Thursday, January 30, 2014

Exposé Artisanal - Linking Up With the Artisans of the Fez Medina

Exposé Artisanal is an exciting initiative that aims to create opportunities to meet and speak with artisans in the Fez Medina. Next Monday February 3 at 6 pm an event will be held at ALIF Riad to present the project

Too often visitors to the Medina only glimpse the artisans who create the arts and crafts for which Fez is justifiably famous. Too few have a chance to sit and exchange stories. Now that is about to change and a window will be opened onto the real personalities behind the beautiful objects they produce.

Exposé Artisanal intends to bring the artisans into direct contact with writers, researchers and journalists and to provide translators. For those involved there will be workshops on blogging and storytelling so that the most can be made of the material they gather. A pop-up museum, exhibition, and a book is planned.  A blog - Artisans of Morocco - is already up and running. Exposé Artisanal offers a unique opportunity to foster a new appreciation of the talent and traditions behind the crafts people of Fez and celebrate the influence of their unique heritage on the wider world. Thejournalists, researchers and artists material has the opportunity to be on a blog, in the pop up museum and or in the final book on the artisans of Fez. By sitting with an artisan and documenting their story they are contributing to the wider community that supports the Fassi crafts.

 Jess Stephens

The driving force behind Exposé Artisanal is the dynamic Jess Stephens who heads up Culture Vultures. As she tells it, "the artisans are wonderful characters and their stories are as interesting as the works they produce."  As she talks her eyes light up and her passion for the project is obvious. 'Even though there are between thirty and forty thousand artisans working in traditional trades and crafts in the Medina, many of the traditions are in danger of being lost - the wooden bucket makers are rare now, as are the comb makers and the last weaver of grass mats has gone. But through this work we will be able to celebrate the personalities of traditional artisans."

Mohammed Saili is the last of the comb makers on Derb Mechatin

The project is not a one way experience. Every one of the artisans involved will be part of the "give back" programme which will see them receive copies of all photographs, publications and documentation.

Another facet of the project is to inspire young Moroccans not only to appreciate the traditional crafts of Fez, but to get involved.

Fund raising for Exposé Artisanal is a crowd funding exercise and although just launched, is off to a great start. You can find out more and donate by visiting: Exposé Artisanal    

If you are in Fez, then this coming Monday there is a buzz event at the Alif Riad at 6pm. You are most welcome to attend.

When: Monday February 3 at 6 PM
Where: ALIF Riad, 6 Derb Drissi, Fez. (If you don’t know where it is, meet at Batha Fountain at 5.50 PM.)


             Donate here
Culture Vultures:  Support the Fassi Artisans
Facebook:              Artisans of Morocco 

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