Bedouin Weaving: Traditional Saudi Crafts for Kids
Today I am sharing an easy craft idea for kids that is inspired by the traditional Saudi Arabian art of weaving fabric or Bedouin Weaving, as it is called. My son and I have been learning about this beautiful cloth making process and stories surrounding it. Today, we share a craft that kids can easily make to learn more about what Sadu looks like.
Living as expats in Saudi Arabia, we have always been interested in learning more about the culture that we are living in. We have been looking for traditional Saudi Arabian arts and crafts. Earlier this year we went on a vacation to the Saudi countryside. While touring one of the villages, we found an antique shop that got us interested in learning more about Bedouin Weaving.
Sadu is a traditional heavy cloth that is woven traditionally by the Beduins here. This type of cloth is made in not just Saudi Arabia but also in the countries neighboring it. It is used in Arabian decorations , in making bags and accessories, low sofa style seats called Majlis, camel seats and even curtains! In olden times, the women folk would make smaller items for decorations much like how women these days like to crochet or knit handmade items. Larger items were made by the nomadic bedouins living on the outskirts of the city. The bedouins would make an income selling these. In fact even today, some homes in the villages, make an income this way.
The Sadu cloth is usually red or black with geometric patterns. It looks simple to make but don’t be fooled… it is after all the art of weaving cloth! Intricate design, hours of workmanship and twisting of the yarn… it takes days to complete a project if not months to put it all together. The artists have been taught these and each one has her own style. They say that the design too has meaning. It is like poetry and an experienced weaver can actually read the design.
Sadu design is something that has become synonymous with the word Arab here because you see these everywhere there is a need for an Arabian touch of décor. We have seen that in Ramadan, the locals like to decorate their home with this fabric to give their homes or shops a festive Arabian touch! Hotels and restaurants decorate for occasion using this fabric too.
We saw Bedouin items being sold at an antique shop in one of the villages we had been visiting.
Here are a couple of things worth noting:
- The patterns are usually geometric but more experienced weavers will make floral prints too
- The colors of this cloth are always predominantly red and black
- They are simple replicating patterns and designs
- The cloth is heavy due to the plying of the yarn.
- They are used in tents, dividers in tents, decorations like cushions and curtains, purses, bags, belts, camel riding accessories for comfort and woven into the Jalabiyya (long flowing dress) worn by ladies. These are used at weddings and other festive occasions too.
Of course ,it is nearly impossible for us to try our hand at making a Sadu mats ourselves with yarn so we put our knowledge and craftiness together on paper to make this colorful mat!
You can learn more about what Sadu is in this free PDF booklet online, Beduins Weaving, made available by the Saudi Arabian Airlines Magazine Ahlan wa Sahlan. A researcher in Kuwait has a whole site dedicated to the Sadu weaving art.
Beduin Weaving Inspired Kids Craft
What you need:
- Card Red/Black
- Colored paper
- Glue stick
How to proceed:
- Let you child have some cutting practice by cutting straight lines, zigzag lines or triangles out of the different colored craft paper.
- Cut out a rectangular piece of card either in red or black color.
- Arrange the craft paper from step one on to the card.
- Outline the arranged craft paper in contrast color using crayons.
- Fill in the lines and plain area with patterns.
- Color and decorate as you like.
This post is part of a month long blog hop to celebrate International Crafts month. Every day from 1st of March till the 30th bloggers will be sharing crafts from around the world to help you teach your children about crafts of the world. Do join us and visit the other participants. Click the picture below to go to the Events page.