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How to Custom Order Moroccan Rugs with Kantara's Artisans

The Style Guide is a resource for clients and interior designers looking for Moroccan rug inspiration for residential and commercial interiors. This catalog showcases rugs from different tribal regions (Bein Ourain, Azilal, Ait Ouaouzguite, Glaoui), and rugs made from different materials and different weave structures (flat weave, high pile, low pile, or mixed).

Click here
 to view the whole guide.

We encourage clients to weigh in on the following rug specifications:

COLOR: How bright and vibrant do you want the colors? Most rugs in Morocco, including vintage rugs, were made with synthetically dyed wool or wool bought in the local souk (market). We can make rugs with vegetable dyes or natural dyes and the rugs will have an earthy, muted tone. We can also color match allowing you to choose from a full spectrum of colors.

LEAD TIME: Once the design is finalized it will take the women 6-10 weeks to weave the rugs, depending on size of the order, size of the rug, and complexity.

SIZE: Rug size is determined by loom size, which is informed by the size of the largest wall in the weaver's home or the weaving cooperative. Kantara partners with artisans that can weave up to 15 feet in width and to unlimited lengths. 

PRICING: per square foot. Reach out for a consult and quote.

 

Return to Tamazgha video

Return to Tamazgha

Film by Alia Kate

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The art of weaving in Morocco is one that is championed by women living in the mostly rural areas of Morocco's Middle and High Atlas region. This short documentary tone poem, compiled on a recent buying trip to Morocco, chronicles the process of weaving from start to finish, highlighting artisan groups that Kantara has worked with for many years.

First visit with the artisans

Besides being the place where I first ate liver meat, it was in the Boujaad kitchens where I first witnessed the entire weaving process for Moroccan rugs. After going to sleep early with the girls, we woke up at the break of dawn to tend to the animals, bring in water from the well, and make the day’s supply of round bread for the family. 

The family I was staying with figured out early on that I was excited about rug weaving. Once the chores of the day had subsided a bit, they eagerly sat me down, mint tea in hand, and broke it down for me.

Motioning out the door to their livestock they explained how the raw wool in their hands came straight from the shearing of their own sheep. Before I knew it, the women were teaching me how to card wool and spin it. I sat transfixed as I watched the lump of raw, unclean wool turn into a feathery, airy wave of wool only to be turned once more into a tough, sinewy fiber and rolled into a ball of yarn.

The women performed the tasks so effortlessly as they communed over mint tea, watched the infants, and simultaneously tried to teach me.

They delighted in my awkward handling of the tools, hid their grins at the uneven lumpy string that I produced, and laughed uncontrollably at my unrelenting resolve to do it better. To them, weaving was something they had always done. All the blankets and rugs we had slept on the previous night were hand-woven in that very room. To them, weaving was a way of life-- of their life, to be precise. 

Behind their well-meaning grins and laughs, I could tell they were trying to figure out why I, an urban American woman visiting from the capital of Rabat, would want to learn about the ins and outs of rug-weaving from rural Moroccan women?

That day was my first experience with weaving Moroccan rugs, however it would not be the last. I was hooked.

Fair Trade

The nine principles of the Fair Trade movement are as follows:

  1. Creating opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers
  2. Developing transparent and accountable relationships
  3. Building capacity
  4. Promoting fair trade
  5. Paying promptly and fairly
  6. Supporting safe and empowering working conditions
  7. Ensuring the rights of children
  8. Cultivating environmental stewardship
  9. Respecting cultural identity

The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is the trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade. The Federation is part of the global fair trade movement, building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty. 

On the FTF application under each of these overarching goals there is a series of follow up questions to make sure each brand is thinking about all the appropriate angles while working with the producers. Kantara applied to be part of the Fair Trade Federation in 2008 and was accepted in earlier this year. 

About Kantara's founder, Alia Kate

Hello! My name is Alia and I'm the founder of Kantara, a fair trade business that imports handwoven rugs directly from women artisans in Morocco. I have been living and working in Morocco since 2005 and while I am now based in New York, I return to Morocco quite frequently.

I first began this business by taking a plunge into rural Morocco and the world of weaving. In the US, I worked with various guilds and professional weavers in the hopes of learning a little bit about the complex craft of weaving. In Morocco, I became an astute learner of not only Darija, the Moroccan dialect, but also of the Amazigh languages that are spoken in Morocco's rural areas.


The result of both of these efforts is evident throughout the blog-- a delicate understanding of the nature of weaving in Morocco. For more information about buying or custom-ordering Moroccan rugs from Kantara, check out the website.

Note: Since 2014, Kantara is based out of Los Angeles although we still work with boutiques and our showroom in New York.