“Human freedom never has as much meaning and value as when it allows the creative power
of the child to come into action. All children are endowed with a creative power
which includes an astonishing variety of potentialities.
This power is necessary for the child to build up his own existence.”
In this statement, the late Ramses Wissa Wassef eloquently sums up what was for him and still is today the heart of this unique artistic weaving experiment. The Art Centre at Harrania, has for the past fifty years been the setting of this remarkable undertaking. Ramses Wissa Wassef, architect, potter, weaver and designer, set up a tapestry workshop to be used by the local village children. With neither formal education nor artistic training, the children were introduced to the craft and guided from then on in a rather extraordinary way by three rules.
1- “No cartoons or drawings.” All the weaving had to be done without the aid of any sketch or design. Even the most complicated tapestries, they improvised on the loom and arose from every-day-life impressions.
2- “No external aesthetic Influences.” Ramses took great care not to provide the weavers with works of art to imitate. It was his contention that, “adopting someone else’s feelings and attitudes,
or yielding to his influences means a loss of contact with one’s own emotions.
3 - “No criticisms or interference from adults.” adult criticism considered as a crippling intrusion on a child’s imagination, Young weavers were able to develop their confidence and personality in the work, depending solely on their own imaginations.