What would Seffarine Square be without the Fassi artisan, Hamid?

12 02 2014

 

Hammid photo by Vanessa Bonnin

Hammid photo by Vanessa Bonnin

“Aysha”, a Fassia resident and Artisans of Morocco Citizen Reporter, offers her second spotlight on a renowned artisan in the Fez medina.

“Hamid used to deliver and collect all the large copper pots throughout the medina so consequently knew all the families and gossip of Fez.”

Hamid started working in Fez’s famous Seffarine Square when he was just 8 years old, running errands for the copperware maalems (master craftsmen) after school. He was ‘a son of the medina’ as are so many young boys in this communal city. The only one in his family to work in the copper trade, Hamid was eager to watch and learn, to pass through the many levels needed to become skilled in his craft. Incidentally, he ended up working with the same maalem for 41 years, from 1969-2010. When asked if his children were interested in learning his craft, Hamid responded with a proverb, “No one chooses his mother.” All is destiny, it has been written… And his children’s stories seem to lie elsewhere.

Seffarine – taken from the Arabic word seffar – yellow, reflective of all the yellow (and red) copperware in the square, has always been the place in Fez to rent large copper pots (tangeras) for cooking at wedding feasts and other ceremonies. Seffarine tangeras can take up to 50 chickens at a time! Hamid used to deliver and collect all the pots throughout the medina so consequently knew all the families and gossip of Fez. When he returned the pots, he would wash them in the old fountain in the square – but were they clean of the stories his eyes and ears has been witness to…

For your own eyes and ears, take a listen to this catchy “2012 copper beat re-mix” direct from the artisans of Seffarine Square. (Hamid is the man wearing the white and light green patterned cap in the video.) You’ll be nodding your head in no time.

Amanda Staltham, travel editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, recently commented that Seffarine Square was her greatest discovery when visiting Fez: “I got more adventurous on my second day, branching off and discovering some amazing spots, the best of which was Seffarine Square. Beneath the shade of an enormous tree, coppersmiths bang away at enormous kettles and cauldrons, earnest students head for the Kairaouine Library (closed to tourists) or opposite to the Medersa Seffarine, which dates back to 1285 making it one of the oldest colleges in the world. I lucked out as one of the handful of chairs outside Café Seffarine in a corner of the square was free, so I sat in the sunshine and people-watched with a mint tea.”

Hamid and his felllow copperware neighbours continue to captivate people from across the world with an art that is not only functional but evokes both a visual and aural charm. No wonder Hamid has been doing this for 44 years.

written by Aysha

Exposé Artisanal : http://www.zoomaal.com/projects/exposeartisanal/1478

http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/travel/weekend-breaks/city-breaks/a_weekend_in_fez_in_morocco#ixzz2soeCdErl

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