Zellig of Morocco

Zellig (or zellige or zellij) is the art of mosaic tiles used in Moroccan homes and buildings. One site I really enjoy exploring is http://www.wonders-of-morocco.com/sommaire.php?lng=en&pays=en There is a lot to explore, and each area you click on has slideshows. Zellige is in the middle row on the right and has slideshows of pools, tables, and fountains all done in zellig tiles. This gives you a good idea of how versatile these tiles are.

Morocco5_2The designs the artists of Morocco create are very complex, but absolutely gorgeous. They are used for bathrooms, walls in main areas of homes and public buildings, and fountains in the courtyards of homes or in public areas.

Tiles are made in solid colors and then cut into smaller sizes to make the mosaic patterns you see here and on the website. The photo to the left is from a wall in a public building.

Tile20As you can see in the second photo, they love complex designs and lots of colors. This is a fountain in a public area. Many of the patterns remind me of quilt patterns. I love the carved arches as well, but will concentrate on the zellig for right now.

I have one particular design that I have seen repeated many times in all kinds of settings. I want to create a design like it, but it has to be broken down to simpler elements in order to needlepoint it. Here it is.

BacksplashTileOver the next few days, I’ll show you how I broke it down and created a small tile design. Stay tuned over the next couple of days for a special event as well.

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3 responses to “Zellig of Morocco

  1. I’ve worked with this one myself, back in my “caning” and diaper pattern phase – but it lost it’s “look” and charm when I had to turn the center portion so the angles were 90 and 45 degrees to accomodate the needlepoint canvas. I gave it up. I’ll be interested to see what you do with it, as your adaptations are totally different.

  2. I have to agree – I will be really interested in how you interpret this design source. Both the colours and the shapes.

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