Moroccan Carpet Buying Guide
The weaving tradition in Morocco goes back centuries and the diversity of style and design is widespread. So much variety is awe-inspiring but can also make choosing a carpet for your home an overwhelming task! The good news is that the variety allows you to be as specific (It must coordinate with my furniture and fit the dimensions of my livingroom!) – or as flippant (How about medium-sized and colorful?) – as you wish.
Here is a brief overview to help you get started: Moroccan carpets are functional pieces designed to warm the home and brighten the decor, making them both attractive and durable. All of the carpets we refer to here are woven on a vertical loom by one to four women, depending upon the carpet’s dimension. They are all handmade, knot by knot, row by row.
• Sabra: A finely spun, unique Moroccan textile blend of silk, linen and wool. Often dyed in vibrant colors, these will fade into soft hues with exposure to the sun or high traffic.
Natural Dyes offer earthy tones, and can range from rich browns and yellows to deep reds and oranges. Availability of these colors are dependent upon seasonal crops and vegetation, such as Madder root, poppies, walnuts (husks), fig (leaves), and onions (skins).
Commercial Dyes are often in pure hues. For custom carpets woven by Association Gorges Du Dades, wool yarn and cotton/acrylic blended yarns are most commonly found in true red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black and white, although a few other colors are also available.
There are many other options of carpets. Designs range from simple to ornate, informal to formal, symmetrical and assymetrical. Another common differentiation are carpets with a central motif, and surrounding frames, rows of design, or striped. Many designs vary by geographic and cultural regions.
In the southern, rural mountain village of Ait Ouffi, the women of Association Gorges Du Dades, weave a variety of Pile, Flat Weave and Ahandir, primarily with traditional Amazigh (“Berber”) influence. Often included in their designs are the “takhlelt” (Amazigh bride pendant), the Amazigh alphabet and geometric patterns. These weavers also enjoy experimenting with new ideas, which they draw from other carpets they discover, the village landscape and their own personal interests.
We are committed to pricing these carpets in a way that provides an appropriate wage for the weavers and the cost of their materials, while still falling within an affordable range. Price is first calculated according to the size of the carpet and the materials needed. Then, a fair fee for the weavers is calculated, depending upon the amount of time the entire weaving process will take. (For example, an Ahandir is simply woven; however, if it’s made of raw wool, we consider the time the women spend washing, drying, combing and spinning the wool before the weaving begins.) We then add shipping and handling. A simple, small carpet begins at $70USD; larger carpets range from $250-$500USD.
We look forward to helping you choose your ideal Moroccan carpet. With a wealth of materials, colors, sizes, styles, designs, and prices from which to choose, we will work with you to discover your perfect match. It’s a wonderful way to bring Moroccan culture into your home, and supports local artisans in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Email Sarah Young at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or to place an order.