Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



From Textiles in Daily Life: Proceedings of the Third Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 24–26, 1992 (Earleville, MD: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1993).


Copyright © 1992 by the author(s).


The four authors contributing to this topic are collaborating to document the manufacture and use of handmade textiles in daily life in Fez, Morocco.1 Fez is the only city in the western world in which there is both a supply and a demand for many types of handmade urban fabrics. A dozen different types exist. They are all part of a continuous, not revived, tradition. Some types are flourishing, some marginal, and one is the equivalent of an endangered species.

Our comments are based on at least three field trips to Fez between 1986 and 1990 by three textile scholars, Lotus Stack, Frieda Sorber, and myself, and many years of fieldwork near Fez for anthropologist Susan Davis. Information was gathered through observation, conversations, and interviews facilitated for the textile scholars by two Moroccan translators, Amal Bennani Benghazi and Leila Abuozeid. Dr. Davis supervised twenty formal interviews with selected artisans, merchants, and consumers. Video producer Mark Stanley of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts video-taped the interviews, manufacturing processes, and merchandizing, as well as the cultural context of a wedding.

Video documentation is a primary goal of the project. A thirty minute general video intended for teaching purposes and for museums should be completed in 1993. Detailed videos on the interviews and on individual types of fabrics will follow. We will also be mounting exhibitions and publishing a report.