QF graduate turns Palestinian embroidery into melodies

A Qatar Foundation (QF) graduate used various embroidery designs from different regions of Palestine, each with their own history and meaning, to create unique musical notes through her project, titled “The Sound of Thread.” .

According to an article on the QF website, Naima al-Majdobah turns the visual art of sewing into musical notes.
Still yearning for her roots, al-Majdobah, a senior student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) – a QF partner, has embarked on an honors thesis project that empowers people to hear the art of Palestinian embroidery as we see it.
“I wanted to use my passion for my country to create something special for my honors project. I wanted to tell the world about the beauty of Palestine, its rich history and its culture which is not emphasized enough front in the media. When people hear about Palestine, they immediately think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and thoughts turn to reporting on the war and the struggle. What is often lost in this narrative is the unique craftsmanship, aesthetic beauty and deep traditions that create the culture of Palestine,” al-Majdobah said.
Al-Majdobah noted that when she joined a class called Sonic Explorations, to study sound composition and how to put it together, along with her passion for traditional Palestinian thobes, she decided to delve into the history of embroidery. Palestinian. Her father helped me connect with many women from Palestine and Jordan and interview them about each model’s background and what they reflect culturally.
“Then I developed a design library, composed by redrawing the embroidery stitch by stitch in the Ableton Live app that I discovered during my course. The app turns visual patterns into audio files that loop repeatedly with slight changes to the instrument mix using automated cycles. Due to their unique shapes, each pattern could be distinguished from the others by subtle differences, giving it its unique melody and feel,” she explained.

Al-Majdobah also wrote a book under the same name of her project where she collected all the information she gathered from the books she read and the interviews she conducted with women who transmit the art of embroidery through the generations, and she linked each design to her hometown. in Palestine explaining their historical and cultural origins.
“With everything colonized and appropriated today, through my project, I aspire and seek to preserve Palestinian culture. I also want to educate our generation. This craft was passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter, and because of technology and social media, people don’t like to learn like they used to. So, I hope this project can help keep it alive,” she said.
Al-Majdobah expanded his project after his honors. She learned the trade herself and hopes to pass it on to her children and grandchildren. She is currently translating the book which she hopes will become a reference on Palestinian embroidery.
“I wanted to create something tangible that people can keep and be able to relate to sound, because the pattern patches are very beautiful when you look at them, but there’s a sound behind them that no one knows about. And I believe that the combination of sound and sight creates an interesting experience that contains thousands of untold stories about the history of Palestine,” she added.