Saturday, February 7, 2009

All things Moroccan

Anyone who knows me well knows that I've had a fascination with Morocco for a long time. It all started when I was in high school and my family went out to eat at a Moroccan restaurant called Mataam Fez (which, sadly, is now a luxury condo building). Upon entering it was a different world. Everyone removed their shoes before they were allowed into the dining area. The dining area had dim lighting, seating on the floor surrounded by pillows and poufs, and all food was eaten by hand. And the food- ahhhh, the food. It started out with bread that wasn't quite like "normal" bread. It was thick and hearty but still moist and tasty. Lentil soup, B'stella Pastry, Cous Cous, and Vegetables M'hammer were just some of the amazing dishes. Always at the end they served peppermint tea which was very expertly poured while balancing cups on knees, elbows, the back of a hand held as far below the teapot as possible. I loved the smells, the atmosphere, and mostly the sense of being transported somewhere so different than anything else I'd ever experienced. The above photo was taken in Mataam Fez, with a belly dancer. It really doesn't do the place justice. There was fabric draped on the ceiling, on the walls, and carpets and pillows covering the floor. There were cutouts in the plaster, tiles, and a big basket full of the delicious bread.

Anyway, I'm telling you about this to bring you to today, and my discovery of Moroccan Wedding Blankets. I first discovered them at My Marrakesh. A woman named Maryam writes about her adventures in Morocco, creating a guesthouse, and her "bemused tales". I visited her site from time to time when I was feeling cooped up in Colorado's winter (which actually this year has been really sunny and warm. Kind of concerning.) One evening while I was visiting, the sidebar called out to me, showing some Moroccan goodies for sale. Especially intriguing were some sparkly sequiny blankets. I clicked on the photos and it said things about the size and how it was made from wool, and that each sequin was hand sewn. I wanted to know more. So, what do I do? I enter it in a google search of course! All I found were different blogs leading me back to Maryam. Which made me more curious. What were these blankets about? How could I get one? I searched Maryam's site, and decided that I needed to email her. Suddenly I was very shy. I felt a funny sense of being star struck. But, I did it. I emailed her. I was inexplicably nervous hitting the send button. And a day later, I received a response- a warm, detailed, information-rich response. It made Moroccan Wedding Blankets all the more beautiful and magical! Here is some of the information she shared with me:

"All blankets are hand loomed sheep's wool with cotton bushy fringe. All sequins are painstakingly added one by one by hand. Blankets were made in homes for Berber brides and are thought to be instilled with "baraka". Baraka is a positive power with many meanings in Morocco, and is a source of creative inspiration. In the case of carpets and weavings, the religious faith of the weaver and her belief in the supernatural are inextricably connected with the objects she produces. The loom itself remains the ultimate symbol of magical protection. It is looked upon as a living thing and is treated as such. If the weaver takes care in remembering the number and combination of threads to produce a design, the finished textile will be imbued with talismanic power and contain baraka, acting as a "power shield" against the evil eye."

This to me is amazing. I've always felt that everything I make has a little piece of me...

Here is a photo of the blanket I'm in the process of buying. Maryam has been great to work with- very kind and flexible and honest. Here is a link to some other things (including more wedding blankets!) she is selling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really Cool. I have had a fascination with Morocco for quite a while now. And I really want to go this summer. Everthing seems really magical to me. Anyways Enjoyed your post!