It all started in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco where I was born and raised. This was the place in history where the infamous stitch-work and the art of weaving Berber rugs originated from. My Berber ancestors weaved hand spun wool, then made carpets from it. This was a tradition and old practice in my culture that has been passed down to me from my mother and grandmother and I am very grateful to them for teaching and giving me their expertise and the opportunity to become my own individual craftsman.
In 2006, I came to the United States from Morocco and took my interest and skills in the weaving of Berber rugs to new heights. I wanted to introduce my Berber heritage and the tradition of rug weaving to the Western 🇺🇸 and international world. 🌎 It was my dream and I wanted to make it a reality. This was my drive and inspiration in building my "Artizayane" shop. I was a young boy and apprentice who learned all the different looping techniques, color ranges and motifs that have inspired me. I spent much of my time observing the steps of weaving and the techniques after a rug is completed in the making, and what influences the look and meticulous appearance with each finished piece. In my later years, I practiced faithfully and mastered the use of looms in making intricately designed and elegant rugs.
Berber collection and weaving was, and still is a livelihood and the main source of income for many families in Morocco. It is the primary way of making a living there. I am in business with the good intention and desire of helping to make a financial and economic difference in the lives of families back home. I am proud to announce that "Artizayane" supports local artisans in the Atlas Mountains and the surrounding regions of Morocco so they can continue to pass on the century's old tradition of rug weaving. It is this tradition that shows my beloved land's pride in its people and their work, and the freedom to exercise their creative abilities. In my village, the women gathered sheared sheep's 🐑 wool and spun it by hand. Then it was dyed with natural color. The natural dyes were formulated with water mixed in a variety of herbs and spices and cooked for 2 to 3 hours to achieve different colors. The different color shades are made with herb formulations when dying the wool then the color shade is adjusted with a vinegar soak to acheive its desired hue.
The older woman folk in my village were masters of weaving and it is an old practice that is passed down traditionally in the home. When the women work to make these rugs her thoughts, feelings, emotions and mood are depicted through her creations. There is no premeditated plan when the women begin weaving the rugs. The rug design is created from her imagination while living in the moment. Seemingly her lifestyle is reflected through her artistic expressions and free imagination when she creates a rug. In my native country, the rugs were sold in the popular markets or in the winding souks of Khenifra, Fes and Marrakech. As a matter of fact, Khenifra is the city where I was born and raised and is the place of one of the major carpet souks in Morocco.
Berber rugs and the activity of weaving them is very symbolic in nature to my people and culture. As tradition would have it, weaving a signature pattern displaying bold colors, in-depth patterns and special techniques are done according to each specific region, where every village and its tribe has their own distinctive and creative style. With each new rug a story is unfolded, revealing acts of ceremony, or designs that often relate to fertility and male protection of his family. For example, fancy blankets are weaved and given as traditional wedding gifts that are meant to be sentimental in its giving of them and symbolic for unity between the bride and groom and the sanctity of their marriage. The weavers also make scarfs and shawls to wear as a source of warmth in the cold winter months.
Berber rugs in itself are unique. Each one is its own original and no two are ever the same. Every rug has it own history and tells a story about the silent Berber lifestyle back in the days of a forgotten time. These rugs illustrate famous works of art and paint a portrait of life and history and I am a living example of the remarkable Berber heritage that I present to you which I'm truly so proud of.