Yemeni Bedouin headpiece




Yemeni Bedouin necklace




Yemeni Bedouin belt


All Three Pieces

When browsing for pieces of rust for making rust-dyed fabric, I ended up in a bric-a-brac shop on Carpet Street or Shawarma Street, as it is known by locals. There are many shops selling the most wonderful carpets, and there are also some shops claiming to have antiques from the region. I found one  that had lots of ‘stuff’ to potter through, and the shopkeeper was very interested in what I was wanting to do with the bits and bobs. The main focus though for him was the traditional Yemeni jewellery that he had displayed on almost every surface and spare spot on the wall. I was in my element.

I ended up with 3 pieces, (also my bells, coasters, beads, dagger holster etc….) which are what I would like to work on for the theme book. To start, I am looking at all three, but I think I will focus on one only, or maybe just the motifs and shapes that interest me from the pieces. All are women’s jewelry – a necklace, a belt and a headpiece.  The shopkeeper said they are antique.  I am not sure about that but they are vintage, not modern. The design is from silver, with some silver part there, but also just a base metal. Some beads, but some coloured glass and even plastic possibly on the necklace. My favourite piece at the moment to touch and look at is the headpiece.  I find it fascinating.

Right now I am upset because I can not find the sketches I made on the headpiece!  I did pen and inkpen studies… whole piece and small section.   So, because I want to send off my other work, I am hoping that I can just scour the house and find them sometime, or start again. In the meantime, I am just adding in photographs of the pieces.

I don’t know exactly what I would have as an end product. I think this will grow from my sketches. I love the detail of the headpiece, but I may like to just take some of the shapes and images and combine them. Maybe for a journal cover, or a bag? Or maybe printed onto organza to make a shawl or scarf. Mmm I am not sure yet, I think it will develop.

I have started to do some research on the background to these items, the history and culture. For example,they are bridal items to show wealth (when made from silver) and are melted down when the woman dies. The colours represent good health, fertility etc. The bells ward off evil spirits.  The heritage is Yemeni Bedouin.  Lots of fascinating things to learn.

I hope this idea is ok. I will do a few more pieces of research on the meanings of the symbols etc, alongside sketching and will see how to focus down.