Sunday, February 8, 2015

Egyptian Tent Makers

The Egyptian Tent Makers are from a family that has decorated tents in the middle east for generations.  Around the Mediterranean Sea almost every surface is intensely decorated with intricate designs and many colors.  The tent makers carried this tradition to fabric and they made tents that were exquisite works of art.  Today they use the same techniques to make decorative wall hangings and they are amazing.  See their website for more information about them.

The base fabric they use is heavy and thick, like for tents.  I am sure the book they are selling gives more specific information, but I passed up the opportunity to buy it so I really cannot talk about materials and techniques in detail.  Men are the artists and do all the sewing, and two of them were at the Albuquerque show working on hangings.  There were many completed examples for show and sale.

Each man had a grocery bag full of pieces of fabric.  He cut a shape or a strip with huge, tailors' scissors as he was ready to sew.  No patterns.  The only references I noted were some minimal markings on the background fabric, which somehow told him what to put where.  Using a large needle the cut pieces were appliquéd with functional stitches that were rather large compared to what we are used to seeing in our traditional quilting appliqué.  The designs are amazingly intricate, beautiful, and each one is different.  All are done by hand.

I hope you can see the stitching on this closeup
Some more examples to drool over:

It was a wonderful quilt show with lots of interesting and beautiful things to see.


  1. I'm always enchanted by the Egytian Tentmakers. Thanks for putting together this fun exploration of some of their works.

  2. I've seen these at a few of the AQS shows and have enjoyed the exhibit each time. It was also really fun to watch one of the tentmakers sew at the AQS Paducah show the last two years!

  3. Some beautiful eyecandy. Lovely.

  4. Gorgeous! Wish I could have seen these. I'd love to know the name of the book. Was it an art book... or a technique book?

  5. Teresa, I don't know what is in the book. I knew I wasn't going to buy it because I have too many books already and there was such a crowd around the table that I didn't even look at it. There are several books on the Internet. Look up "tentmakers book" and you can see what is out there.