‘In any creative work, be it the artist or the artisan, the creatve person unites with the material they are working with, which symbolises the world outside him/herself. The worker and the artefact become one. The human being becomes one with his creation. ‘ Erich Fromm
The word Poiein in Ancient Greek (ποιεῖν) means making. It is where the word Poetry comes from. Plato had pointed at the connection between craft-making and poetry, calling us to gaze at the rich worlds of form and meaning that come to life when we take raw material from our landscape and create with it. It is possible, when we look at a handcrafted object, to appreciate the emotion and soul life that the maker had infused in it.
Sefrou is located in the heart of the middle Atlas. Traditionally, a market town located amidst fertile farming lands, it is known for its fruit orchards, cherry festival and the large Jewish community that lived there up until the last century. Sefrou is still home to a large community of local artisans, metal smiths, woodworkers, weavers and button makers. Though the community is still thriving, few are the ones of the young generation who wish to learn these skills.
Visiting local crafts people in their workshops, we will learn about their work and daily lives as a way to get a sense of the place through the people and their working spaces. An orientation of the city from the inside out hosted by Culture Vultures, will lead us into a deeper relationship with Amazigh women who spin and weave and we will participate in a hands own textile workshop.
We will be introduced to ‘The Loom in Local Rituals’ and how women used the loom as a sacred medium for protection. On Sunday we will make a day trip to a mountain market town in the Middle Atlas where the wool comes from, to meet women who practice unbroken textile traditions in the region.
Alongside these visits our work will consist of listening to the stories that emerge from our activities, as well as engage with traditional stories from around the world to bring into clearer focus the role of craft-making in the life of the Soul. On our last day we will share these stories in a storytelling evening (no previous experience necessary). Daily shamanic practices will help us access ancestral knowledge and seek healing for modern day’s rupture between skill and community, craft and Time.
metaphoric redistribution of poweralong the 0º Meridian
Northumberland stone circle
Walking along the well trodden, muddy footpath through the farm at Duddo, the sky produced marshmallow cloud formations unlike any I have ever seen before. In fact the sky in Northumberland left a lasting impression on me. It was always hanging low and omnipresent letting me feel a subtle weight from above at all times. There was something very comforting about the Northumberland sky, although people seemed to complain about the lack of light. I liked it.
One has to cross a couple of fields to get to the 4000 year old stone circle on the hill, sometimes refered to as the Stonehenge of the North. From the windswept path the stones looked big, but they were actually not much taller than a human being, the tallest at 2.3 meters high, and the diameter of the circle no more than 10 meters.
The first stone that caught my attention was the one facing the path. I couldn't help but seeing a face embedded in it, probably shaped by the elements beating on the rock over the many many years it has been standing there. There was a gentleness about it which invited feeling a closeness to what seemed like a living being as I watched it's quality in the changing light. I walked around the stones - 5 big sandstones with an empty space for a sixth, though excavations reveal there was also a seventh stone. There was a sense of intimacy.
The stones were alive with a story, and though the wind was howling at my ears, I could hear the soft presence of this story. It was about a promise between the land and the people. A promise made a long time ago and forged into memory within the space of the circle. A very high elemental presence at the site keeps the bonds with the human world alive with much gentleness and infinite respect. It felt a bit surreal seeing as the stones stood like an island in a sea of heavily farmed land.