Meriem belongs to the Women-Only Association that is located in the Village of Anzal, located about 30 km north of the popular weaving town, Tazenakht. The Anzal collective was founded in 2007 and is kept alive by women passing the craft down through the generations. Meriem, is our lead artisan on the ground being the liaison for all our custom orders.
When did you learn how to weave and who taught you?
I was around ten years old, studying at the fifth level of elementary school when I was first taught how to weave.
Whenever I had free time, my Mom, Malika (pictured below,) and my sister, Fatima, would teach me how to weave.
The first technique they taught me was the Hand-Knot style.
A year after learning how to weave, my Mom set-up a small loom and allowed me to make a small pillow, all by myself. Looking back I remember not wanting anyone else to help me with the pillow, I was so excited to do it alone and having full authority over how the design was brought to life. I still have this pillow today and whenever I see it I get reminded of my childhood.
Growing up, weaving and the tools associated with the craft were my version of toys.
Do you have a favorite technique to weave?
While the Hand-Knot technique is my favorite style to weave it’s hard for me to just choose one as I appreciate all rugs woven by women’s hands.
That said, I find the Hand-Knot technique to be the most relaxing.
What rug do you cherish the most?
The first Hand-Knot rug that I ever made representing my surrounding village. The centerpiece of the rug represented a river that was filled with fish and on either side of the river I created a series of symbols that were representative of rocks.
I love to create designs that are inspired by nature.
Also, I really admire all the rugs from the Ait Ouaouzguite tribe, they are full of symbolism and meaning that reminds me of my ancestors.
What do you love to do beyond weaving?
Since I was not able to finish my education I love to spend as much of my time as possible reading and learning about the history and cultures of the world. I love to travel around to surrounding villages and hope to one day travel the world to experience other cultures firsthand.
I like to set goals for my growth and reaching my hopes and dreams brings me joy.
Thanks so much for the inspiring convo, Meriem! Shop pieces woven by Meriem and her colleagues below!
Translated by Abdellatif Mouhsine. Please note that some answers may have been edited or condensed for the sake of clarity.