Monday, October 10, 2011

An Artisan in Fez

Wood turning equipment, as any DIY enthusiast knows, does not come cheaply. However, it does not have to be that way. In the old Medina of Fez, there are thousands of artisans producing beautiful work with the most basic of tools.

Sidi Mohammed Belmajdoub is a fine example. For the last few decades he has been producing beautiful objects from cedar, thuja, lemon wood and rosewood. And he does it all by hand and foot.

From exquisite chess sets to spinning-tops, from small boxes to large spinning-wheels, Si Mohammed produces them all.

Approaching his small workshop on the Talaa K'bira, the first thing you notice is the smell of cedar. The next thing that strikes you is the lack of noise. His hand-turned lathe is absolutely silent. First he fixes the piece of wood he is working on onto the lathe and then guiding his chisel with his foot he rapidly produces the finished object.

Si Mohammed's products are sort after, not just by the passing tourists, but by local Moroccans, who say his work is some of the finest in the Medina.

Fixing a piece of cedar in place
The lathe is driven by the simple bow on the left
The chisel is guided by his right foot
The piece takes shape in a matter of seconds
A perfectly functional spinning wheel

A dazzling array of beautifully finished products
Photographs: Sandy McCutcheon


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oui, en tant que tourneur,c'est un artisan exceptionnel de la talaa kbira!
Cela dit, tous les objets en thuya sont directement importés d'Essaouira.
Bonne fin de soirée!