If you have ever come across Moroccan art then I believe you too might have experienced a sense of amazement and that of wonder at the beauty of these crafts. In some of you, it might have also inspired a longing to enjoy a lazy stroll through the alleyway of that city where this awe-inspiring art is produced and to observe those talented artisans when they are hard at work. So, in this article, we will transport you to that place where art is created and will assist you in trekking through those streets.
Now, while walking through the streets of Morocco and following a clacking noise we came across a dimly lit workshop where we found a middle-aged man expertly working the network of 4,000 threads. On enquiring him we found out that he was weaving a one-of-a-kind silk brocade for a customer. When we told him that his work seemed hard and tiring, then he simply smiled at us and replied, not if you have been doing it for the past 30 years.
At Morocco, you can meet many such craftsmen who have been weaving, brass etching or woodcarving from years even if it does not earn them huge profits. If you talk to them then you will realize that some of them have had their fathers and forefathers doing the same thing when they were alive. And now their sons are fighting hard to continue their legacy.
After this, our next stop came minutes after when we saw a small shop located at the corner of the street that was piled from top to bottom with intricately carved wood. Like other craftsmen in Morocco, this shop owner too was facing stiff competition from the machine-made goods and was trying hard to survive. He told us proudly, ‘but they still have not created a machine that can do this you know. It’s a good thing since thankfully people still buy goods from us. It’s not just work for us, we put our heart into it.’
Moving on, we reached a ramshackle fondouk where a variety of artisans were hard at work. First, we encountered a drum making production line where one of the men was painting a base, another was busy in removing the fat and hair from camel hide while yet another was stitching the leather at base.
In the neighboring shop, another craftsman was creating leather goods. Unable to control myself I rushed to him and asked him if I could help him. He accepted my help graciously and showed me how to make a pair of traditional babouche slippers by cutting out the leather- goatskin on top and cowhide on the bottom- after which they are glued and hand-stitched together.
After this, I reached a crafts studio that was owned by a woman who performed brass etching and bookbinding. There on talking with the craftsmen, I was informed of some more threats that these artisans are facing. She told me that they use age-old tools to create these goods and without the toolmakers, the crafts will very well die.
After this encounter, we roamed some more and came across some very talented artisans who were happy to share their experiences and their work. They are all proud of what they do but at the same time, the struggles they are facing are real.