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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fes Ceramics, Morocco

Morocco is a land of people who still make things with their hands, and it is an excellent experience to go to the places where things are made and watch people who have tremendous skill produce works of art.

The city of Fes is known for its handmade ceramics. Each plate is hand painted. The blue and white color and the polychrome design (with green, yellow, and white) are the most common colors used. The designs are often based on geometric designs that are similar to those found in the mosaics of Morocco where the design repeats outward from one central point. Arabesque designs are also common and even Arabic calligraphy can be painted onto a ceramic. On the top of the photo are Moroccan tajines, ceramic cooking and serving vessels. The name tajine is also given to the delicious stews that are cooked in these ceramics.
Pictured here are two people making ceramics in Fes.  The potter is shaping small tagines for the table (used to store salt or pepper or cumin) and the woman is carefully and beautifully hand painting ceramics to be glazed.  Moroccans agree, the green clay of Fes produces the strongest pottery, and the techniques used to decorate the pottery are handed down from generation to generation.  It is extraordinary to watch the speed and precision of these painters at work.  The added bonus is that there are minor differences between the pieces so that you can tell that the final pieces have been painted by hand--I so loved everything that I saw at this shop it was hard not to want to ship it all!
I did get this set of dishes--I have always wanted to have hand painted dishes, and have been on the look out for something that I would both love and use for over a decade.  I would have predicted that I would have found the dishes of my heart's desire in Mexico, but that was not the case.  I am as surprised as anyone that I fell in love with this set.  The tagine in particular is just beautiful.

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