We recently discovered a small weaving collective in southern Morocco where the women create finely detailed flatweave carpets called "akhnif" or, map rugs. Aknif rugs are thought to be an iteration of more traditional weavings. The lively motifs represent their surroundings: water and mountains and more; their hand spun wool yarn is naturally dyed.
The collective is overseen by Aisha who serves as president. She married and raised seven children and is now a grandmother. She never had an opportunity to attend school but as a child learned to knit and weave. Twelve years ago she was widowed and first started to earn money to support her family by breeding cattle.
Encouraged by an American group to weave akhnif rugs, to earn a better living, Aisha helped organize other women and formed a cooperative. She sees the cooperative as a way that “all women will be able to have decent lives, be independent and do what they love to do. She hopes that one day she will visit Mecca to do a Hajj.”
Another very talented weaver in the collective is Kabira is married with three school age children. While she wasn’t able to attend school, she learned to read as an adult through a local literacy program. She has been weaving since childhood and feels a sense of pride to be able to contribute to her family’s income by doing something she thoroughly enjoys. She loves to create “extraordinary pieces and to innovate” and is grateful to the cooperative for giving her experience, friendships and a job. She looks forward to the future with a sense of hope and “can’t wait to see her children grow up and get married and have a full life of joy and delights.”
With proper care these hardwearing rugs will last a life time. We see these rugs as a fabulous accent complimenting a wide range of home decor.
The rugs may be hand washed with soap and water or dry cleaned. Lay flat to dry.