Tally is a folk art comes from the sources of ancient culture through thousands of years, connected to its tradition, habits, and ideals. It is a special form of embroidery made with silver or gold threads. The artisan makes one stitch at a time, then cuts the thread off and moves to the next stitch. This gives the design exact same shape when seen from the back or the front. The design go back even further than coptic and Islamic era.
This handicraft depends mainly on mosquito-net fabric, white or black-dyed, and flat threads of gold or silver or other antirust alloyed metal. Concerning the decorative design or patterns, it descends from the Egyptian cultural heritage. We can figure out the shape of a palm tree, a camel, a bride, stylized into various shapes, beside some complimentary abstract geometrical units.
Tally craft was mastered by women from upper Egypt. They have never dreamed of having their works exhibited in museums or worn by world movie stars.As an Egyptian folk art it was never a matter of luxury. It was a necessity and a unique way for earning living to those who struggle for life, at least to insure the minimum subsistence. Thanks to genuine creative talent and the ability to link beauty, utility, hobby and life. Our heritage has been preserved over long centuries as vivid as ever. Although conditions had led to the disappearance of this craft by the end of the first half of the twentieth century.
Patchwork ( Khayameya ) craft is a unique art, which started in the Pharaohic era and flourished after the Islamic conquest. Khayameya is a fine decorative textile, famous for its durability as it is made of thick Tiel “Kenaf” cloth. Egyptians used Khayameya in the past to create shelter tents, which protected them from the sun and sand storms while traveling in the Western desert. Khayameya artisans used to be chosen by the community sheikh of khayameya after examining the artisans' artwork, as a guarantee of quality and skill.
Khaymeya means "tent" in Arabic and here, All of the designs used in the making of a new tent must first be drawn on large sheets of brown paper. A fine needle point pricks out the outline of each pattern in tens of thousands of small holes.
The perforated sheet of paper is then laid upon each chosen piece of colored cloth - brilliant blue, blazing red or scintillating green. A black carbon dust is sprinkled lightly over the paper so that the dust percolates through the holes, leaving behind a fine stencil outline of the pattern pounced onto the cloth, ready to be cut out. This same process is repeated for the hundreds of pieces of colored cloth used to embellish a single tent.
The tent makers used the same technique in doing very attractive cushion covers, bedspreads, table runner and wall hangings .
Khayameya is all hand-made. The finest pieces usually feature Arabic typography or Islamic decorative shapes with golden thread strokes and colored fills. Nowadays it is used to decorate people's houses, wedding parties as well as funerals. Give an original oriental touch to your own home by purchasing a colorful Khayameya cloth or buy it as cushion cover, table runner or wall hangings.