NEW YORK — Author Isabelle Denamur takes readers on a virtual tour of a North African cultural melting pot in her new book “Moroccan Textile Embroidery” (Editions Flammarion). Denamur, an ethnologist who is researching her thesis on...
NEW YORK — Author Isabelle Denamur takes readers on a virtual tour of a North African cultural melting pot in her new book “Moroccan Textile Embroidery” (Editions Flammarion). Denamur, an ethnologist who is researching her thesis on the art of Moroccan embroidery, tackles embroidery techniques and motifs that are specific to each of Morocco’s regions in the work.
The book features photos of more than 100 pieces of embroidery joined by photos and paintings of Morocco that place the different works in their historical context. A cultural crossroads, the country is known for its eclectic mix of African, Mediterranean and European influences, which can be seen in each city.
In Tétouan, Hispanic and Moorish traces abound, complete with saturated and deeply vivid colors such as yellow, raspberry red, sky blue, bottle green and violet.
With their Andalusian flavor, the embroideries coming out of Chechaouen — which feature deep mustard yellow, dark blue-green and purplish navy — are quite similar in feel to tapestry.
Denamur explains that the motifs were stitched with a heavy silk that could be twisted and pulled through the loose weave of the support with an implement resembling a crochet hook, giving the pieces their velvety, looped appearance.
The author spoke romantically about the book, which she took five years to research.
“With an old Moroccan textile, one can imagine the story that lies beneath,” said Denamur. “Who made love on these cushions? Who cried into these handkerchiefs? Who prayed on this carpet? What was the embroiderer thinking when she suddenly made a stitch totally different from the others? The fabrics have a life of their own.”
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