Marrakesh Express

Women Weavers OnLine

Ben Smim

Remember: All prices include insured airmail shipment to the U.S.


These are additional pieces from Ben Smim, photographed in the spring of 2003. As women began to hear about their friends selling items on the Internet at good prices, many more asked to be included.




There have been good rains in Morocco in the winter of 2003 for the first time in several years. Here you see the village of Ben Smim this spring, from across the valley as we were walking to Habiba's house. The fields contain fruit trees and wheat, among other things. You can see more clearly by clicking on the photo.






This is Habiba approaching her home, located near the land her family farms. When you think about Habiba, a universtity graduate who uses her cell phone and the Internet in town to check on your rug orders, and lives in a rural setting that electricity has not yet reached [she's thinking about buying a solar panel, or a motorbike to get into town more quickly], you can better understand how Morocco is truly a land of contrasts.






This is one of the new weavers who wants to be on this site. Her name is Khadija Jouidi, and she lives not too far from Ben Smim. She and her husband are both shepherds, and they have eight children, four boys and four girls. The oldest is a boy of 22, and the youngest are a boy and a girl who are twins, now 10 years old. None of the children have gone to school: for many, the school was too far from where the sheep were grazing. A few were sent but disliked it and ran away and came back home. You may notice some markings on her face, which you can see more clearly by clicking on the photo. They are tatoos, a beauty marking used by many Berber women in the older generations. If Khadija earns money by selling her rug, she plans to make more textiles. Right now she says they will be for her children to take to their new homes when they marry, which is a local custom - but perhaps if she finds they provide income, she will also make more to sell.




Piece 3.12881 is the rug Khadija brought to sell. It is a rich red pile rug with accents in orange, black and white, a style made in this area. Local people say it has two faces, a flat one to use in the summer, and a pile one to sit on for warmth in the winter. You see the flat side in the photo and there's a close-up of it here, and you can see the full pile rug by clicking here and a close-up by clicking here. It's really a local product: Khadija made it with one of her daughters about two years ago, when the daughter was 16. They used wool from their own sheep. It took them about 3 months to finish, working whenever they had time. Khadija also dyed the yarn herself, and fixed the color by putting the wet yarn in vinegar afterward. It measures about 4 x 5 feet, though it is one inch shorter in width and about two inches less in length. The price is $405.


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