Silk, Pottery and Metalwork in Fes

I had to squeeze through a 5 foot passageway to get to the fondouk that has housed a weaving “factory” for several centuries. Sabra is a silk fabric that is traditionally woven from the threads of a cactus plant (also known as Sabra). Strands of silk are removed from the cactus, dyed with natural dyes and woven into amazing fabric. I bought some very pretty silk bedcovers and chenille from the owner whose father, grandfather and more generations than he can remember, have woven Sabra here.

I also saw some gorgeous Fes pottery and mosaic work being made. Whilst I would love to source some for Arastan I really need to come back and spend several days picking a vendor, selecting and checking. This is the kind of place you see, you buy, you pack and you take with you; if you leave it to be packed and shipped later you run the risk of not actually getting what you expected to!

In the smallest possible space for a workshop cum store I met an old man who makes beautiful objects in iron and silver.  We saw him at the end of the day and then in a particularly happy mood when we came back the following morning to collect our goods: he was so very proud then that his work was being “exported” (not to mention being happy with the good money he made of course).

Chouwara Tannery

Chouwara Tannery

The tanneries from Fes are world famous. I decided not to get any leather here though having had problems with the smell and staining from some I bought here last year. I am told that leather from Rabat does not suffer the same problem so watch this space.

Harira soup for dinner was a definite hit. This time around I opted for a home stay which was fairly basic but came with great food and interesting conversations with a very nice family. Mustapha also proved invaluable in getting me to all the places I had to go and translating where necessary. All quite different from Dar Roumana where we stayed last year – that was a magical place but came at a steep price and didn’t give a real flavour of how Moroccans live.

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    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

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