Making with artisans in Marrakech

I want to offer immersive creative experiences here in Marrakech for people who want to get away from the screen and back to making stuff with other people. It’s in our blood as humans to use our hands not just our heads, making is important because it helps us to feel connected to the real world around us, and you get a visible sense of achievement at the end of it which is good for the self-esteem.

So I’m visiting and interviewing artisans and designers with the potential to offer group teach-in’s in the art of creating and making.

I had a great time visiting with innovator, businessman and ceramicist; Chakib Elboustani the other day. I first came across him while stumbling upon his shop on Dar El Bacha which stood out as offering something different to the many clay Tagines in traditional patterns and colours that you see everywhere in the Medina. Chakib is an ambitious and engaging chap, he manages a large French Farm on the Ourika Road as well as building the ceramic business he started with his Portuguese brother in law a few years ago.

Studio Ceramique designs strike that commercial balance between traditional craft and modern interior design. I particularly loved the use of metallics in the glazing process and modern black and white colour ways.

Chakib and his team at Studio Ceramic have built in defendable processes wherever they can which means they offer a unique product and better quality. The plasticising process they have innovated creates flexibility in mould making (meaning you can trial more options) and waterproofs the end result, meaning that pieces are more tactile, safe and durable than their clay counterparts.

The company exhibits and exports internationally as well as supplying local luxury hotels such as the Royal Mansour with stoneware, you can also find their work in the fabulous new shopping experience in the Marrakech airport.

Chakib is building a visitor space so there will soon be the ability to hold courses, talks and provide practical experience in throwing, making and decorating. You will be able to take items home or have them sent to you after firing. Good news if a day or holiday of making ceramics appeals to you.

‘People just love to touch clay – its a very sensual and visceral experience’ Says Chakib.

Chakib will also be building a conference centre on the farm he manages with studio spaces, and accommodation. He will be selling farm produce such as preserves and fruit coulis packaged of course in stunning stoneware.

If you are interested in a ‘maker’ holiday or just a one day visit you can contact me at mintteacafe@gmail.com – I’ll do the ground work to make sure that you experience is everything you want it to be, I can also organise accommodation if you wish.

Watch this space – Chakib and I have a few more exciting ideas to explore together, we’ll keep you posted!