From Cherouite to Boucherouite

To go from a piece of fabric to Boucherouite to a finished accessory, requires a lot of work and a lot of people.

 

 

Preparation

Before starting Boucherouite, we need material, clean fabrics and recycled threads.
Specialized craftswomen collect reels and threads that are discarded by factories.
They then sort them out by size and color, they roll up the sorted out pieces around a wooden bowl, afterwards take them out, loosen them and then twist them up to make skeins.
Once the skeins are ready only one last step is left, rewinding them around the recycled reels.
And there you have it, a reel of recycled threads ready to use.
Afterwards,
The fabrics are also collected and sorted out according to color and length, the longer ones will be used as weft, the shorter ones as knots.
Larger fabric pieces are cut into thinner strips (otherwise the weaving will come out too thick), a step that requires a lot of patience.
Now that the fabric and the threads are ready, it’s time to set up the loom. Few craftswomen know how to do it right.
Few craftswomen know how to do it right.
It is usually done early in the morning when the day is still fresh and the sun is not too hot.

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Sdawa : warp preparation

The first step in preparing the warp is Deggan L’Owtad: the craftswomen hammer two giant nails into the ground.
The nails must be straight and parallel to each other, the distance between the nails will be the length of the rug.
It’s part of the tradition, for the craftswomen to also receive sugar cubes and coins from their neighbors,during the Sdawa, as a Barouk or Hlawa (a symbolic gesture to share their joy and their happiness for each other)
Sdawa : each craftswoman on each side takes care of a nail, a third one goes back and forth passing the threads between each one of them.
The craftswomen on the side attach the threads using the Dker and Nta technique (male and female), the amount of threads attached is the thickness of the carpet.

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The “nira” installation

A good and a fairly dense and tight warp helps make a light and strong high quality rug.
Women of the douars usually like using the Mensej (vertical loom) while the men who practice weaving like using Derraz (horizontal loom)
Once the preparations are done , the weaving begins:
First, they install Nira, thanks to a light rod attached to the warp by using the Dker and Nta technique, this allows the alternating warp strips to be held across the entire length of the rug.
They then install another rod, to complete Nira, they call it Guesba.
In order to make a weft, they get across long fabric strips that oppose the warp.
Then with the help of a heavy metal called Khelala (a heavy utensil that looks like a fork used to tamp down), they gently tap the fabric, to strengthen it without ruining it.

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A good companion

A beautiful rug should be firm, tight and well defined, But without the love and tenderness of it’s craftswomen, a Moroccan Berber carpet would be not complete.
In order to avoid boredom, the women use the language of bells or Louizat (louis), each one personalizes their own Khelala (a metal utensil used to pack the weft), so as their working and moving, their Khelala’s make sounds ,that brighten up the mood and keep them company.

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From Boucherouite to an IDYR bag

Once the Boucherouite weaving is ready, it is sent to the leather craftsman, the weaving then goes through another process before becoming a handbag or clutch.
First we have to trace the patterns (on the weaving) of the leather pieces that will be added later on.
Then we fix the edges before cutting them so that the weaving doesn’t unravel.
It is then sewn onto the leather, et voilà the bag is ready!

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