All images: (c) Berber ART.
The first Selvedge World Fair takes place online, 3 – 5 September 2020. On the blog, in the run up to the virtual event - a celebration of cloth, culture and creativity – we will profile some of the 100 artisans taking part. Today, we look at Hocine Bazine, a master carpet weaver from Algeria and owner of Berber ART. The company’s authentic Berber hand-woven rugs are made with 100% sheep’s wool and pearl cotton fibres, woven in the traditional way, to be used as rugs or wall hangings. Berber ART is based in the heart of Algeria, in the city of Ghardaia, known as "the pearl of the oasis." A UNESCO protected historic city, it is the home of the native Amazigh (Berber) Tribe, the “Beni Mzab”.
Bazine explains his passion for weaving, “Since my childhood I adored weaving Berber rugs and I started learning the basics from my grandmother. Starting from wool: short, rather rough or rather thin, long and lustrous, and it depends on [the] district in which sheep get [raised], from parts of the body from which the wool is sheared and the natural colourful “undyed “ scale of a wool in its various shades from white up to yellow, from brown and grey up to black. In addition to the making of fibres, arranging lines on the traditional hand-loom.”
The Berber loom “is composed of two vertical posts, which are set into the ground, with cross bars joined at top and bottom. Men generally perform the assembly of the loom, but once constructed it is fairly portable, and efficiently the warp threads are wound around the vertical posts and a heddle rod is attached. No shuttle is used typically; the weft is passed by hand. Constant combing creates a weft-faced fabric there is a distinct front and back to each side, with knots covering the back face. Hand loom is a slow process that allows for the creation of highly detailed Berber patterns.”
Buy traditional hand-woven Berber ART rugs at Selvedge World Fair, 3 – 5 September.
For more information and to buy tickets to access shopping, workshops and talks, visit www.selvedge.org.
With the animals and birds, I’d guess your rug is what I call a Moroccan ’children’s rug’ because of the whimsical designs that appeal to children; they are good for children’s rooms. I don’t think there’s one area that specializes in this style, though many come from Khemisset, about 90 minutes from the capital of Rabat and site of a weekly rug market. I haven’t seen them made south of Marrakesh. Be careful having it cleaned; the colors in these rugs often run when wet, so the white designs will turn the dominant color in the rug. if you go to a shop with Oriental rugs they should know how to do it safely.
We have a Berber hand-woven rug which we bought in Tangier’s a number of years back. It is embellished with similar motifs to the latter two images but includes stylised buildings, animals and birds. We would like to know more about its design and origin and also like to have it cleaned if possible. Can anyone help with this please?