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Moroccan Poufs: How are they made?

Made by hand in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh, our Moroccan Poufs have been handcrafted by specialist artisans over a number of days.  Morocco has long been celebrated for its famous leather tanneries, many of which have been in continuous operation since the eleventh century.  Those same ancient techniques are employed today to create some of the world’s most prized leather goods including the much-loved Moroccan Pouf.

Preparing the leather

The process begins with a piece of leather dyed by hand in a leather tannery. Hundreds of large stone vats, arranged like honeycombs, are filled with various potions designed to speed along the process of turning animal hides into finished leather. Hides are stripped, rehydrated and then immersed into white vats filled to the brim with an aromatic concoction that softens the material.

 

They are then moved to another set of stone wells that hold an eye-popping array on natural vegetable dyes (think saffron, bark, henna and mint). The hides are manually dipped and stirred in these vats before being laid on the rooftops of the medina to be dried by the sun, followed by a stretching procedure on a wooden frame. The process is extremely labour-intensive, taking an average of 20 days to complete.

Stitching it all together

After the leather has been left to dry in the African sun it is then carefully cut into shape.  Each pouf has at least 36 different pieces which are then hand sewn together with ‘Sabra Silk’.  Sabra Silk is hand loomed from natural fibres which have been harvested from cacti found in the Sahara Desert and dyed with vegetable dye.

The distinctive Moroccan patterns on the upper side of the pouf are sewn on entirely by hand.

Women's Co-Op. Supporting Women Artisans in Marrakech

Our artisans started in 2005 in a small family workshop in the heart of Marrakech medina. On average, It took each artisan two days to stitch a single pouf. Every week artisans would take their leather goods to the local villages surrounding Marrakech where they would hand embroider and hand stitch the poufs together.

As business grew, the family was able to be provide their artisans with all necessary equipment to complete the work to include, sewing needles, pins, pincushions, thimbles, scissors, seam rippers, and silk threads.

As the years went by more and more women were employed and an all-womens handmade cooperative was founded in 2021 aimed at helping local artisans in the region share their work with the world.

Crafting authentic poufs in rural Morocco serves as a way for women to gain income while maintaining a time-honoured artform.

The co-op specialises in the traditional style of leather work and embroidery, known for its intricate and meticulous stitches and traditional methods from medieval times. 

The end result

Since Moroccan poufs are not mass produced in a factory, yet made by hand in a small workshop by artisans, your pouf is not perfect in its shape, colour or size and can therefore contain imperfections. This not only makes your pouf unique, but confirms its true Moroccan authenticity.