Rubbish Carpet.

Rubbish Carpet.

finished carpet

The traditional Berber patterns I copied for my temporary rubbish carpet are made. Executed in thrown away wrappings of chips, chocolates, and candies we found in the streets, it gives them a some what Chinese look : silvers, shiny reds, greens and bright blues.

Large knotted buttons made out of colored plastic bags will feature in the carpet.

I learned making them of three women who live in the neighborhood: sitting on their rooftop, chatting and laughing away while teaching me the complicated knots.


Very skilled they are, they must have made thousands of them. Button making is a way of earning a few extra dirhams for the women here in the medina in Sefrou. The famous button’s are made especially for the djelabba’s, and used all over Morocco.

Tomorrow we will clean up the open space in the neighborhood,  Taksubt, the floor for the ‘rubbish carpet’. I am sure to get help from the neighborhood children. They love it when there is something going on that is out of the ordinary!
And the day after that we will place the patterns that will form the carpet. ‘We’ are Brahim, the fantastic facilitator I am working with, and interested and curious neighbours.  Brahim has recently picked up the traditional art of story telling, and promised to tell a story while the carpet is shown to the public.

werken aan kleed

I don’t think the carpet will live much longer than one day. Two weeks ago we placed a ‘test carpet’ on that same spot. It was used as a soccer field that very next night by football players. In the night the dark side of living in the medina comes to life.

It will be the end of my textile residency here in Sefrou.

And what a very special month it was: meeting weavers, belt makers, djelabba sewers, dyers, embroiderers, button knotters, and more.Invited to learn skills from them, sit next to them and being allowed to have a peep in their ‘kitchen’. What a wonderful, extraordinary experience it is to be, just shortly, a part of the life here in the medina, to meet and connect with so many lovely, beautiful people.


Erna van Sambeek  / January 2016

To know more about this program see AiR TExtile 2016

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