Process

Moroccan Rug Weaving Process

“a woman who weaves forty carpet is guaranteed a place in heaven”

-A Moroccan Proverb

Women from rural Moroccan villages seldom engaged in public life as their main task was cooking, washing, sewing, cleaning, and caring for children in addition to working in fields, seeding plants and watching over their crops. Despite these societal constraints, they presented themselves as autonomous and bold artists via their textile work and carpet weaving. The weavers improvised structures, patterns, and motifs from a large and diverse repertory. The end effect is breathtakingly stunning. It's pure poetry, pure abstract, but laden with profound meaning.

One or two women sit next to each other on a bench at a vertical loom so that their hands always remain at the same level, the finished part of the carpet is gradually rolled round the lower beam disappearing the carpet from sight and the weaver sees only the last part of her work. This means that weaver must use forms drawn from her memory. In this way her creativity is given full scope. Although rooted in tradition she can continually incorporate into her work her own intuitions, feelings and imagination. She has the freedom which can make her a creative artist. This explains the surprising spontaneity and incoomparable variety which characterize berber carpets.

Indispensable tools : loom, combs, cardes, cattails, baskets, spindles..

Step 1: shearing sheep and buying woolen fleeces

This step belongs primarily to men. The sheep is immobilized laying on its side and fleece is obtained using big scissors. Generally, it takes between 50 to 100 sheep to get enough wool for a standard-sized rug.

Step 2: Washing and preparing the wool fleeces

This step belongs primarily to men. The sheep is immobilized laying on its side and fleece is obtained using big scissors. Generally, it takes between 50 to 100 sheep to get enough wool for a standard-sized rug.

The ladies then sift the wool and remove the impurities such as twigs. Most of the time, they soak it and beat it with a stick before gently washing it in the river, then placing it in the sun to dry and whiten. At the end of the day, the wool is stored at home for several days until needed.

step 3: carding

The wool is cut, then washed and combed. Carding or combing wool is an essential stage in the production of wool fabric. Carding ensures that all of the wool fibers are untangled and oriented in one direction, making spinning more fluid. They work the wool with two wooden planks called imchden (cardes), which they manoeuvre with a lively back-and-forth movement.

Step 5: Washing the spun wool

The yarn is washed again and placed in the sun to dry, then stored until the loom is prepared.

step 6: Weaving begins

Three essential tools: a knife with a hook on the end, a pair of scissors and a comb. Different colors of yarn are hung on top of the loom depending on the colors that will be used on the rug. The weaver passes the piece of the yarn between two tablecloths using the knife’s hook, and pulls it with the other hand, then cuts it with the knife, and repeats the process horizontally until the entire line of knots is completed. Then the weaver uses the heavy comb to compact the knots down firmly to keep everything in place. The process is repeated knot after knot, row after row, until the carpet is finished.

step 7: washing and drying the carpet