THE BRAIDING PROCESS
A pillow, called a mousadah, is used as a support on which to create the braiding. Depending on the complexity of the pattern, a woman working on a single piece of Talli will use between eight and 50 dahary (bobbins) to hold the equivalent number of threads she is working with. Each pillow is attached to a metal stand called a kajoujah, and is placed in front of the artisan.
The Talli braids traditionally used real silver or gold thread to create the centrepiece of these intricate patterns, and they were combined with pure cotton threads of different colours that ran along the borders of the piece. The combined result would create special patterns for weddings and other ceremonial occasions. Today, the real silver and gold have been replaced by synthetic versions. Alongside silver, the most popular colours for Emirati Talli are black, green, red and white.
Sayer yaay (‘coming and going’) is named after the method used to create this hatch pattern, whereby a single silver thread is passed back and forth.
Bu-khostain or bu-fatlteen (‘double strand’) is a reference to the technique used to weave this pattern, which creates a wide silver band running down the centre of the textile. Only two bobbins of synthetic silver thread are used to make the pattern.
Bu-khosa or bu-fatlah uses a single dahary to create a silver band half the width of bu-khostain, running down the centre of the textile.
Several bands of Talli textile can be sewn next to each other on cuffs, hems or other borders to create striking designs.