Inside a weaver’s mind: where technical prowess is the warp of the darting imaginative weft.

21 04 2014

As a student, Mohammed loved mathematics and IT. Today, he uses all of these skills in the complicated techniques required for preparing a loom. For example, his current frame has 150 strands of 26 threads, 13 lines of ‘up’ alternating with 13 lines of ‘down’. He has to focus and concentrate hard when preparing as one mistake can undo hours of work. It is incredibly intricate and systematic the act of threading a loom – some steps require eight people working simultaneously to create the correct tensions and placement of threads. Once the loom is prepared, they can weave for a few weeks then the process starts again.

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There used to be njars (carpenters) in the medina who were specialist loom makers. You could just give them a set of dimensions and they would build a wooden loom for you. There are none left now, only carpenters who will copy an existing loom or make repairs. In one generation, all the specialist vocabulary describing the different parts of the loom, has been lost. We hope Mohammed will document all these terms from his aged father before it is too late.

Here are a few Moroccan proverbs and sayings related to weaving:

Kay tayr knzuk

Flying like a weaver’s shuttle (i.e. someone who moves fast)

T’hat duf

Under the flying shuttle canal (i.e. to give someone something under the table/on the sly)

Hadeet u mrazal

 Like a bobbin spinner (i.e. someone who speaks and works at the same time)

Written By Aisha,  a Fassia resident and beloved Artisans of Morocco Citizen Reporter.

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