I have recently been working with one of the AlSadu Master Weavers, Muteira, on a contemporary Sadu textile commission.
I was approached about designing a new piece of Sadu textile, as a gift from the Kuwait Naval Force to the Defence Academy in London,UK.
Below are some images of the preliminary drawings I created, and the first sample textile woven by Muteira, including: traditional patterns & symbols such as the camel and coffee pots; contemporary symbols of modern Kuwait such as the Kuwait Towers; and new motifs such as the Union Jack flag and the Defence Academy logo.
Having hand spun and dyed the yarn so beautifully, Muteira skillfully wove the first sample for the new Sadu. Although the simple floor loom and basic weave structure appear primitive, the pick weaving is complex and requires great skill, concentration and knowledge to create the black and white patterned ‘shajarah’ section; leaned by many years of observation and practice.
Working with Muteira has taught me so much. Our perception of the transfer of information from the drawn line to the woven textile is quite different. Proportions, scale and perspective is also different, and when I asked Muteira why she had woven the Defence Academy symbol upside-down, she commented that she was concerned with the detail at the top of the motif, so she started with the most difficult section, which led her to weave it upside-down.
Credits: Photographs taken by Keireine, with kind permission from Muteira and Sadu House.