Claude Le Roux is a French businessman with a vision. His love affair with the Fez Medina prompted him to find a way of giving something back to the community and has resulted in a unique project. Working with a Moroccan family he has developed a programme that brings artisans and travellers together.
|Claude Le Roux and Haj Abid Belkaid|
Four times a week visitors to Fez now have the opportunity to work with a malam - a master of the craft - in producing an object that they have made themselves. But, as Claude points out, it is not so much about the object, as joining in and "experiencing the spirit of Moroccan artisans".
"The idea is to organise workshops for travellers rather than tourists," says Le Roux. "In three hours they have the opportunity to really get in touch with the people they are learning from".
The workshops are held in the historic Palais Glaoui which Claude Le Roux chose because of "the spirit of the place". Instruction is in French. but plans are underway to offer them in English
The first of the traditional crafts the workshops are presenting is that of plaster carving or stucco work. For this part of the project he teamed up with local malam Hafid Belkaid, who last week ran the first of the workshops. They turned out to be a great success. Two of the participants, a French couple, were thrilled by the process and very pleased that at the end of the workshop they not only had a better understanding of the work, but had also created a small carved plaster piece to take home with them.
|"All my own work!" - stucco carving of "Fez" in Arabic|
Project manager, Haj Abid Belkaid says that in the future the project aims to include other artisan crafts such as zellij (tile) work, decorative wood painting and tadlacht (polished plaster). Each will be run by a malam who loves his craft and with an assistant to ensure the participants "discover and love Morocco in a new way". As Le Roux says. "It is about people, culture, and the spirit of the country. Visitors who do not understand the culture now have a door or window into the culture."
Participants in each workshop are limited to eight so as to make certain they have a very personal experience. Haj Abid adds that he wants to "shed a light on the craft and to share what we have in common".
Price: 250 Dirhams per person
Haj Abid Belkaid
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