Sunday, September 13, 2015

shifting lines of colour

Nights are getting cooler in Rabat, and the last time we were in the Medina we spied a weaving shop that has been working its way into the front of my mind ever since I've had to switch from sheet to blanket. After loading up on the aforementioned art supplies, we made our way through bustling streets to the facade of the shop, which was decorated by many colourful striped woolen blankets.

Saïd and his brothers are fourth generation weavers— a source of tremendous pride. He explained with great passion how their hands bring together so many threads in order to create warmth, protection, and comfort for others. The weaving as he described it, is meditative— all time is lost between the shifting lines of colour.

He invited us into the ateliers behind the shop, where several different looms were being worked by the deft hands and rhythmic feet of the weavers— it was like dancing, the movements smooth and deliberate. Their grace reminded me of the days I spent as a glass blowing apprentice in Upstate New York, where I learned to spin iron tipped in molten glass, to become fluid and strong.

So many of the world's traditional handicrafts and art forms are slowly dying out as artisans age, and new generations enter lives of technology, consumerism and mass-manufactured products labelled with that "Made in China" sticker. They are growing up in a completely different world— and I know that it's so much more complex than I am able to express.

I try my best to buy locally, and if it's possible to shake the hands that made what I take into my home, then it's all the better. How wonderful it is to wrap a blanket around our bodies that was woven by a family who takes pride in giving us that warmth, and to know that the beauty they created will comfort us for many years to come.


Julia Kelly said...

Wonderful post and wonderful pictures....reading Women and Textiles, the first 20,000 years that fits right into your post....male weavers are a relatively new thing!

szaza said...

Thank you Julia! Yes, I had always associated weaving with women. Is Women and Textiles a book?