One of the nicest people you could meet and so generous with his time and knowledge. I don't think it would be much of an exageration to say he really knows and cares a lot about Syria's textile heritage.
Three gentleman who are working together to restart handloom brocade in Damascus- all the very fine work around at the moment is machine produced. Left and right is MrAyoubi [not related except by a common family background in weaving] and in the centre sits a young man who represents the future, he has set his life's work in the direction of handloom, is learning the tradition and will then teach in our parts.
The father of this Mr Ayoubi hand-wove this lovely gold fabric as a gift from Syria to Queen Elizabeth- there she is in the dress! Some of the looms they are using in the new enterprise have been used in his family for the last 250 years.
The threads are silk and gold thread [14 carat gold wrapped onto a thread] the fabric is breath taking in its richness.
Mr Ahmed one of the few remaining Syrians producing felt rugs.
The family of Mahamed, the last family producing silk, about 150 kg per year in an area that 20 years ago produced 10,000kg per year.
A really warm and entusiastic family, whose big teenage boys are determined to keep up the family heritage.
Mr Mohamed gave me a few as souveniers and I popped them in my jewellery box.
Next day as i was getting dressed there was this horrible smell of dirty socks, I accused Praveen of being a smelly old man, which he really didn't appreciate....it was not until the next morning when I went to get my earrings that I realised the smell was from the cocoons! Needless to say I apologized to Praveen, he already thinks I am a little crazy and it seems I sometimes confirm that theory but when I had explained everything he did agree the cocoons do smell like sweaty nylon socks -yuk!! yet when washed and unravelled become so beautiful as silk.
Ain't life like that?