Thursday, February 15, 2018

before I left Algiers ... part 1 - Artisan Fair

Before I left Algiers, I finally got to go to the artisan fair held at the Safex exhibition centre.

It was a lovely opportunity to see (and feel) locally crafted products from soft handwoven rugs to colourful mosaic-topped tables. And those heavily embroidered traditional kaftans and dresses! The items were mainly from various Algerian cities but there were some from other parts of Africa.

One of my long-standing missions, while in Algeria, was to source local, spun wool. Unfortunately, in a country full of glorious sheep, it was extremely difficult to find any. What I realised was that it's really only used for weaving rugs ... And stuffing mattresses and pillows! I am fortunate enough to have friends that humour my yarn-geekiness and so I have acquired a couple of bags of Algerian unspun, uncarded wool!

A loom used for weaving rugs
Traditional Kabyle dresses

Looking back, it was a nice experience, seeing locally made and traditional products. And from the exhibition centre, we could see the Grand Mosque, mid-construction! 


Jodiebodie February 18, 2018 at 8:46 AM  

Thank you for sharing your visit. I especially love seeing the traditional garments and beautiful fabrics and colours. It is interesting that your country's wool is used for rugs and not sold for yarn. Maybe the wool is of the perfect quality for rugs, for which your region is famous, and thus the rug market makes the most profit for the wool crop?

In my country a lot of the wool produced is sold to overseas markets where it then gets milled in order for overseas mills to sell it back to us (! sounds crazy to me), so locally made yarns are few and far between. In this day and age of awareness of environmental issues and greenhouse gas emissions targets, it is surprising how difficult it can be to 'buy local' sometimes.

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