Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Creation Tameslouht - The Women Artisans of Morocco

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Do your thoughts drift to a magical kingdom, blue skies and aqua waters?
Does your mind conjure up images of the very romantic Prince of Persia, and wish that one day you could venture into the very heart of the Arabian?

Morocco is famous for its rich embroidered textile heritage, it is a land of intoxicating colors and heady spices. But like any other Country, Morocco too is sometimes tied down to practices that are easily classified into 'Culture'. 

Creations Tameslouht is one such organization that decided to break away from the cultural barrier of working under male leadership. Over 40 women gathered together to form their own association. Their official name is the Association of Creations of the Women of Tameslouht, or Creation Tameslouht.  This is the first all-women AND first women-led artisan association in Tameslouht's history. These women are incredibly talented with Fesi embroidery, which is a traditional Moroccan style of geometric patterns that are the exact same on each side of the fabric. The traditional embroidery is used on contemporary products like bags, shoes, clothes and home decor. 

Sarah Quinn, a United States Peace Corps volunteer wrote to me about Creations Tameslouht and her vital role in helping build the organization. Tameslouht is a traditionally artisan town located 20 km outside of  Marrakech. Literally a Mecca of traditional Moroccan handicraft - woven rugs and fabric, scarves, metal work, painting, leather work, clothing, basket weaving, ceramics, jewelry, woodworking, and even plaster art. The artisans have several associations which are all male-run and very dependent on the tourist market in Marrakech. 

Creation Tameslouht's goals are to expand their market beyond Marrakech and develop their products into fashionable, consumer-friendly pieces that are each unique, handcrafted works of art maintaining the essence of traditional Moroccan handicrafts. They want to do this through the creation of a website, and a marketing campaign through Facebook and a blog. Their long-term goals include establishing clientele relationships and making enough money to rent or buy their own work space. Sarah also says that they are very interested in applying to attend the Santa Fe International Folk Festival, held in the United States every summer. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for international artisans to open their market to the world and make irreplaceable professional and personal networks. 

I often silently applause women who have stood up for a cause and their unwavering passion for it and Creations Tameslouht deserves a standing ovation!

About Sarah:
Sarah Quinn is a United States Peace Corps volunteer. This is a government program that sends volunteers all over the world to work in a variety of projects over a 27 month period (3 months of training, 2 years of service). Sarah was sent to Tameslouht, Morocco, where she works in the Youth Development sector and is currently involved in the technological side of things at Creations Tameslouht. She teaches English at the Dar Chabab, or youth center, and helps out with her community's specific needs - which turned out to be with the artisans. 

Visit their Facebook page here and let them know you support their cause. 

All photos belong to Creation Tameslouht

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for assisting us with publicity for this wonderful and empowering initiative! Myself and all of the women artisans in Tameslouht really appreciate it!


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