All about our Moroccan-made carpets

Berber rugs in Morocco are traditionally made by Berber women in rural areas of the country. It is an ancestral practice that has been passed down from generation to generation. Berber women often use their free time to weave carpets, which allows them to earn extra income for their families. The techniques of manufacture and the patterns of the carpets vary according to the regions of Morocco, which gives a great diversity in the styles and designs of the Berber carpets.

For the creation of Beni Ouarain rugs, a specific wool is used. This is sheep's wool from the mountainous regions of the Atlas, where sheep are raised in harsh climatic conditions. This wool is particularly thick, soft and durable, which makes it ideal for making strong and soft carpets.

The wool is carefully selected according to its quality, color and length. It is then washed and carded to remove impurities and knots, before being spun by hand or by machine to obtain woolen threads used for weaving carpets.

The choice of wool is a key element in the quality of Beni Ouarain rugs, as it not only affects their appearance, but also their durability and comfort.

Here are the general steps for making a Berber carpet in Morocco:

  1. The selection and preparation of the wool : The wool is carefully selected and sorted according to its quality, color and length. It is then washed and carded to remove impurities and knots.

  2. Dyeing : The wool is then dyed with natural dyes, such as madder, henna, indigo or cochineal, depending on the desired colors.

  3. Weaving : The loom is installed and the warp threads are stretched. The weaver then begins to weave the rug, using traditional techniques to create unique patterns and designs. The rug is woven by hand, which takes a lot of time and patience.

  4. Drawing and finishing : Once the carpet is finished, the weaver draws the patterns on the carpet with chalk or soap. The rug is then cut and fringed around the edges, and adjustments can be made to perfect the pattern.

  5. Washing and drying : The rug is washed with soap and water to remove all traces of dust or dirt. It is then hung to dry in the sun, allowing it to retain its shape and texture.

There are several types of Berber rugs in Morocco, each with distinct characteristics in terms of patterns, colors and weaving techniques. Here are the main ones:

  1. Beni Ouarain carpet : "Beni Ourain" is the name of the collective of 17 different Berber tribes who live in the Atlas Mountains. Thus, any rug woven by one of these Berber tribes is a Beni Ourain rug.

    In ancient times, some Beni Ourain tribes believed that carpets had the power to ward off evil spirits. They then incorporated design elements and lucky charms to provide protection against the evil eye and bring good luck and prosperity. Today, they are still thick and soft rugs highly sought after by designers and architects. They are usually white or cream with black or brown geometric patterns.

  2. Azilal rugs : These rugs are made by the Azilal tribes in the High Atlas region. They are often colored with abstract patterns, geometric shapes and tribal symbols.

  3. Boucherouite rugs : These rugs are made from recycled textiles, such as clothing, bags and upholstery. They are often colorful and feature eclectic patterns and designs.

  4. Kilim rugs : These rugs are flat woven and are known for their colorful geometric patterns. They are made by several Berber tribes in different regions of Morocco.

  5. Hanbel rugs : These rugs are flat woven and are often colored with simple, geometric patterns. They are made by the Berber tribes of the Middle Atlas.

  6. Talsint rugs: These rugs are made by the Talsint tribes in southeastern Morocco. They are often colorful with intricate, abstract patterns.