How to Make It

Irthi x Nada Debs: The Makers

Design Miami

A behind-the-scenes video offers a glimpse into the making of the Zenobia collection

Launched in 2018, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council aims to support female artisans across the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia through collaborations with international designers and artists that recontextualize and preserve traditional craft heritage.

One of Irthi’s most recent projects, the Zenobia collection, was made in cooperation with acclaimed Lebanese designer Nada Debs and craftswomen from the UAE. Debs, who describes her larger approach as simultaneously “handmade and heart made,” is known for work that spotlights craftsmanship and cross-cultural values. Zenobia weaves together the worlds of Emirati Talli (a centuries-old craft of intricate, handwoven braiding) and Lebanese marquetry—resulting in a gorgeous, contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional vases and vessels carried by Bedouin tribes. Each piece is meticulously handcrafted, and can take up to two months to complete.

The Zenobia collection by Nada Debs x Irthi combines Emirati Talli and Lebanese Marquetry, weaving traditional talli right into the wood. Photo © Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council

In the short video below, Debs and four expert craftswomen from Dibba Al Hisn—Fatma Ahmed Ali, Fatima Ahmed Mahmoud, Shaikha Sarhan Muhammad, and Maryam Ahmed Abdullah Al Yahami—speak about their work.

Click here to shop the Zenobia collection.