SIROUA (MOROCCO) IS A mountain REGION LOCATED IN THE ANTIATLAS MOUNTAINS. A ROUGH PLACE WHERE SAFFRON IS GROWN, SHEEP PASTURE CALMLY AND WOMEN WEAVE RUGS AT HOME WITH A VERTICAL LOOM BUILD BY THEMSELVES.
In these rugged mountains lives the Aït Ouaouzguite tribe. The weaving of textiles is another very important activity for this community that falls to the hands of women. Traditionally it only covered the needs of the family (carpets, blankets, clothes...) but slowly it is becoming a complementary activity to agriculture, herding and, more recently, trekking tourism. In some valleys its contribution is essential to balance the family budget.
the hypnotic geometric patterns of the Aït Ouaouzguite tribe
Tashka rugs are hand-woven respecting the hypnotic geometric patterns that the women of the Aït Ouaouzguite tribe have memorized for generations.
The rugs are woven by heart without any previous drawing. Women use the typical patterns from their tribe such as diamonds and zigzags which also appear on the their tattoos and jewelry. The technique of flat weaving and braiding is unique in Morocco and is transmitted orally from mothers to daughters.
Behind each rug there is no anonymous work, it is the talented hands of Malika, Fatima, Fadma, Karima, Ija, Khadija, Mazine, Habiba and Saida, among many other women that make possible the existence of Tashka rugs. They are our collaborators and the guardians of the Amazigh textile tradition, a unique heritage that must be protected, cared for and respected.
The process & The wool
In almost every house there is a vertical loom and the women themselves have built most of them. The weaving process is very laborious, depending on the length of the rug up to three women may be required just to create the warp. It is also very common to weave in groups or in shifts so the same rug may have passed through the hands of several women. Depending on the size and difficulty of the drawing, the making of a rug can last from weeks to several months, everything has its logic, besides weaving women take care of the house, the children, the domestic animals and work on the fields.
At Tashka we like to use sheep wool of the Siroua area of high quality and widely used in other areas of the country. We prefer natural undyed wool and get neutral tones (off whites, grays, browns and blacks) from yarn and carding it. Another of Tashka's projects is to recuperate traditional vegetal and mineral dyes. With tea, saffron and mimosa a wide range of yellows is achieved; from mint and henna the greens; of Indigo of the Sahara, the intense blue, and from pomegranate, a range from orange to red. Since unfortunately all these artisan dyeing techniques are being lost.