High Atlas

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  • 1. Women's Cooperative of Imghlaus

    Up a dusty slope from the village of Imghlaus, in the Aït Bougamez valley, is a small, unassuming hut where you'd never know that inside was a veritable furor of singing voices and busy fingers. Inside, about 15 women create exquisite carpets in an organized production line. This cooperative is part of a fair-trade program that ensures the creators get the profits, with no middlemen involved. You can witness the fabrication process from beginning to end: the wool being cleaned, brushed, spun, and then fed through the loom. They’ll also show you the natural tints they use: walnut for brown, petals for yellow, and a scarlet root for red. The women work in two shifts and it can take upward of a month to create a large rug. Design is important here; in Aït Bougmez, expect to find a certain motif repeated, and the older women may have this same motif tattooed on their chins or foreheads, an ancient tradition that revealed identity and was seen as beautiful. Prices vary, but expect a minimum of approximately 1,000 DH for a medium-size rug. You can buy directly here, or order online and have it mailed. There are also smaller items for sale.

    Ait Bougmez, Béni Mellal-Khénifra, Morocco
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