Over the past few years, we’ve been connecting with artisans outside of Tameslouht– but still within the greater El Haouz province– to expand our offerings and our artisan network. Recently, though, we have established a relationship that jumps beyond our current borders and takes us up north to a little town called N’zalat Bni Amar.
Located about 30 minutes north of Moulay Idriss, N’zalat is home to the Seven Stars Cooperative. They describe themselves and their mission in their blog:
Seven Stars is a small Moroccan baking and embroidery cooperative founded and powered by Moroccan women dedicated to bringing opportunity to their community and keeping alive a traditional Moroccan art form.
Seven Stars is run by three women, but they employ a network of about 30 women in the surrounding villages. They specialize in the Fessi embroidery style and have been working with Peace Corps volunteers on design innovation and integrating tradition designs into modern products. Some examples of those products can be found below.
In our experience with Maslouhi, marketing embroidery is tough. Traditional Moroccan embroidery, including this Fessi style, is absolutely gorgeous. Clients love the look of it and are fascinated by the complexity and intricacy of this geometric design that manages to be identical on both the front and the back of the fabric that it embellishes. However, this craft is incredibly time-consuming, and so the base cost of the price is often a deterrent for the average consumer. That’s why the work of Peace Corps volunteers can be so critical for connections with foreign audiences; they are able to be that in-between that can communicate with foreigners about their price points and what products they would be interested in buying, and then translate that to the artisans and ensure a smooth transaction. It’s not that the artisans cannot handle this process themselves, but it’s often time-consuming and requires a level of language that can take awhile to perfect. In short, the work of PCVs expedites this process and leaves the artisans with more time to focus on their craft.
Maslouhi is excited to be piloting several of these “in-between” pieces that strike the balance between honoring the beauty of traditional Moroccan embroidery– and all of the time and skill that it takes to produce it– while still managing to be an affordable and useful product for the average consumer. Check out some of the items that will be in our Etsy shop in the coming days:
As always, thank you to the incredible artisans who have worked on these beautiful designs. We are so excited about this new collaboration!
For more information about our new headbands, makeup bags, and keychains, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.