Kenza Elazkem

Kenza Elazkem was born and raised in Marrakech, Morocco. She later moved to the United States to finish high school and pursue a degree in Political Science at the University of Texas in San Antonio. During her undergraduate studies, she participated in an exchange program at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. Kenza's interest for development started then. After completing her degree, Kenza joined the Carter Center for an internship in the field of democracy and election observation. She is currently pursuing a dual master's degree in International and Sustainable development between Hankuk University for Foreign Studies in South Korea, and the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica. Kenza taught English at a rural primary school in Costa Rica and also joined a women's Capoeira collective. She is eager to learn more about the world and enjoys cooking, traveling and sharing. After the fellowship, she wrote: "The best aspect of the fellowship was to see the process of carpet making and sharing meals with the women's families. Through the fellowship, I have learned the NGO jargon in Arabic. I am also more aware of my surroundings and pay more attention to detail now." Contact: kelazkem@advocacynet.org



Weaving Art

22 Oct

Weaving Art

Now that my fellowship have come to an end. I will dedicate this last blog entry to the women’s fascinating knowledge on weaving and their art. Since I arrived in Ain Leuh, the women of the cooperative have been working on different orders of carpets. Customers will sometimes ask for certain product that the women had previously made. The most interesting facet of their work is their ability to memorize patterns, work through colors and what seems as an infinite number of threads.


Mahma working her way through numerous threads to create a pattern

The people of Ain Leuh are part of the bigger Beni M’guild tribe. The region where they live is characterized by cold snowy winters. The rugs made in this area are thick in pile knot used to protect families from the cold. Beni M’guild rugs are made on vertical looms and have geometric designs running the length of the carpet against aubergine or red backgrounds, sometimes even blue ones. When I arrived here, I was expecting to see this kind of rug but I quickly came to understand that the women at the cooperative have accumulated considerable knowledge and can make different kinds of carpets using different techniques. The women master flatweave carpets, knotted pile carpets and woven ones. They are at ease working with wool, cotton, synthetic materials or blends. 

The women are also very versatile in their work. Besides, Beni M’guild rugs, the women can make rugs with other designs from other regions of Morocco. During my ten-week stay with the women I have seen them weave Zerbia (knotted pile carpet), Henbel (flat-weaved), Djellaba (a thick fabric used for traditional garnment), Heddouna (Moroccan wedding blankets), Bettania (banket using Taderrazt technique), Hiytti (woven material used to decorate walls), and Boucherwit (a carpet made using scrap fabric). I have also witnessed the women collaborating with some artists who would give them sketches that the women would bring to life in a carpet.


Khadija and Saadia with their finished product

You might think that they are weavers and should be able to know all of these things. However, when you realize that these women do not have any patterns or sketches to remind them of a certain design or technique. They solely rely on their memory and each other to execute their art. The women say that this was the way they learnt and that they do not feel the need to use patterns or sketches. They know exactly how many threads on the to hold forward and how many need to be backward to make a lozenge or a saw.

As admirable as this is, I fear the loss of this art form in the near future. The last apprentice to come in to the cooperative is Jamila, who joined the women about ten years ago. When I asked the women why they are not taking in other apprentices, they said they cannot afford to teach other women due to the cooperative’s financial situation. They explained that in order to have an apprentice, they need to make enough money to allow for mistakes and material to be lost. They also pointed to the fact that young women prefer to learn other skills these days such as sewing, cooking or hairdressing. These skills give them the choice to migrate to cities and find jobs. Carpet making does not guarantee a stable income anymore.

Making a carpet can take a woman up to two months and she might only receive the equivalent of about a hundred dollars for her work. Consumers now have access to cheaper products made industrially and for cheaper prices. I am not sure what is the best way to preserve this art form and ensure the women of the cooperative a steady income and sustainability of their art form, but the Advocacy Project is working with them through Peace Fellows such as myself.

So thank you to the Advocacy Project for helping people in my country keep their traditions and ensuring them a dignified life through your advocacy.

Thank you to all the women who welcomed me to the cooperative and to their homes.

Thank you to the people of Ain Leuh for making me feel at home.

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Weaving Art<\/strong><\/p>\n\n

Now that my fellowship have come to an end. I will dedicate this last blog entry to the women\u2019s fascinating knowledge on weaving and their art. Since I arrived in Ain Leuh, the women of the cooperative have been working on different orders of carpets. Customers will sometimes ask for certain product that the women had previously made. The most interesting facet of their work is their ability to memorize patterns, work through colors and what seems as an infinite number of threads.<\/p>\n\n

\n

\n\t

\n\t\t

\"\"
\nMahma working her way through numerous threads to create a pattern<\/span><\/span><\/b><\/td>\n\t<\/tr>\n<\/tbody>\n<\/table>\n\n

The people of Ain Leuh are part of the bigger Beni M\u2019guild tribe. The region where they live is characterized by cold snowy winters. The rugs made in this area are thick in pile knot used to protect families from the cold. Beni M\u2019guild rugs are made on vertical looms and have geometric designs running the length of the carpet against aubergine or red backgrounds, sometimes even blue ones. When I arrived here, I was expecting to see this kind of rug but I quickly came to understand that the women at the cooperative have accumulated considerable knowledge and can make different kinds of carpets using different techniques. The women master flatweave carpets, knotted pile carpets and woven ones. They are at ease working with wool, cotton, synthetic materials or blends. <\/p>\n\n

The women are also very versatile in their work. Besides, Beni M\u2019guild rugs, the women can make rugs with other designs from other regions of Morocco. During my ten-week stay with the women I have seen them weave Zerbia (knotted pile carpet), Henbel (flat-weaved), Djellaba (a thick fabric used for traditional garnment), Heddouna (Moroccan wedding blankets), Bettania (banket using Taderrazt technique), Hiytti (woven material used to decorate walls), and Boucherwit (a carpet made using scrap fabric). I have also witnessed the women collaborating with some artists who would give them sketches that the women would bring to life in a carpet.<\/p>\n\n

\n

\n\t

\n\t\t

\"\"
\nKhadija and Saadia with their finished product<\/span><\/span><\/b><\/td>\n\t<\/tr>\n<\/tbody>\n<\/table>\n\n

You might think that they are weavers and should be able to know all of these things. However, when you realize that these women do not have any patterns or sketches to remind them of a certain design or technique. They solely rely on their memory and each other to execute their art. The women say that this was the way they learnt and that they do not feel the need to use patterns or sketches. They know exactly how many threads on the to hold forward and how many need to be backward to make a lozenge or a saw.<\/p>\n\n

As admirable as this is, I fear the loss of this art form in the near future. The last apprentice to come in to the cooperative is Jamila, who joined the women about ten years ago. When I asked the women why they are not taking in other apprentices, they said they cannot afford to teach other women due to the cooperative\u2019s financial situation. They explained that in order to have an apprentice, they need to make enough money to allow for mistakes and material to be lost. They also pointed to the fact that young women prefer to learn other skills these days such as sewing, cooking or hairdressing. These skills give them the choice to migrate to cities and find jobs. Carpet making does not guarantee a stable income anymore.<\/p>\n\n

Making a carpet can take a woman up to two months and she might only receive the equivalent of about a hundred dollars for her work. Consumers now have access to cheaper products made industrially and for cheaper prices. I am not sure what is the best way to preserve this art form and ensure the women of the cooperative a steady income and sustainability of their art form, but the Advocacy Project is working with them through Peace Fellows such as myself.<\/p>\n\n

So thank you to the Advocacy Project for helping people in my country keep their traditions and ensuring them a dignified life through your advocacy.<\/p>\n\n

Thank you to all the women who welcomed me to the cooperative and to their homes.<\/p>\n\n

Thank you to the people of Ain Leuh for making me feel at home.<\/p>“,”class”:””}]}[/content-builder]

Posted By Kenza Elazkem

Posted Oct 22nd, 2015

106 Comments

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    November 10, 2015

     

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