Never in a hundred years would I have imagined that the woman I was posing under her bridal dress would be always next to me in achieving my dreams, Aida, my eldest cousin.
I had grown up with the image of her always as an independent lady with a piece of fabric, leading the most renowned artisanal workshop in Mokhtara, Mount Lebanon for twenty years and she is now a great essence in our atelier being a very talented seamstress and the master of crochet.
Her journey has been an inspiration for me to keep striving towards my goal as I have been fascinated by her not just for being an independent woman who has been able to make her own rules and live life on her terms within her own culture, but also as an artist to her very fingerprints.
She just uses all of what she has between her hands from threads, needles, her glasses, and her wide vision and creates endless pieces of crochet, sees them progress, feels them come to life, and turn them into the main source of her living.
Aida is a lady with determination, despite all the obstacles she has gone through in her life, Aida has always been determined ‘to be part of modernity’ by devotedly – even ferociously – protecting everything she loved. After being a real inspiration for me as a young child, I feel grateful to have her presence on the team, not just she was one of those who opened my eyes to the craft, but she pulled me to be part of it.
Besides all her collective master skills, Aida is our guest’s favorite, none of them has passed by our atelier without having a coffee reading with her. And just like her fire and her own presence in the atelier, we know Aida having a good day when she wears her favorite color “rouge”. I can understand why my cousin is so fascinated with that color, it's the color of her soul, the power within her mind, and the love within her heart.
This is the story of one of the women at Salim Azzam like so many others who are not just there as talented artisans, but also as sources of hope and dreams. With their presence, I feel the magic, the beauty in our atelier that is echoed in the strong link between me and every single lady on the team.
Written by Muhammad Aoun.
Documented and photographed by Aline Deschamps.