The Moroccan leatherworkers are truly amazing. You can watch them create and craft everything from handbags to shoes to goatskin lanterns. Furthermore, they are well known to make custom bags/gloves/aprons at astonishingly cheap pricing (if well haggled!) although the leatherworkers can be an absolute mission to find, they are definitely worth a visit.
The blacksmiths in Marrakech are extremely talented. They create beautiful lampshades in pierced sheet metal-work, metal grilles used for windows and mirrors, and intricately patterned swirling designs for special dining tables and chairs.
Some metal-workers produce beautiful silver and gold coloured sinks and mirrors by beating a single piece of metal into the exact shape. Others cast metal into taps which are then etched with traditional Berber designs and embellished with bands of copper or bronze. Riad Papillon arranged for one guest to have a short introduction to Moroccan blacksmithing, he spent a week working with a local Marrakshi blacksmith who didn’t speak a word of English (communicating with using hand gestures). Moroccan metalwork is totally different from what you may have experienced in the UK. They rarely use a furnace and tend to work the metal when cold then make enjoinments and fabrications using a spot welder.
Probably the most commonly seen form of pottery in the shops of Marrakech is the tagine stove, plate and steam cover. These are available in a huge range of sizes and contain a great variety of designs and patterns in glazes and paints.
Morocco is well known for its Tadelakt which is unique to the region, it’s basically a form of plaster made from the local limestone which is mixed with egg white and natural dyes to form a unique colour. After leaving it for about two weeks it’s covered in a special black soap which has the effect of giving it a shiny appearance and making it water resistant.
As you walk through the streets of morocco you will certainly notice the massive colourful blankets of cloth –silks, wools, linens and even man-made fibres -draped all around and above the market stalls. Morocco is an amazing place to go to buy cloth and other fabrics for both professional tailors and hobbyists alike.
If you are interested in crafts you are sure to have a fantastic holiday in Marrakesh. That’s the beauty of staying in a Ryad, Marrakech is on your doorstep.
Doris Day, Marrakech
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