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A Stitch in Time: Kissweh’s Pillows Take Three Weeks to Embroider

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A Stitch in Time: Kissweh’s Pillows Take Three Weeks to Embroider

February 4, 2019

Kissweh’s pillows are expensive—they start at $320—but consider this: Each intricately patterned, hand-embroidered pillow takes an average of three weeks to complete. “These pillows are contemporary heirlooms,” founder Claudia Martinez Mansell tells us. We couldn’t agree more.

Inspired by the tradition of needlework in Palestine, Claudia started Kissweh in 2017 with two goals in mind: spotlighting its artistry and giving Palestinian women living in the refugee camps of Lebanon “the opportunity to earn a fair living for their artisan skills,” she says. (Claudia spent 10-plus years doing humanitarian work with the United Nations, much of it in Lebanon’s refugee camps.) A percentage of Kissweh’s revenues go toward NGOs that seek to improve living conditions in these camps.

Historically, Palestinian women would embroider their belongings when preparing their trousseau. From the website: “The traditional folk motifs were passed down from generation to generation and were associated with the villages and regions they came from, and reflected the dreams and aspirations of the women who embroidered them.” And now, thanks to Kissweh, these motifs have made the journey from the Middle East all the way to Los Angeles.

N.B.: Featured image courtesy of Kneeland Co.

Each pillow is filled with down feathers; the Holy Mount pillow is $380.
Above: Each pillow is filled with down feathers; the Holy Mount pillow is $380.
The Rana Pillow has a gray Italian linen back; $350.
Above: The Rana Pillow has a gray Italian linen back; $350.
The Kissweh Classic Pillow has a navy blue Belgian linen back; 350.
Above: The Kissweh Classic Pillow has a navy blue Belgian linen back; 350.
The Ensaf Pillow features a design inspired by a traditional pattern embroidered onto the edges of a dress; $350.
Above: The Ensaf Pillow features a design inspired by a traditional pattern embroidered onto the edges of a dress; $350.
 No pattern is printed on the canvas; the craftswomen either consult images of the design or embroider from memory.
Above: No pattern is printed on the canvas; the craftswomen either consult images of the design or embroider from memory.

More textiles inspiration just ahead:

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