Khadija and her mother-in-law Mbarka were the first artisans we ever worked with and through the years they have become our extended family. Residing just outside the old Village of Tazenakht, this mother-daughter duo has been weaving together for decades. They both specialize in the intricate Hanbel technique and, depending on how big the rug is, they will enlist the help of their neighbors, cousins, or siblings to help complete the piece.
When did you learn how to weave and who taught you?
I grew up in Idboukhtir, a village in the southeast of Morocco, which has a long history of weaving. With only 197 residents, the village relies primarily on agriculture and weaving for income.
When I was 13 years old, my mom started teaching my sister and me how to weave. While my mom and aunts spent most of the day weaving, I would join them for a couple of hours. The rest of the time, I helped my mom take care of the house, cooked for my siblings, and tended to our animals.
At the age of 20, I married my husband Mohammed and moved an hour away to Tazenakht, where he was born and raised. I continued weaving with my mother-in-law, Mbarka, who guided me in mastering various techniques.
Do you have a favorite technique to weave?
I love the Intricate Hanbel technique. It allows me to combine all the techniques into one rug. It's also a way for me to honor my late mother by incorporating the symbols she taught me into this style.
What rug do you cherish the most?
The most cherished rug for me is the one I was making with my mother-in-law when I first met Abdellatif and Mallory [Salam Hello.]
They have become our family and have provided us with a steady income since we first met in 2019.
This support was especially impactful in 2020 when my husband had limited work opportunities. The custom orders we received from Salam Hello helped us sustain ourselves and even allowed us to remodel our home.
What do you love to do beyond weaving?
Apart from weaving, I love spending time with my three children: Wissal (18), Salwa (16), and Souhail (10).
I also enjoy cooking, as it is a very relaxing activity for me. Making boutdount (a stuffed bread) and goat tagines are among my favorite dishes to prepare.
Thanks so much for the inspiring convo, Khadija! Shop pieces woven by Khadija below!
Translated by Abdellatif Mouhsine. Please note that some answers may have been edited or condensed for the sake of clarity.