Damietta

Damietta

Egypt

Damietta is part of the Nile Valley and Delta eco-zone as well as the Mediterranean Wetlands eco-zone. Damietta’s location at the intersection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile has caused it to become both an attractive summer resort in the past and an important port once again today. A modern port city with over one million residents, many of which are employed in the city’s large number of industrial factories and specifically the furniture manufacturing industry for which the city is well known.

The women of Damietta are known for their skills in Tatting which used to be passed down from one generation to another. However, it has become a dying craft in Egypt as women’s lifestyles have changed with the invasion of television and with many women joining the workforce.  In the past, women used to gather in the evenings in front of their homes and would take pleasure in making patterns. Unfortunately however, this is no longer the case as crafts have taken on decreasing importance among the female artisan community in Damietta.

Tatting is a unique crafting technique which uses a series of knots and loops to produce a fine lace-like design used to embellish the edges of shawls and other cloth items. It is said that Tatting, or “ooya as it is known in Arabic, was introduced to the women in Damietta by Turkish women and promoted later by German and Dutch nuns. Tatting is done using either a shuttle or a needle and typically used to decorate head scarves, prayer scarves, handkerchiefs, towels, table cloths and napkins. The work is sewn onto the edges of these items or on sleeves and hems.