForestJane said...

I'm curious about the water jugs... are they green from being unglazed pottery that sweats a little? Is that moss on the outside? Or is the green a glaze?

Cindra said...

The folk art embroidery is wonderful. There is a story everywhere you look.
As for Monk, it is always good...

Finn said...

Hey Ton, was here yesterday to comment about the great backing you were making, but got Bloggerized...LOL

So today I'm back..and have to say I love the embroidery..very, very folk art to say the least, but great!! Gotta love the rooster in boots..can't remember the last time I saw on of those.
The days are going fast now, and altho it's hard to leave it's a good time I think. Glad you will be stateside for Halloween fabric buying and celebrating! Hugs, Finn

Hanne said...

Have tried to comment before - I hope I have luck today.
Your embroideries are lovely, and I appreciate you telling about the details, like the bread baking and the water containers, the buildings and all.

EileenKNY said...

Tonya, is this a regular assignment rotation? Like the military's change of station? Once you're in Paris, I'm sure you'll love it.
That embroidery piece has a charm that isn't found in fancywork. Folkart is from the heart and eye of the artist, not a pre-conceived pattern of how things should look.
Wow, isn't that profound???lol

bluerain said...

You simply must long to have your living space back to 'normal', I feel for you...
The embroidery is interesting, is it not? Everything we make does not have to be anything but that which we wish it to be.
Perhaps the creator of this piece mistrusts the man selling pots...or she may have felt he was compeling her to buy and this left an uncomfortable impression upon her. The 'live' waterpots are very attractive.

Karen said...

Tonya, I just love that embroidery. Nobody could pass up that knowing rooster with his dandy boots. Love the whole thing, the workmanship and the common objects, including the ancient shape of the water vessels. Monk is such a great show; I'll never stop missing Sharona, though. I just can't like the successor as well. But the episodes are still pure genius.

Linda C. said...

Love the folk art piece, and the way you share your every day living experiences with us.

I like the Monk series, too. And, I think the Natalie character is very good . . . very different from Sharona, but its a plus that she didn't try to pick up the same persona. I enjoyed the episode where Natalie and Monk are at a vineyard wine tasting . . . you can imagine Monk's reaction when they start spitting out the wines!

Martha said...

Hi Tonya, thank you for checking out the embroidered piece. I hope I can frame my pieces soon. I see the similarities in the scenes, just people going about there daily lives, your piece is very whimsical (spelling???)I hope while in Egypt a find something similar for my small collection.
Take care......