Beni Ourain Rugs and their Women Weavers
At Souks du Monde we believe that much good can come out of shopping with consciousness. For us, a huge part of this means knowing where the item you purchase comes from and who made it. That's why we've teamed up directly with women cooperatives in Morocco to weave and supply our rugs. We would like to share with you what we learned from our women weavers on our last trip and how your Moroccan rug is made.
It is common knowledge that the women in the Berber tribes of the Atlas mountains are the rug weavers. Their traditions of rug weaving have been passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Perhaps not as common knowledge is exactly how these women create unique, one-of-a-kind rugs. We went to a Berber village in the Atlas mountains to check out some Beni Ourain rugs and got to see a group of women relatives working together on one of the large looms.
The women work on one rug at a time, in between their household duties and taking care of their children. Rug weaving is certainly a technical task; it can take weeks or months to complete a rug, given its size and the amount of time the women can dedicate to weaving. For these women, rug weaving is a time to spend with their family members, a means of passing down a generational tradition, a lucrative hobby, and a break from chores. They were chatting and laughing while they wove, as they explained that their time spent weaving is a time for women to spend together as they complete a task collectively.
Common motifs and themes emerge in Beni Ourain rugs, as each piece is indeed a work of art and an expression of the artisans who create it. Themes such as birth, nature, femininity, and rural life, as well as symbols of luck or barriers of evil, are common in Moroccan rugs.
Sunbathing Moroccan rugs, drying out after their cleaning
The rug weaving starts with shearing sheep wool, traditionally from the sheep herded amongst the nomadic tribes, many of which still exist today. Berber rugs are woven from natural wool, considered to be the highest quality in all of Morocco. The fleece is cleaned and scoured before being hand spun into yarn. Over the next few weeks, weavers knot individual pieces of yarn into the warp, or the vertical threads that are the rug's foundation, to create the thick pile that is so popular of Beni Ourain rugs. In the video below you can hear the women beating down the knots so that they are tight and even. As the knotting process can take months, and the wool can become dirty, the finished piece is washed two or three more times and dried outside in the sun until it is soft.
Once the rug is ready, it is shipped and arrives at your doorstep within a week!
Check out the Beni Ourain rugs that these talented women made in our collection, with traditional Diamond motifs on cream-colored backgrounds, polka dots, runners, and flatweave styles. Our newest collection of custom made Beni Ourain rugs allows you to choose the color and size rug that best fits your space.
If you do not see what you are looking for, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. We would love to find something that suits you!