Interwoven: Modern Moroccan Weaving Retreat
March 28 – April 7, 2019
Morocco-an exotic, interwoven tapestry of many cultural influences, enduring traditions, and rich artisanal heritage of metalwork, embroidery, ceramics, woodcarving, and weaving! Weaving is one of this country’s most significant cultural expressions. It’s the thread that connects the past with the present, utility with artistry. Moroccan rugs and blankets, hand woven on looms by women in the Atlas Mountains, are still used extensively in most every Moroccan home, and now admired and exported throughout the world.
And because weaving is so central to the art and culture of this country, we can’t think of a better place to be inspired, connected and creative by joining in a weaving workshop here in Marrakech at Maison 28. This Weaving Retreat course introduces traditional Moroccan weaving styles and techniques and inspires you to interpret them into original, contemporary works of art and home decorating pieces. Open to all levels. The only prerequisite is a desire to learn, share, and grow!
Meet our Guest Teacher Asmaa Aman-Tran, a Moroccan-born weaver and ceramicist, raised in Casablanca, and now living in Boston with her husband Chris and young daughter Nylaa.
Asmaa is proud and appreciative to have had the chance to grow up in Morocco, being influenced by its exceptional and diverse culture, its colors and wonders, and the centuries-old techniques of pottery, jewelry making, and weaving.
After working for a time in graphic design and visual merchandising she realized a need to be creating things with her own hands, and discovered weaving for herself in 2016, Constantly inspired by the endless possibilities, Asmaa’s woven art reflects the rich mosaic of artisanal traditions and varied cultural influences that make Morocco such a source of creative inspiration!
But what she most enjoys is taking traditional Moroccan weaving and knotting techniques and blowing fresh air into them. In Asmaa’s hands lambskin meets copper, wool meets clay, and the silver sequins found in Moroccan wedding blankets (Handiras) knotted into much of her work in new and unique ways and sold through her business Hand and Fiber.
She says, “My work is about sharing the richness of my Moroccan roots through exceptional techniques and mediums to make something truly unique and special.” Find more of Asmaa’s work on Instagram.
Most photos courtesy of Hand and Fiber
Day 1 – Thursday March 28
marhaba! a warm welcome to Marrakech!
Plan your arrival to Marrakech for late morning/midday with Airport Transfer to Maison 28. We’ll welcome you with Atay (Moroccan Mint Tea) and pastries. Enjoy an alfresco lunch at a local restaurant Medina restaurant followed by an optional visit to the Heritage Museum of Marrakech. Dinner together at a lovely local restaurant.
Day 2 – Friday March 29
introduction to the art of weaving and Moroccan carpet heritage…
Wake up for a Maison 28 breakfast, followed by an introduction to the weaving course and techniques with Asmaa. Then we’ll head out for a guided Medina Artisan tour. After our group lunch we’ll get an introduction to the the various styles and weaving techniques of the famous tribal carpets and blankets of Morocco. Evening brings a cocktail & henna party on the roof terrace and dinner at Maison 28.
Day 3 – Saturday March 30
learn to weave-Moroccan style…
Maison 28 breakfast is followed by a day long dive into weaving on a loom and starting on your first project-a sampler of different techniques with Asmaa. Midday buffet lunch at Maison 28 and finishing up the day with a delicious dinner at one of our favorite local medina restaurants.
Day 4 – Sunday March 31
the creativity and discovery continues…
Enjoy a Maison 28 breakfast followed by an visit to the nearby Musee Boucharouite to motivate our weaving project for the day-a Boucharouite-inspired woven pillow cover. Midday buffet lunch at Maison 28 and enjoy dinner on your own this evening.
Day 5 – Monday April 1
casbahs and carpets…
After our Maison 28 breakfast we’ll begin our 2-day journey to discover historic Casbahs and venture to the heart of the Moroccan weaving culture in the Berber villages of the High Atlas Mountains. and end the day staying at a a lovely hotel within the Taourirt Kasbah in Ouarzazate.
Day 6 – Tuesday April 2
weaving in cultural connections…
After breakfast we’ll begin our return to Marrakech with a long stop to enjoy an intimate and educational visit at a women’s weaving cooperative. After a traditional Berber lunch we’ll travel on to visit the restored Telouet Kasbah before we cross the famous Tizi n’ Tichka pass and weave our way back down to the valley of Marrakech for a light dinner at Maison 28.
Day 7 – Wednesday April 3
sourcing objects of desire…
Following a Maison 28 breakfast spend the morning sourcing goodies in the souks to incorporate into our afternoon weaving project. After a medina lunch together we’ll head back to the studio to create custom tassels and learn techniques for incorporating beads and other embellishments into our weaving projects. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Day 8 – Thursday April 4
leather and other fringe benefits…
Maison 28 breakfast. Our final special project this day will combine weaving and knotted leather fringe to create a fabulous custom purse or pouch. At night we’ll share a Tanjia dinner (slow-cooked Marrakech specialty!) at Maison 28.
Day 9 – Friday April 5
a garden getaway…
After breakfast will venture out to the “New City” Gueliz to visit the famous Jardin Majorelle and Yves St. Laurent Museum. After a tasty pizza lunch we’ll return to the Medina where you are free to enjoy the afternoon and evening as you wish.
Day 10- Saturday April 6
footloose and fancy free in Marrakech…
Enjoy breakfast and a whole day to indulge yourself. You can spend more time creating in the studio, finish up your shopping in the souks, or spend some time getting pampered with a hammam and massage at the local spa. Tonight we’ll celebrate our creative time together with a farewell dinner and live Gnaoua music at Maison 28.
Day 9 – Sunday April 7
beslama! time to go with your woven artwork and special memories…
Enjoy your last Maison 28 breakfast before your morning airport transfer for departure
Payment and Terms
$3395 private queen room
$2895 shared twin room
(all rooms have ensuite private baths)
A non-refundable deposit* is required to reserve your space.
The remaining balance will be due over 2 additional equal payments on the dates indicated on our check out page.
By registering for this trip with your deposit, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Cancellation Policy and to purchase Trip Insurance
• 4 day weaving workshop/projects
• Most workshop supplies including wool and class looms
• Airport transfers
• Private transportation throughout including airport pickup/dropoff
• Guided Medina Artisan Tour
• Entrance Majorelle Garden/Yves St. Laurent Museum
• 2 day/1 night trip to Ouarrzazate and Atlas Mountain Villages
• Cocktails/Henna party
• Breakfast & Lunch Daily
• 7 delicious lunches
• 8 dinner experiences
• Gnaoua Music Sendoff
• Planning assistance for your free time (spa, dinners, etc)
• Travel Insurance
• Lunches, dinners, activities, and tours taken during your “free” time
• Some class supplies (shopping list provided)
• Alcohol outside of Maison 28 dinners
• Staff gratuities
Good To Know
Travelers from the US only are required to have a valid US Passport – but it must NOT be due to expire within 6 months of your return flight.
Your flight destination will be Marrakech Menara International Airport (RAK). Royal Air Maroc is the only airline that has direct flights from the US to Morocco, from both JFK and Washington Dulles.
You can also book flights traveling through major European airports, as there are many connecting flights to Marrakech through economy airlines such as Ryan Air, Easyjet, Iberia, etc. We’ve found that it is easier to find good connecting flights on the way to Marrakech than on the return, but you can take the opportunity to end your trip with a day or two stop in Spain, France, Portugal, England….
Immunizations are not required or necessary but check here for CDC recommendations.
Weather is predictably unpredictable so be sure to check on the estimated conditions the week before you travel. Even though Marrakech can be quite warm by day, it is usually quite cooler at night so pack light clothes that you can layer. We recommend cotton pants, long skirts, wraps or large scarves over tank and tee shirts, and a sweater or light jacket for chilly nights.
Your most important fashion asset: comfortable shoes for traversing the Medina on sightseeing and shopping adventures!
Morocco is a Muslim country and women generally dress more modestly than in the US or Europe. Maison 28 is located in a more conservative, residential area in the old Medina. Like elsewhere, dress codes are gradually becoming more lax and there is a lot of tolerance for tourists, but wearing clothing that covers your best “assets”, and that your grandmother would approve of, shows cultural respect, good taste, and common sense.
The currency here is the Moroccan Dirham, and the exchange rate usually hovers these days around 10 Dirhams/1 Dollar. You CANNOT exchange for Dirhams outside of Morocco, but there are several currency exchange booths in the airport when you exit Passport Control and also located all around the Medina. Larger stores and restaurants may take Euros, but it’s really best to have dirhams.
If you bring large bills ($100) to exchange be sure that they are newer bills with holograms. Otherwise they will slide them back to you with a shake of their head.
Another good option for padding your wallet with dirhams is to use the ATM machines which are located around the medina. The exchange rate is a little better, especially if your bank or credit card doesn’t add foreign transaction fees (some homework for you). Be sure to notify your bank of your foreign travel destination so they don’t flag you for fraud. I also recommend that you bring 2 or 3 cards-just in case you still get flagged (happens!) and find too many things you just can’t live without.
Maison 28 offers:
- Free Wifi access in all rooms and common areas
- Bedside Mineral Water
- Hair Dryers
- One-time complimentary laundry service for retreat weeks
Extra items you should pack:
- European Plug adapters
- Electricity Converter for hair appliances (cellphones and computers generally have built-in converters)
- Ear Plugs – especially if you’re a light sleeper. Maison 28 is in a quiet neighborhood but there is local “wildlife”, i.e. Medina cats and a neighborhood rooster who sometimes like to make themselves heard. Also, the first call to prayer from the surrounding Mosques occurs about an hour before dawn.