When I started this blog, I was working on a red, black, and yellow rug. My inspiration was a pillow that was designed and made for me by a neighbor when I lived in Morocco.
I want to work on another rug now, but from a different part of Morocco. The Eastern side of Morocco is formed by the Atlas Mountains, which are divided into three parts: Middle Atlas, High Atlas, and Anti Atlas areas. So let’s start at the top – the Middle Atlas Mountains. The mountainous areas of Morocco have maintained closer ties to the original materials and patterns of the Berbers. (In the major cities, like Rabat and Fez, they incorporate the large center medallion that is typical of Persian and Oriental rugs.) They use natural materials – mostly wool, but some silk and then cotton for weft and warp threads. Many of their rugs, saddle bags, and blankets use the natural colors of these fibers. When they want other colors, they use natural dyes like indigo, pomegranate, or saffron. This gives me a whole new range of colors to work with, but as you will see in the photos below, how do I go about selecting just ONE color scheme? I love all of them.
I love blue and was thrilled when I found this one in a book I’m reading. This book is from the Textile Museum of Washington D.C. They had an exhibition of Moroccan rugs in the 1970s, which resulted in this book being printed. If you look carefully, you will see that there are only two motifs represented. Each repeat of the motif changes some, but is easily recognizable. So much detail in each repeat and quite challenging to translate to needlepoint.
Also from the Textile Museum, this rug uses beige and brown wool from sheep, some yellow silk, and some pomegranate dyed wool. The large brown stitches that separate the various bands are created using a technique called twining. I’ll talk more about this when I start playing with the motifs. Something new to learn about. I know what it is now, but haven’t decided if I want to use it in a needlepoint design – yes, I’ll try it for sure.
This photo is from Alia who has studied rugs in Morocco. Her blog (From Warp to Weft) talks about the areas where she visited and has beautiful photos from each area. She is also setting up a fair-trade organization for importing these beautiful rugs (see Kantara Crafts).
Just look at the colors in this rug!!! The pink, teal, green, orange, blue, gold, and magenta highlight the simple motifs and patterns. This could be a very colorful project.
I’ve been thumbing through photos and books for over a week now. I don’t know what I’m going to do just yet. I’m waiting for this inspiration to lead me to something new and wonderful.