TRADITIONAL WEAVING/MODERN DESIGN…..CUSTOM RUGS AND KILIMS

Autumn ’17 will hopefully see me returning to Morocco for a visit to one of two workshops in the Atlas Mountains.   This is located in Azrou (a gruelling 6 hours drive from Marrakech) a town around 90 kilometres south of Fez in Ifrane.  The cedar forests and monkeys are what draw visitors to the town, but it is also home to an important Berber market and the origin of Beni Mguild carpets, colourful rugs woven with a thick pile to protect against the cold winters of the region.  Here we have 150 women working their magic, using traditional weaving techniques to create modern pieces on vertical looms.  This is where our pile rugs are woven and a carpet with the dimensions of approximately 3 x 2 metres can take around 25 days to weave.   Our second workshop is in the High Atlas region, where we have 50 women working, and is where our modern Berber kilims are woven.  This weaving technique is more complicated and the same size wool kilim can take 50 days to complete.  Finished pieces then make their way down to our Riad showroom, Bazar du Sud, in Marrakech Medina.  Showroom visits are always available by appointment.  Contact us here in the UK on 07746 727536 or in Morocco on 00212 661245401 and speak to El Yazid Lamdaghri.

We have samples of our modern Berber kilims here in the UK, and if you’re unsure of any colour or design, we can send these out on loan.  We are also happy to  provide a consultation service in your own home.  All of our modern Berber rugs and kilims can, of course, be made to your own size specification; although we do have a stock of ready made pieces in various designs and colourways in our Marrakech showroom.  The image below shows a blue kilim on the wall on the left, which is a beautiful example of modern Berber weaving.  Please get in touch if you would like to see any samples, images, or require any information on sizes and prices.  info@marbleandmint.co.uk.

INTERIOR TRENDS AUTUMN/WINTER 2017

Elle Decoration August Edition is out now, with everything you need to know about Autumn/Winter 2017 trends (yes we’re there already).  #1 is Fifties Colours.  I love these colour combinations, and this takes me back to my student days when my first room sheme was based on the designs from this period.

Fifties Colours – Photos Courtesy of Elle Decoration

Mustard yellows, pinks, burgundy and olive make up the season’s trending colours, and I can see the wildly abstract colours and designs of a vintage Boucherouite rug fitting perfectly with this colour palette.  We’re planning to add a collection of smaller size Boucherouite rugs to our collection very soon, with the idea that these easy care, washable rugs are ideal for a bathroom, so look out for those in our online shop soon.

#2 home trend is Global Fusion.  This is all about combining home accessories that you love and that express your personality, regardless of their style or origin.  In other words, anything goes, and I absolutely love this idea of cultural fusion.  I have objects that I’ve collected from Africa, India, Indonesia and Morocco and they all come together to create a completely original scheme.

Parisian home of Marina Coriasco, photo courtesy of Elle Decoration

 

Try mixing woven baskets, clay pots, wooden accessories and textile wall hangings.  The muted colours and organised tribal designs of our flatweave Kilims are perfect additions for this trend.  Don’t forget that if you don’t see the sizes you need in our online shop, we can created your perfect custom kilim in our workshop in the Atlas Mountains, with a lead time of approximately 6 weeks.

 

 

 

JEBEL SIROUA – MID-CENTURY KNOTTED RUGS

New to our website this week is a small collection of mid-century, hand knotted wool rugs from Jebel Siroua, in the southern High Atlas region.  This is a quiet corner of Morocco, rarely attracting visitors, where the local Berber people live a simple traditional life, grazing their sheep and farming almonds and saffron, for which the region is famous.

Photo courtesy of Adventure Peaks Limited

It is extremely cold in this part of the mountains, with snow usually covering the summit of Jebel Siroua in the winter (an ancient strato volcano) which can only be reached with ropes by professional climbers.  By Easter the snow melts, and Autumn sees the long, time consuming task of harvesting the saffron.  Carpets are woven here in the homes of the Berber tribes, and at any time if you visit you can see the weaving of carpets in production and enjoy a cup of saffron tea!

Check out our collection of rugs from this remote region, which are around 70-80 years old, and all completely unique.

SAMPLE SERVICE FOR MODERN BERBER KILIMS

As part of the introduction of our modern Berber range, we are pleased to be able to offer a sample service for our modern Kilims.  These are just a few of the sample sizes arriving from Marrakech shortly, they will be available in various colours and designs.  We understand how difficult it is to know exactly what the texture/weave/design of a flatweave is like and exactly how this will look in your own home and so, depending upon your location, we will be happy to either send out samples on loan, or come out to see you to have a chat about your requirements.  If you’re thinking about commissioning a bespoke modern Berber Kilim, or if you would just like to see a sample before ordering an off the peg piece, please get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.  info@marbleandmint.co.uk

 

MODERN WEAVING IN THE MOUNTAINS – BENI OUARAIN RUGS

With a wide spectrum of colours available, and the ability to specify your own size and even the design, modern Beni Ouarain rugs are becoming increasingly popular.  Using wool from sheep kept at high elevations (thick and soft) Berber women weave these rugs on vertical looms, in exactly the same way as they have been made for centuries. Each rug can take at least one month to complete, and is washed and dried in the sun many times to achieve its characteristic soft and silky texture.  The texture improves with each washing.

Our partner, a family business in Marrakech, Bazar du Sud, have their own workshop in the Anti Atlas region, an area of rocky outcrops and small villages, where their workforce arrive every morning to produce, for them exclusively,  their own designs and bespoke orders.  They travel the long journey into the mountains regularly to check on orders and to transport completed pieces back to Marrakech.  If you would like to commission a custom made Beni rug, or would like to see more of our stock in Marrakech, please email us at info@marbleandmint.co.uk.  We will be happy to help.

 

 

2016 …..THE BEST BITS, AND LOOKING FORWARD

Looking back over the last year, some of the best bits have to be seeing the photos from our amazing day shooting at The Roost and Dalston Heights in Hackney.  This montage has been put together by photographer Ann Ashfield.  Early in 2017 we’re planning to do a shoot at the very cool home of a friend in the music business.  With her huge vinyl collection and walls covered in gold, silver and platinum discs, that should be great fun!  We’ll keep you posted.

Looking forward to the coming year, we will be working more closely than ever with our partner/supplier Bazar du Sud in Marrakech.  Their inventory of both new and vintage carpets is second to none.  If you’re in Marrakech, and you would like to pay them a vist, let us know.  Yazid and his team will be sure to give you a very warm welcome.

Inspired by this amazing image, we’ll be adding some Beni Ouarain runners to our site over the next few days.  This is the first time I’ve actually seen a Beni stair runner, but after doing a bit of research, I found that this one was commissioned by Frances Elkins, legendary decorator and sister of architect David Adler, in 1929 for a Chicago interior.  Just stunning.  Happy New Year everyone!

WHAT IS ‘HYGGE’

‘Hygge’ is a word which seems to be appearing more and more in relation to interiors….I’ve been seeing it regularly on blogs, Instagram posts and magazines, but honestly had no real idea exactly what it meant.  So thank you Elle Decoration UK, for your definitive guide to hygge in your January 2017 Winter Living Issue, which explains all!  Hygge is a Danish word which encompasses the idea of cosiness and well being, it’s all about taking pleasure in life, whatever it is that you’re doing.  Their article includes four great book titles for those who are interested in the Danish way of living well.

When it comes to interiors, obviously we’re really talking about comfort and cosiness, and this is especially apt for the winter season……sheepskin, faux fur, fireside rugs, soft warm lighting and candles.  Elle Deco have put together a winter warmers wish list, which includes (of course!) a soft and fluffy Beni Ouarain rug.  Check out our collection of modern Beni rugs, in perfect fireside sizes, to keep your feet warm as toast this winter.  Happy holidays!

Photo Credit Elle Decoration UK

 

COSY BENI OUARAIN RUGS FOR THE WINTER SEASON

We’re into the middle of November, and even though Christmas is everywhere already, it’s still a little early for me to be thinking earnestly about the festive season!  What is nice though, and never too early to consider, is how to make your home warm and cosy, not just for Christmas, but to see you through the long cold months ahead.  A pure wool rug, with a soft deep pile is the perfect addition to any room for the Winter season.

My December issue of Elle Decoration UK recently arrived, and features a beautiful vintage Beni Ouarain rug, which sits perfectly next to the simple Christmas fir trees in this Danish home photographed by Birgitta Wolfgang.  This simple Scandinavian style setting is stunning, but with their classic designs and monochrome colours, Beni rugs sit easily with any interior style.  We have some beautiful vintage Beni rugs available in our stock in Marrakech, but we also offer as an alternative a collection of modern rugs, woven from the finest quality wool using traditional weaving techniques.  Take a look at our sample size sale, a collection of rugs in the perfect size for sitting in front of a sofa, the fire, or underneath a small table.  After weaving, these modern rugs are washed and dried up to eight times, and it’s this repeated washing which improves the appearance and texture of the wool, giving it a luxuriously soft silkiness. Perfect for sinking your feet into!  Buying a good quality rug like this is an investment, and with the right care it can and should last you a lifetime, not just for Christmas!

BENI OUARAIN RUGS – BLACK OR BROWN?

Trawling through the internet this morning to find a suitable image to illustrate the difference between ‘black’ and ‘brown’ designs on a Beni Ouarain rug.  Unfortunately we don’t know the source of this beautiful photo, but you can clearly see that the classic lattice design on this lovely Beni rug is woven in brown wool.  So what is the difference? and how can you know what you are buying?  It is often very difficult to tell from photos whether a design is in fact brown or black. If you’re working with a neutral palette, either brown or black will probably work in a room, but we are often asked by clients specifically for a Beni rug with a ‘black’ design.

You can find vintage Beni rugs woven with either brown or black designs, but ‘black’ will often have faded down to a lovely charcoal grey over years of use and washing.  However, it is worth noting that contemporary Beni Ouarain rugs woven with undyed wool are invariably woven with a brownish coloured wool, the reason for this is simply that wool from pure black sheep has become increasingly difficult to source.  Therefore if you do find a modern Beni rug with a black design, you can probably assume that the wool has been dyed.  This doesn’t detract from its beauty in any way of course!  If you are looking specifically for a rug with a black design, we will do our best to find one for you, and this often involves getting some really good close up photos of the rug to double check the colour of the design.  A custom made rug can, of course, be made in the colour of your choice

info@marbleandmint.co.uk

SOURCING IN MARRAKECH

We will be back in Marrakech at the end of this month, spending time in the Souk des Tapis, living and breathing rugs for a while!  If you know what you’re looking for, Marrakech is still a great place to source both vintage and contemporary Moroccan rugs.  We are lucky enough to work in hand in hand with a very well established family business there who have a knowledge of the history of their rugs built up over generations of trading.   We don’t claim to know absolutely everything about Moroccan rugs, it’s a continual learning curve for us, but what we don’t know they can certainly tell us!  They have a very large stock available on the ground in Marrakech, which they source direct from the weavers.  If there is anything special you are looking for, a particular size or style of rug, please let us know, we will always do our best to find your perfect rug.  Our special relationship with our supplier means they will always be on the lookout for our clients’ requirements.   We are also regularly updated and have first dibs on any new and interesting rugs in their collection.  Their excellent weavers in the Atlas mountains also supply our beautiful custom made Beni Ouarain rugs.  Please get in touch if you would like any more information on any of our stock either in the UK or Marrakech.  We would love to hear from you!  info@marbleandmint.co.uk