Common Thread (Part Two): In Sabrina’s Words

The core experience of the Common Thread project is rooted in collaboration, understanding and the exchange of ideas. After the completion of the design workshop led by Sabrina Kraus Lopez (www.sabrinakrauslopez.com), the artisan leaders all returned home to weave their new designs inspired by what they had learned from Sabrina.

To complete the circle, Sabrina traveled to Tounfite, the home of artisan leader Rabha Akkaoui. There, Sabrina worked and lived alongside the women of Cooperative Chorouk for three weeks, learning how to weave and most importantly, gaining an understanding the importance of weaving in the lives of the women of Cooperative Chorouk.  Sabrina describes her experiences and what she learned in her own words below:

 

 

“It is hard to believe that this small mud hut sandwiched in this incredible landscape will now be my workspace for the next two weeks.”

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“The first few days at the cooperative consisted of me staring at the women weave, trying to take in all their movements in order to understand how their looms worked. Once we set up my loom I was ready and excited to begin weaving my own rug.”

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“At the moment when the women and I realize that I have been weaving, unaccompanied and successfully for the last 30 minutes, there is a loud applause, as only now have I finally earned my place in this remote village cooperative!”

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“There are two other looms in the Chorouk Cooperative, each carefully shared and cared for by ten women, each of whom can be found preparing, cleaning and spinning wool for weaving, but most importantly, laughing and telling stories.”

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“I was taken by the individual artisans themselves and their situations, sometimes funny, sad and occasionally touching; each of them has a story to tell.”

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“From collecting and spinning the wool, to picking and hand dying the yarn, it soon became clear to me that for the artisans this is not simply a livelihood but rather an intrinsic part of their culture and everyday life.”

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“Intensely proud of their heritage and traditions, the Berbers believe that these carpets have been crucial in keeping their cultures alive. Even today, some tribal women still carry these symbols and motifs tattooed on to their foreheads, chins and arms, in days gone by this would have distinguished them during times of war.”

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“After two weeks, I begin to feel settled in Tounfite. Every morning I wake up to Rabha’s amazing mint tea and breakfast, all of which is loaded with sugar to get me through each day of weaving.”

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“Later, I finally know how to ask for bread, water, phone credit and make it to the closest store on my own. I also know that the Hamam is one of the best things in town and that Sundays at the souq are priceless.”

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“At the end of my time in Morocco, I have learnt how to say “Hello”, “thank you” and “I am full”, in Berber. I am also now familiar with sleeping on layered carpets, having bucket showers and eating with my hands at almost every meal. However, it is exactly these new experiences, sharing of cultures and most of all friendships that I will miss most and what makes collaborations like this so special.”

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