Women’s Craft Centre: Abu Dhabi
Women's Craft Center is a government run handicrafts center situated off the Airport Road.
U.A.E. Women's Association carries out weaving, embroidery, sewing, basketry and other methods of handicrafts, and is a good place to see the skills of the local women on display. The handicraft items are on display and are for sale.
If you are interested in buying genuine traditional handicrafts, the Women's Craft Center is the right place. One can have a view of the ladies actually working on their craft items sitting in groups and working together displaying their skill and talents. The tourists can get glimpses of saddu, textile weaving, embroidering, basket weaving, palm tree frond weaving and tailoring as well. Camel bags, ethnic costumes and other items are all produced here. Certain precautions have to be remembered when visiting the Women's Craft Center, Abu Dhabi as it is an Islamic state and it is advisable to ask for permission before proceeding to take photographs and more importantly your camera should focus on the craft rather than the women who are doing it. Always remember to remove your footwear before entering the room.
Traditional handicrafts and arts in the emirate of Abu Dhabi are largely dominated by women, who have passed on their skills in embroidery and weaving from one generation to the next. Gold, silver and brightly coloured strings are woven on a wooden block to produce the teli, elaborate and colourful embroidery that adorns the collars and sleeves of women’s robes. Women wear the embroidered robes on special occasions and feasts, while young girls wear the teli-embroidered robes at a special ceremony that marks their memorization of the Holy Quran. The sado, meanwhile, is another popular traditional handicraft. Women weave cotton and wool threads into elaborately designed patterns, which are used to make the colourful tents used by Bedouins in the desert.
The women of Abu Dhabi are also adept at weaving baskets from palm fronds, or khous. These are commonly used to store household staples. Other traditional handicrafts include shawls, pottery, rugs and other woven fabrics. The Women’s Crafts Centre on Maktoum Street near the Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club is run by the Abu Dhabi Women's Association, and showcases many of the emirate’s traditional handicrafts, providing Emirati women with a platform to display and sell their products. Visitors can also watch demonstrations of how the handicrafts are produced.
The Women's Craft Center, Abu Dhabi not only provides employment to women but also promotes and revives the traditional handicrafts of the Emirates. The Women's Craft Center, Abu Dhabi is a must visit place if you are interested in buying ethnic and traditional souvenirs to gift your friends and relatives back home.
Go to the very end of Karama St heading away from the Corniche - at the end there is a Womens Union building and a parking lot on the right. You can park in the little lot even though it doesn't look like you should. Go to the gates and a security guard appear to find out your business - tell him you want to visit the Womens Handicraft Center then he will get a little ticket book out and charge you 5AED each. There are a few building you can enter, and none are very clearly marked, however, the center is located behind the large union building.
The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, meanwhile, has set up an outlet for traditional Emirati handicrafts at the capital’s Cultural Foundation. The outlet, located at the Delma corner, bears the slogan, “100 percent Emirati, 100 percent handmade”, and is aimed at preserving and promoting traditional handicrafts in the emirate.
Visitors to the Cultural Foundation will be able to watch women engage in this traditional craft at the outlet, as well as get a taste of Emirati cuisine and coffee. Female visitors can also get a henna tattoo, another traditional Emirati art. Proceeds from the sale of Emirati traditional crafts are rolled back into the project, thus allowing visitors to contribute directly to the preservation of the emirate’s folk art and handicrafts.