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I am going to Morocco in March, primarily to get inspiration and buy textiles for my line of handbags. Can any of you provide tips or suggestions on places to visit?
I'm gong for weeks and very flexible on my itinerary still. I'm interested in meeting craftspeople and seeing how they work but also wandering the souks in the cities. Is Marakkech a good place to get an overview of what is available throughout the country - or are there places off the beaten track that have very unique finds?
Also, has anyone seen anything like this in Morocco? I found it online and know it is North African but not sure on its exact origins - though it doesn't really resemble any other Moroccan textiles I have seen. Marrakech does act as the major clearing house of handicrafts, including fabrics, for Morocco in general.
There are small local producers but many examples come from Berber cooperatives throughout the Atlas ranges of mountains. There are are many specialities including sabra, "vegetable silk", and the dyers' quarter which you may find interesting.
Certainly Marrakech is the city to start your search as the souks are the largest in Morocco but you will soon discover the myriad of regional differences and might wish to research these too. Certainly many producers of different textiles can be well off "the beaten track"! Kilims, traditional wallhangings, are popular for bag making as are felt fabrics and even leather hides, often ornamented.
The pinterest photos show a kind of generic textile common to the Maghreb as the previous contributor mentioned. I recently read an article which mentioned the huge boom in large-scale suppliers in the outlying areas of Marrakesh, i.
You would need to have a contact who could help you visit those factories. Certainly buying textiles in the Marrakesh souk would give a great lesson in bargaining. I believe the prices -for anything- are highest in Marrakesh. We bought "foutas" in Tetouan for one-tenth of the final price in Marrakesh.
Of course, foutas mostly come from Tetouan. The page in pinterest to which you referred has a range of different sorts of textiles on it, many of which can be found in Morocco. The photograph containing the door, certainly looks as if it could have been taken in Marrakech, as both the style of door and the colour it is painted are quite common in the Medina.
Some of the design work is clearly Berber and Berbers live in large areas of North Africa, which are now politically recognised as different countries - Morocco, Algeria and Libya, for example.
Marrakech is definitely a good place to start your search; what many people don't realise, however, is that the souks are not just a retail environment, there are wholesalers too, but also suppliers of fantastic haberdashery goods together with hundreds of artisan workers producing goods on site.
In the leather industry, for example, every part of the production of leather goods is undertaken in different areas of the souk, with the skins having been treated at the tannery, which is in a different part of the Medina. There are also still hand loom weavers in their own workshops - and then there are the foudouks, which are lovely old structures where formerly caravanserai would unload and which are now mostly used as workshops, with groups of craftsmen offering similar skills sharing the space.
Outside of the Medina there are, as has been mentioned, wholesale outlet areas. These tend to be on the very outskirts of the city where land is cheap, as lots of warehouse space is required - so not in Gueliz, which is a very expensive area, but on the road out towards the 'new town' area of Tamansourt. The problem is that none of these areas are signposted in any sense of the word and I am not sure that you will find what you are looking for in those areas, simply because they are organised to satisfy the needs of very large buyers, such as hotel chains, spas and fashion houses.
It is also important to mention that other ancient cities such as Fez have their own design and artisan traditions and that the goods they produce will not necessarily be found outside the local area.
I would suggest that you begin your search by visiting the Museum of Marrakech and then start wandering the souks and the streets in that area of the Medina. I am sure you will find it creatively stimulating, mind bogglingly confusing and overwhelming in terms of the variety of products available!
By the way, I hope you can speak either Arabic or good French? You cannot expect most artisans to speak any significant amount of English. In Berber areas, most of the work is undertaken by women and you will need a Berber translator in order to communicate effectively, or work through Berber co-operatives.
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Send as an e-mail. Print current page. Print whole topic. Thank you! Edited by: journey View last reply. I've seen very similar in Algeria - specifically around Setif region which is east of Algers. Hope you find something suitable in Morocco Kira. Copy and paste the url below to share the link. Permalink to this post.
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