Weaving Colours Festival: An Initiative by the Ministry of Culture

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Yesterday evening we had the pleasure of witnessing all the beautiful (and might we add overdressed) traditional craft that our little island has to offer at the Weaving Colours Festival at the National Museum with our special guest from Kuwait, Confashions.

In
an initiative to promote Bahraini heritage and talent, the Ministry of Culture
offers local traditional craft workers, artisans,
entrepreneurs and contemporary artists to showcase their products and
activities during the annual festival.  It also
offers musicians and folk artists the opportunity to revive and perform popular
music and folk songs! 

We were completely in awe of the Bahraini women who weaved gold threads, process known as kurar, directly into fabric, creating the traditional Bahraini thob, still worn by many women in Bahrain. The crafty ladies explained that it takes four women to weave the gold into the desired fabric. Three women hold on to different parts of the thread while one women sewed it on to the fabric.

Around the corner from the crafty ladies were the crafty men, weaving baskets and fabrics.
Contemporary Bahraini artisans such as Green Bar were also included at the Festival. A special “wardrobe scent” collaboration was formed between the Ministry of Culture and Green Bar in celebration of the Weaving Colours Festival. Everything is made in Bahrain, the sketch on the box is hand drawn by Green Bar founder, Sheikha Reem Al Khalifa, the almond shaped wardrobe scent is hand made in Aali by pottery artisans and infused by Green Bar with 100% organic essential oils such as sandalwood, lavender and bergamont.
Much was also to be discovered inside the museum! A beautiful display of traditional Bahrani thobs and Bishts were generously provided by the ruling family for the display of traditional (and VERY overdressed) garments.
Our favorite type of Bahraini thob boasts the naqda technique.  Naqda is a word used in the past to refer to the weight of silver.
Previously in the region women’s dresses were designed using real silver
threads which were bought by the gram and are sewn using a special type
of needle. These dresses were referred to as designed using “naqda” or
silver threads.

Another impressive and beautiful piece on display was the late Emir, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa’s bisht made with kurar embroidery which produces beautiful ribbons of gold zeri, silver zeri and briesam that are made
by hand and used to decorate clothing. 
It  is the result of a group effort  in which the width of the final product depends on the number of women involved in the process. The
Qataba sits opposite her partners (as in the photo above),  who assume the role of the Doakhil, holding and weaving  several strands at a time while the Qataba guides the process  and attaches the ribbon as it  forms directly onto garments.  While the popular korar zeri  makes an appearance in many  different styles of thoub, the breisam version is reserved exclusively for
men’s clothing. 
 

The festival runs until April 9, 2014 at the National Museum. If you cannot make it, we strongly suggest you download the beautifully done PDF file.

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