Check Out the Craftsmen of Fez *Video*

Hand-dyed  leather takes work!

Hand-dyed leather takes work!

Posted By Erin on April 14, 2010

January 5, 2010 – Fez Medina, Morocco

Part of the allure of the Fez medina – in my opinion one of the hottest places to shop in the world – is the local craftsmen that are creating these stunning items right before your eyes! Join me on a virutal tour of the medina:

Leather Worshipper

Seriously, these leather goods were amazing! But seeing how the leather was worked and dyed in the vats was really mind-boggling. Is all this treatment of the leather really done by hand? Yep.

Check out this video of the tannery scene. The green plant in the first  frame is a piece of mint that they hand you to mask the smell (although I didn’t find the smell strong or offensive at all).


Watch The Video: Check Out the Craftsmen of Fez


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I managed to pick up several pairs of slippers as well as a hot new purse direct from the source – all the while congratulating myself on staying in control.

I got a two-fer! a red pair and an orange pair
I got a two-fer! a red pair and an orange pair
My red leather bag is spankin' -- everyone says so!

My red leather bag is spankin’ — everyone says so!

Carpet Bagger

That’s right, I bagged me a carpet. I didn’t need it or particularly want one, but I got sucked in. Man, those merchants saw me a mile away. So innocent and yet so ready with the plastic.

But my pathetic attempt at self control isn’t really the point.  The point is that that carpet is BEAUTIFUL. It was hand made by the SuSu tribe (I think, seriously what do I know?).  I was originally going to put it on my wall, but it’s a little big – so on the floor it goes. The cats have only thrown up on it once.

Sam bagging her own carpet in Tangier.
Sam bagging her own carpet in Tangier.
A  SuSu tribal beauty
A SuSu tribal beauty

Ceramic Connoisseur

Yep, bought dishes within my first few days of the trip. Uh huh. Dishes – those delicate, breakable objects. Well worth the effort though. Am fully enjoying my small appetizer plates with each Moroccan dinner party (now numbering 4!) I throw.

So pretty and colorful!
So pretty and colorful!.
Wish I could’ve lugged one home…
Wish I could’ve lugged one home…
Painstakingly perfect

Painstakingly perfect












The tile tables were truly amazing and you could really appreciate them as you watched those young men (I saw no children working) painstakingly push each tile into place.


Seriously, if I were them, you’d have to shoot me…




Metalwork Madam

I didn’t actually buy any metal work — unless you count all the amazing jewelry I bought that was hand-worked silver with enamel inlay. OK, I guess that counts. Truly spectacular pieces.  Seriously, when is jewelry not a good thing? Even if you have to buy it for yourself. Sigh.

Marvelous examples of metalwork
So pretty and colorful!.
Hard at work etching the detailing
Hard at work etching the detailing


Me and a proud craftman!

Me and a proud craftman!









There you have it: a tour of the Fez medina from the point of view of the craftsmen.

Where in the world could you go into one marketplace and see the wealth of workmanship that we witnessed here? No where! (Actually, if you know of another place, for God’s sake write and tell me!)


For more back story on the joys of shopping, check out:

  • Erin’s Guide to Haggling
  • Erin’s Top 10 World Market Purchases

And go ahead and provide me with a little of your own back story:


  • Where is your favorite shopping place?
  • Tell me about your “bestest” purchase…
  • Send me a pic of your hottest buy and I’ll post it!



This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 and is filed under Arab Region.

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