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Morocco: Ancient cities, adobe fortresses of centuries past, fertile plains of wheat and olives, carpets of wildflowers, endless deserts, wild mountains, and isolated rural villages. And of course, the fabled open-air markets framed with stacks of woven rugs and other handicrafts, exotic scents wafting through the aisles, the hum of Arabic, Berber, French. Within this diverse land and confluence of cultures, many rich and ancient craft traditions carry on—women spin and weave, make buttons, embroider designs passed down through generations, and sew stunning native costumes. Women Artisans of Morocco tells the stories of twenty-five women who practice these textile traditions with an inspiring energy, pride, and fortitude. For the first time, we have a book that focuses on the artisans of Morocco themselves, those who produce these beautiful textiles that contribute substantially to their family's income while maintaining households and raising children.
You will step into the lives of these Moroccan women artisans and gain an appreciation for their artistic skills and ingenuity but also for their strong roles in this supposedly male-dominated society, their fierce independence and determination as they work to improve their economic livelihoods. You will be welcomed into their homes in rural Berber villages, in bustling cities, and in a remarkable desert oasis. You will begin to learn truly what it is like to live as a woman in Morocco and to be part of a rapidly changing society. Most of the women presented here are rug weavers whose ancient skills and designs vary from region to region. You will also meet Fes embroidery artists, women who needle-weave buttons that have decorated native costumes for centuries, and a contemporary seamstress. Joe Coca’s award-winning photography, guided by his curious and reverent sensibility, captures the beauty of the women, their work, and Morocco.
About the Author
Susan Schaefer Davis is a consultant with American Friends Service Committee, the World Bank, USAID, and several NGOs, a leader of cultural and textile tours through Morocco, and author of Patience and Power and Adolescence in a Moroccan Town. Joe Cocoa is a photographer of people from all walks of life over five continents.
"Women Artisans of Morocco is a beautifully written, colorfully illustrated, and meticulously researched book by one of the foremost experts on contemporary women’s issues in Morocco." —Katja Zvan Elliott, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco
"The most important contribution of Women Artisans of Morocco is its stereotype-busting presentation of Muslim women that the non-Muslim world so needs right now. A lifetime of Arabic-speaking relationships with Moroccan women has given Davis the basis for sharing their stories as well as their world perspectives." —Deborah Chandler, author of Traditional Weavers of Guatemala, Their Stories, Their Lives and Learning to Weave
"A unique achievement, Women Artisans of Morocco is at once richly ethnographic, deeply informative, and aesthetically vibrant; it will be of lasting historic value." —Lila Abu-Lughod, Joseph L. Buttenweiser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University, and author of Veiled Sentiments and Do Muslim Women Need Saving?
"In a time when women’s voices across the world are louder and clearer, Women Artisans of Morocco: Their Stories, Their Lives is an important volume for anyone interested in textile traditions and in the lives of Muslim women." —Rebeca Schiller, Editor, Hand/Eye magazine