Wandering Wednesday: Fabric Traditions from Egypt and Tunisia

Wandering Wednesdays, Textiles of Tunisia and EgyptThe news of the world has been highly focused on the unrest in many places lately, Egypt and Tunisia among them. While watching the politics and economics shake out, I got to thinking about the incredible textile tradition from this region.

Wandering Wednesdays Jenny Bowker Postcards From Cairo

Jenny Bowker shares brilliant regional photos and examples of her quilts on her blog and website.

That led me to go back to one of my favorite quilt and fabric blog sites—Jenny Bowker’s Postcards From Cairo. While she does not update her blog often, it is well worth a visit, as it is richly loaded with marvelous photos of textiles from her years living in the area. From there, I hop over to her website and marvel at her creations, many heavily influenced by her experiences in North Africa.

Jenny Bowker is a master quilter, author, and teacher from Australia who followed her diplomat husband when he was stationed in North Africa and the Middle East. With her artist’s eye, she has captured the textiles, architecture, tile work, and people of these areas, often translating them into fabulous quilts. Browse her gallery, full of unique quilts sure to evoke a desire to travel in anyone! Her detail is so intricate, just looking at photos of the quilts makes me want to reach out and touch the faces and places she portrays.  I hope you will take a few minutes to visit her sites, and soak in her interpretation of this textile heritage. Personally, I dream of taking her textile tour, but suspect that they are on hold for a while.

Wandering Wednesdays R John Howe Textiles of Tunisia

The Bechhoefer's share their exploration of Tunisian textiles through words and photos of rugs, tents, and clothing , shown on R. John Howe's website.

And how could one not be inspired by the rich textile history of these areas?  Take a scroll through the photos on R. John Howe’s Textiles and Text lectures given by William and Sondra Bechhoefer. They share their photos and insights on Tunisian rugs, tents, shawls, and more.  I am struck by how the creation of fabrics and other textiles is an intrinsic part of the history and even the way of life  in the country.  Wool, cotton, linens and more, touching every aspect of life.

It is easy to see numerous ideas for quilts in these pieces!  From the intricate geometry of tiles and rugs, to the vivid colors of traditional clothing, there is an abundance of inspiration for all fabric lovers.

As you visit these sites, and explore others, I encourage you to leave comments and let them know how you enjoy the creativity that they share so freely with the rest of us!


I hope you enjoy my random Wandering Wednesday visits to interesting quilters and inspiring sites. Search for Wandering Wednesday to find past posts.


©2011, The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com.

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About thecuriousquilter

Quilter, sewer, writer, gardener, mother, sister, friend, always learning, always curious.
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6 Responses to Wandering Wednesday: Fabric Traditions from Egypt and Tunisia

  1. Donna says:

    Wow, Jenny Bowkers quilt are awesome! Thanks for sending me there.

  2. William Bechhoefer says:

    Thanks for the reference to the Tunisian textile presentation on John Howe’s web site. Please also note that the presentation was given by my wife, Sondra and me at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. We are grateful to John for his great effort in putting it on his web site, but your picture caption is misleading in that we did the “exploration.”

  3. Jenny Bowker’s quilts are really impressive, and I wouldn’t mind going on one of her textiles tours one day either.
    The other website is awesome too, – a treasure throve of geometric patterns. It was interesting to see that many of the woven patterns are similar to the patterns of Norwegian woven coverlets, and the last ones at the bottom reminded me of Hardanger embroidery when seen from a distance.
    Thank you for showing us 🙂

  4. Martin says:

    Now there you go again, proving that you have a wild curiousity and a brain to go with it! Who finds things to share like the great slides of Tunisian textiles except YOU! Both sites were really cool.

    Jenny Bowker’s work is so interesting, and varied. I need to look for her books.

    Thanks for sharing this pair.

  5. Pingback: Egypt and Tunesia | roger henke's fancies

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