Syrian woman fights to preserve traditional art of silk-dyeing

STORY: This 80-year-old is fighting to preserve the art of silk-dyeing

Location: Damascus, Syria

The process involves tying knots in raw silk fabric

then dyeing it various colors to create patterns

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) (Shamsa Mohamed Bilal, Traditional silk crafter)

(My goal is to revive this craft. This work can enable the poor to survive and the rich to thrive even more.”

For centuries, brides across Syria used to receive a robe

intricately designed using this method

Bilal took part in a 10-day workshop to teach younger people the craft

to ensure that the art form lives on

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) (Afaf Nabwani, Artist)

“The hajja (elderly lady, referring to Bilal) is the only one left in Syria who knows this handcraft. So we wanted to quickly organize these workshops because she is now in her eighties, and we don’t want the craft to die with the hajja, may God grant her a long life. It was important to invite trainees, and I was happy to see the amount of interested in taking this up.”

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