Marrakesh Express

Women Weavers OnLine

Ben Smim





This is Rashida Heydar, who made the pillow below. She lives near the school where we did the photographs, and her husband is a farmer; they have one child who is one and a half. She had to run home quickly because her bread was rising (rural women make bread at least once a day) and she had no older child to put it in the over for her. She made the pillow about four years ago, and since then has made rugs for herself, not to sell. If she sells this pillow she'll buy wool to make more pillows or rugs.







Pillow 3.12973 is in blue with two large diamonds and smaller diamonds inside them, again accented in dark red/maroon and sequins. You can see a close-up here. The back is plain blue, and the price is $62.






Piece 3.12981 is a large older flatweave in subdued colors. The plain stripes are in burnt orange, navy blue and a rich brown-red. There are complex designs in the white stripes that have accents in many colors, but they are small so the rug still looks subdued. You can see them better by clicking on the photo, and see the overall layout of the rug by clicking here. The rug was made by the sister of the mother in the household we visited, that of Aicha and Fatima or Hajja Azougar. They said their mother was 90 or 100 now, but when I was briefly introduced I didn't think she looked that old. You can see how it's difficult to date rugs. They did not know where the weaver was born, but she made the rug in the nearby town of Azrou. This is a large piece, measuring 5'9" x 12'7", and it costs $515.







Pillow 3.12983 is actually one of a set of three in this design. They were made by Zineb, the daughter of Fatima's husband by a previous marriage. She is now about 40, divorced, and has no children. There is an overall lattice in diamonds, with colored centers in red, green and yellow, and clusters of sequins. You can see the colors better in this detail. The sizes vary a bit, so pillow A is about 16" x 18", pillow B is about 17" x 18" and pillow C is about 16" x 17.5". Each costs $62.






This is Itto Ouamar. She lives with her husband, who is the watchman for a closed hospital, in a little house that overlooks the Ben Smim valley. She has four sons and a daughter, and all seem to be doing well. One son drives a taxi, one is a nurse [they are usually males in Morocco], another is a teacher and the last one is still in school. Her daughter is married, and both she and her mother weave items for sale. Itto proudly showed me her national card, on which it said "Profession: Weaver." She grew up in Khenifra, a well-known weaving area about 100 kilometers south of Ben Smim, so you might see traces of their style in her pieces. If you click here, you can see Habiba helping Itto get ready for her photo: like women everywhere, she wants to look her best. Especially if you click the photo on the left, you will see blue shadows on Itto's chin and between her eyes. These are tatoos, now faded, but used like beauty marks in the past. Young women no longer have them done.




Piece 3.12985 has a bold design with an unusual combination of white design bands, design squares and squares in plain stripes. You can see these all better by clicking on the photo. The plain stripes are in a dark red, bright blue and rich forest green. There are color accents in the white in brighter colors like pink, green, yellow and orange, but they do not stand out. You can see this on the close-up. On it, also notice how some of the design squares are "transparent" in that you can see the colored stripes under them. Some of the striped squares do not lie totally flat on the floor, but a good rug pad should help with that. The size is about 5' x 9'2" and the price is $490.





Piece 3.12987 has the traditional plain stripes alternating with design bands. Here the plain stripes are in a true red with a nice sheen to the wool, and royal blue, separated by rows of arrowheads, which are characteristic of the Azrou area. The design bands have accents in red, blue and kelly green, which you can see better by clicking on the photo. To see the entire piece, click here. Notice the symmetry of the design bands, with similar ones on each side of the central band. This flatweave measures 5' x 12' and costs $500.






Pillow 3.12992 is in an unusual style. It is made like the pile rugs in the Khenifra area where Itto was raised, with the flatweave on the face and the pile inside. The colors are a rich red, yellow and bright green, with much of the yarn having a nice sheen. You can see details on the close-up. The back is plain red. The size is about 17" x 19.5" and the price is $64.





Pillow 3.12994 is also a pillow with pile on the inside. It and the pillow above are variations on a theme, using the same colors and borders, but different centeral designs. As you can see on the upper right side of this photo, there is some extra red showing from the plain red back. However, once stuffed, this will not show much or at all. You can see the detail here. The measurements are about 15.5" x 16.5" and it costs $64.






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