Traditional Moroccan craftsmanship revisited
This article was originally published on Visit Morocco.
Morocco’s cultural richness extends to the traditional hand-crafted works of its artisans, who have been turning out contemporary variations for a few years now. A wide assortment of materials is transformed into decorative and utilitarian items through careful handiwork using machines and tools that have, for the most part, remained true to tradition. With tableware, furniture, jewelry and clothing on offer, you will undoubtedly be tempted to take some Moroccan souvenirs with you!
Traditional clothes, which are still worn for holidays and ceremonies, now have an innovative twist. You definitely have to try on the famous caftan! Moroccan slippers, known as babouches, are also traditional mainstays. Today these fashions are available in myriad interpretations; many designers sell models that feature particularly modern designs.
Would you like to go home with original, handmade jewelry? Marrakesh and its surroundings are full of unsurpassed Berber jewelry. Shop for it in the medina adjacent to Jemaa El Fna Square. A lot of silver jewelry is also produced in cities such as Goulimine, Agadir, Essaouira, Tiznit and Taroudant. The designs evolve with tastes and trends so that today’s pieces are quite modern and fashion-forward.
Metalwork is a time-honored craft in Fez, Marrakesh and Tetouan: check out frames, jars, door knockers, lamps and many other items that are finely wrought in copper, silver or brass. Internationally esteemed Moroccan designers have appropriated these objects and there are now modern versions.
Visit Safi to shop for one-of-a-kind, multi-hued pottery. In Tamegrout, the color green dominates. In Azemmour, craftswomen have their own organization. In Salé, don’t miss out on a visit to the potters’ complex in Oulja.
In Marrakesh, Fez or Safi, you can explore the icons of Moroccan wrought iron work: candlesticks, lanterns, mirrors and even lampshades that will fit perfectly with your decor.
Magnificent objects woven in wicker, raffia and palm are on offer in Fez, Marrakesh and Salé, where trivets, baskets and rugs will delight you. In Essaouira, you can buy items carved in thuya, a precious wood from the Atlas Mountains. In the same vein, you will find marquetry, traditional decorative objects made from wood inlay, all over Morocco.
As for plaster creations, they are visible in riads, among other places. This is a quintessential element of Moroccan architecture.
Another characteristic Moroccan art form is the zellige. Throughout the country, you will find these mosaics on traditional objects or used in innovative designs! This art is a true hallmark of Moroccan interiors and the undisputed capital of Moroccan zellige is the city of Fez. Head there to buy uncounted wonders in its traditional small shops.
Given the abundance of local handicrafts, we are willing to bet that you won’t leave Morocco empty-handed.