Friday, February 26, 2010

Weaving on Horizontal Looms in Morocco

While the weaving I focus on with Kantara Crafts is a type of weaving that has traditionally been relegated to Moroccan women, the men in Morocco are also responsible for a type of weaving. Surprisingly these men (almost) single-handedly produce not only all of the country's cloth and fabric for garment production, but also its colorful bedspreads and scarves for tourist markets.

This distinction between the two types of weaving goes back to the olden days when women's mobility was a greater obstacle in their participation in the workforce. Since the horizontal looms are large and bulky, they are more often than not housed in a central workshop in town. Whereas the women had a hard time leaving their homes to weave on these enormous apparatuses, they were nonetheless encouraged to weave at home, on their vertical looms, which consequently took up no space and could be assembled easily in any room of the house, the kitchen included.

As we are now in a new decade of a new century, it seems that some of these old norms are starting to change and women are trying their hands at weaving on these Harrisville-style horizontal looms.

As you can see in the video, however, the women are much slower at the task as they are just now learning how to use these mechanized horizontal looms.

At the end of the day, however, let it be said, that as someone who has woven on one of these types of foot-pedal-and-bells-and-whistle horizontal looms, the caliber of the weaving, and the intricacy of the textile that is produced on the women's vertical looms is much higher than those textiles produced on the horizontal looms.

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