A Journey Through Fez, Morocco

I’m so excited to be guest blogging for the one and only Cynthia Vincent this week.  After a recent visit to her studio to show my latest collection of Moroccan textiles and embellishments, Cynthia asked if I wanted to share part of my 2-week Fez, Morocco adventure that I just got back from.  Of course I want to!  I couldn’t say no to someone who appreciates the beauty, authenticity, and craftsmanship of textiles as much as I do.  So, are you ready to take part in an adventure?  Here we go!

Chapter One – The Art of Rug Shopping

If you’ve never experienced rug shopping in far flung corners of the world, trust me when I say that’s it’s a form of art (as well as a history lesson).  Upon entering a rug shop, you’re immediately greeted and asked to sit down as tea is delivered to you.  Genius.  Not only are you roped in for at least a solid hour, you also feel like the most important, well taken care of tourist in the world.  A presentation begins and rug after rug is brought out.  In Morocco, there are many different types of rugs to choose from.  Traditional Berber rugs, Moroccan wedding blankets known as handiras (can be used as rugs), rugs made from scraps of fabric remnants, etc.  Some of them date way back and almost all of them have the kind of beauty that makes you stop dead in your tracks.  That’s when you want to buy.  The shop owners aka rug dealers call out their price which usually starts a little high, and that’s where the negotiating begins.  I’ve been in situations where I’ve haggled for one hour over a rug, but what usually ends up happening is you pay right underneath the max of what you want to spend.  It’s usually a win win situation for everyone.  I should also add that’s it’s somewhat addicting, hence the 3 rugs I purchased in Fez.  Check out some rug action below:

Here I am in a friend's shop mesmerized by a selection of rugs.

One of the most absolutely interesting things about many of the Moroccan rugs is the message behind them.  When men and women were weaving these years ago, they would communicate with each other by including messages created by symbols and threadwork.  Some are messages of love…

The presentation begins!

Pile o' rugs

The mind-blowing Moroccan wedding blanket, which is also known as the handira.

Mint tea, please

This is a very unique handira with blue and green threading.

Stay tuned for more of my Moroccan adventure!  - Joanna

Joanna Williams is the owner of Kneeland Co., a Vintage Textile Studio specializing in vintage prints and embellishments sold to fashion and interiors companies to be used as design inspiration. Visit www.kneelandco.com to find out more.

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