Colorful Boucherouite Rugs Pieced From Moroccan Hand-Me-Downs

When a scarcity of wool in 1960s Morocco left women bereft of weaving material, they reached for unwanted Red Cross clothing donations from Great Britain. This? The result.

Colorful Boucherouite Rugs Pieced From Moroccan Hand-Me-Downs
Moroccan Rug | Photo by Dan Saelinger

Photo by Dan Saelinger

When a scarcity of wool in 1960s Morocco left women bereft of weaving material, they reached for unwanted Red Cross clothing donations from Great Britain and used the hand-me-downs to create contemporary tribal rugs, called boucherouites. “I often see recognizable fabrics from my grandmother’s house clothes,” says Susan Gomersall, a U.K. native who now sells the tapestries from the walls of Kea, her Brooklyn, New York, gallery. To acquire each boucherouite–Moroccan-Arabic for “torn clothing”–rug brokers forage the Moroccan countryside for authentic pieces from the 1960s, like this inverted chevron, an interpretation of a traditional tribal protective pattern. “The villagers know and trust the brokers,” Gomersall says. “Everyone gets a bit of the pie.” As the boucherouite trend is still growing, prices remain low. (This piece costs $2,800, as compared to Iranian Persian rugs that can fetch $25,000.) Soon, Gomersall predicts that Moroccans will start weaving specifically for export. Until then, each rug serves as a relic of a Moroccan household, “made on the whim of the maker.” keacarpetsandkilims.com

About the author

Margaret Rhodes is a former associate editor for Fast Company magazine.

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