Artist Profiles

Artist:

Abdeloihed Elbellaj, Khaddouj Bouffi

Region:

Near East

Country:

Morocco

Organization:

Hana Women’s Association

Media/General:

Textiles

Medium of Work:

Boucherouite cotton rag rugs and flat weave rugs

Year(s) Attended:

Santa Fe: 2018

About:

In many instances, the world’s most spectacular folk art has roots that span millennia, with traditional patterns, tools, and even designated gender roles that span generations. Master Moroccan weaver Khadouj Boufi makes a range of vibrantly colored and energetically crafted carpets, but, although her textiles are inspired by Morocco’s long history of Berber rugs, the technique she uses is only about fifty years old.

Boucherouite rugs are made using the traditional knotting and weaving techniques that have been part of the Moroccan textile tradition for hundreds of years, but instead of using sheep’s wool, boucherouite rugs use discarded and upcycled fabric pieces. Due to economic as well as environmental shifts in the region, historically nomadic people settled and took a wide variety of different jobs in the latter half of the twentieth century. For area artisans, this translated into fewer sheep, and higher prices on wool. With traditional looms, women began using the materials they had around them, be it scraps from old clothes to retired curtains. The forty female artisans in the Hana Women’s Association, which was started by Khadouj in the 1990s, uses the floor scraps from Marrakech tailors, among other sources.

Oftentimes, several women work on a single rug, combining traditional designs with patterns and motifs from their imaginations. Each of Khadouj’s rugs are not only inherently unique and one of a kind, but they also are ingeniously and innovatively conceived and created.