Meet the Artisan is an interview series where we dive deeper into the background of the Amazigh artisans who are the backbone of Salam Hello. Our mission is to preserve and share the tradition and symbolism—from our artisans’ hands to your home. Each interview explores their history with the weaving tradition, how and when they were taught and what they like to do beyond the loom.
Rokia 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.
When did you learn how to weave and who taught you?
I attended primary school for two years before my mom withdrew me from school. Following that, I embarked on a journey to learn the art of weaving from her when I was just 9 years old.
My mom not only imparted the skill of weaving but also taught me the intricacies of dyeing wool, preparing it, and setting up the loom. The cherished memories of those moments when we wove together during my childhood remain close to my heart.
Do you have a favorite technique to weave?
I have a deep appreciation for all the weaving techniques from the regionI grew up in, but my absolute favorite is the Zanafi technique.
It's both challenging and incredibly rewarding. This weave stands out as one of the more intricate ones, demanding intense concentration, especially for beginners, yet it yields a stunningly beautiful design.
What rug do you cherish the most?
I have a love for the Intricate Hanbel because it seamlessly blends various weaving techniques. This rug is truly unique, as it harmoniously combines both flat and embroidered methods, adding a distinct dimension to the final product. As a weaver, it brings me great joy to exercise my creativity, incorporating numerous symbols into my designs to make each piece truly one-of-a-kind.
Recently, my best friend Khatima and I collaborated on a rug design that skillfully blends Zanafi, Flatweave, and embroidery techniques. It's truly captivating to weave these techniques together, weaving a symbolic narrative into every knot of the rug.
What do you love to do beyond weaving?
I love to work around my home. I spend a lot of time taking care of my family, as well as raising and looking after my cows and goats, which require a lot of work. Additionally, fostering a sense of community holds significant importance in our village, and I take pleasure in connecting with fellow women who may require assistance and support.
Thanks so much for the inspiring convo, Rokia! Shop pieces woven by Rokia and her colleagues here and below!
Translated by Abdellatif Mouhsine. Please note that some answers may have been edited or condensed for the sake of clarity.