On March 27 after we had toured Fes and had lunch many of us went on an optional tour to Bahlil and a stop at a ceramic school and co-operative.
There are orange trees, full of fruit everywhere – they line the streets and highways throughout the whole country. Najib told us they were bitter oranges and no one eats them… okay, but what a waste!
Bahlil is a village where many still live in dwellings carved into the rock (i.e. caves.) We were able to visit one and chat with the family – they have lived in this cave for 12 generations! The mother of this lady (in the blue scarf) just died recently at the age of 105.
After visiting, we walked down through the village to meet up with our bus.
Looking back up from the bottom.
It was a very interesting place. We also saw ladies making buttons for traditional clothing – using needles and thread they basically crochet tiny buttons like those below. They gave us samples of the work they were doing so I have three small grey buttons to do something with!
We then went to a ceramic co-operative and school and were given a tour and shown the whole process from making the clay (large pool of water where they soak it), to processing, throwing on the wheel, glazing and firing.
We also got to watch them cutting pieces for mosaics and actually laying the mosaics. They do them in reverse so don’t actually see the pattern – they have to LEARN and remember the patterns in order to do them right every time.
The Co-op had a large retail area and also does custom orders – ceramics, mosaics, tiles, etc.
I bought a tile (to frame) and a bowl. The bowl is oven, dishwasher and microwave safe. They fire their ceramics twice which makes them very durable. The tile appealed to me as it has a watercolour look and I am currently learning and practing painting with watercolours.
I didn’t note the name of the co-op and the receipt for the purchase isn’t legible. Oh well…
It was a very enjoyable afternoon.
Next I’ll post about our 8-hour drive from Fes to Erfoud and all the stops and sites along the way.