These unique rugs are part of traditional life for Berber families living in the villages of the Middle to High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Understanding this lifestyle is the way to understanding the beauty of these rugs. Families from these regions led a semi nomadic lifestyle, moving between settlements depending on the season. Whilst not always on the move, their home wares tended to be functional as well as beautiful and were easy to transport.
Nowadays, most Berber (or Amazigh as they prefer to be known) families are settled in villages in the Atlas Mountains. Women will weave whilst running their homes and do not always weave continuously. Life sometimes gets in the way and they might come back to a rug after a break or pass it on to someone else to continue. This collaborative design and make process makes for a truly original, special rug.
Vintage and antique Berber rugs tell a story in a way that is entirely unique in comparison to new and machine made pieces and it’s all down to the design process.
This process begins with an examination of the wool from the latest shearing. Often wool with a particularly silky, luxurious feel will be made into quite a plain rug letting the material do the talking. If they have more wool from dark sheep that year then they will be freer to design in more patterns, borders and lines in these colours. The background of the rug is most often a pale cream with feature colours ranging from a pale brown to a deep, almost black, charcoal grey.
Decisions about colour often reflect the seasons. Natural dies are made from plants and fruits that are in season. The pattern design of a rug is usually the result of a discussion about the story the maker would like tell. Sometimes it is a story about a change their lives, a significant personal event or is inspired by the beauty of their surroundings.
These weaving traditions have not been lost. Moroccan women are still producing stunning rugs on hand looms and the quality of wool can still be found we have some beautiful examples for you.
Machine made rugs often contain inferior wool that has been died cheaply to meet customer demands or trends, the colour can sometimes run or fade and there can be a great deal of shedding of wool. This is why we prefer to buy hand made rugs over those made in factories.