Category Archives: Antique and Craft Markets

Maud’s Travels – Marrakech Part 1

 Marrakech Part 1 – Day 1 The Souks

 

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Marrakech is one of my favourite cities. I am drawn to its souks bursting with crafts, the creativity of the artisans, the architecture, the fragrant tagines and sweet, sticky, pastries and its welcoming people.  It’s only a short flight from the UK so it’s the perfect destination for a long weekend and paradise for interior lovers.  This post was originally intended to be my suggestions for a long weekend in Marrakech but there is too much information to share so part one focuses on a day in the souks.

 

The souks are situated in the Medina or old town. They stretch over roughly 20 hectares from the Ben Yousef mosque in the north to the main square, Jemaa-el-Fna in the south. It’s a labyrinth of interconnected alleyways full to bursting with hand-woven carpets, intricate metal lanterns and ironmongery, pungent spices and exotic oils, ceramics, leather bags, poufs and slippers, dried fruits, hand carved furniture and baskets.

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Marrakech has historically been a trading hub and as well as handicrafts from other regions, you can also find goods from the Maghreb and sub Saharan Africa.   Indigo fabric from Mali, hand carved wooden doors from Benin, jewellery and ceramics from the nomadic Tuaregs and Kuba cloth from the Congo can all be found within the souks.

 

There are eighteen different souks and most of them are devoted to different trades. You will get lost exploring the maze of lanes but you don’t need a guide.  It’s all part of the experience and the best way to discover new places.  If you do become disoriented or are in a hurry to find something just ask one of the stall holders for directions.

Some of my favourite places to visit are:

Criée Berbère, the carpet souk

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Carpets are sold in many locations in the souks, there are small stalls and three storey riads devoted to them but this is the main area and is situated to one side of Rabha Kdima, the spice market, show in the picture above.

Some tips for buying carpets:

  • Take your time and visit a few places before you make a decision
  • Always ask for a carpet to be held up to the light, as it is easier to detect holes and marks. If it is too dark take the carpet outside and inspect it in natural light
  • Give carpets a good sniff and steer clear of anything with an unpleasant odour as it is likely to be permanent.  That goes for all textiles not just rugs
  • If you are serious about buying a carpet then take a mint tea with your salesman and be prepared to negotiate. There are no fixed prices so bargain hard.

Souk Sebbaghine, the dyers souk

the dyers souk marrakech

You can’t miss this souk as there are always skeins of newly dyed wool in vibrant colours drying overhead in the sun. For a small fee you can see how wool is dyed here.

 

Souk El Haddadine, the blacksmiths souk

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The sound of hammers beating on metal can be heard on approach to the blacksmiths’ souk.  Feast your eyes on lamp stands, beaten metal trays, padlocks, door knockers and ornate candlesticks. Nearby you will find an area specialising in ornate metal lanterns.

One thing to bear in mind if you are buying a lightweight metal lantern is that they don’t travel well. They dent easily and it’s difficult and in some cases impossible to repair them. The best way to transport them is as hand luggage but not all airlines will allow this. My advice is to buy them from one of the larger stalls/shops, as they will be able to pack them securely and arrange shipping.

 

Souk El Khebil

Here you will find woodworkers creating household implements from lemon and orange wood. Chose from handcrafted lemon squeezers, biscuit moulds, honey drizzlers, spoons and ornate kebab sticks. They make great gifts. Note that unlike the carpet souks, where the sellers are agents for the weavers and put a substantial mark up on the carpets, these stall holders are the artisans and the work is labour intensive so the prices are fixed.

 

Terasse Des Epices, Dar Cherifa

Terrasses Des Epices MarrakechMint tea Marrakechterrasse-des-epices-marrakech-maud-interiors

 

When you are footsore, tired of dodging kamikaze motorbike drivers, donkeys, carts and bicycles, and overwhelmed with the choice of beautiful handicrafts take some time out and stop for a mint tea and pastries, or lunch, at Terasses Des Epices in Dar Cherifa. The food is a wonderful Franco-Moroccan fusion, there is a great atmosphere and the mist of water from the roof top sprays will help to cool you down.

After lunch check out the hand-embroidered linens at Scenes Du Lin, the black and white pottery from Fez, and the beldi glasses in Dar Cherifa.

 

Rahba Kdima, the spice market

Spice market MarrakechDried rosebuds Marrakech

 

Mounds of exotic spices, dyes, herbs, fragrant oils, henna, kohl, dried roses and rosewater, savon noir, ghassoul and traditional medicines are sold in this market.

 

Visit A Traditional  Hammam

local hammam Marrakech

 

The best way to relax after a day exploring the souks is to have a traditional hammam. You can go to a public one, some riads offer them, or you can go to one of the large hotels or spas. You can read about my hammam experience and learn how to create your own at home here. Note that you should allow at least two hours for the full experience.

L’Art Du Bain, Souk el Badine

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If you enjoy your hammam experience you can stock up on products at L’Art Du Bain, in Souk el Badine near Souk Sebbaghine. Here you will find argan oil soaps with blends of herbs and flowers like orange blossom. I like the Little Fatima argan oil soap with ghassoul clay and grains, the Savon de Hammam, which is the black soap used for exfoliation in the hammam, and Louise, Louisa argan oil soap with verbena and lemon. All the products are beautifully packaged and make great gifts.

 

Said Argan, Souk El Kemmahhine

For argan oil, said to be rich in anti-ageing properties and anti-oxidants, I recommend Said Argan. It’s a tiny kiosk run by a women’s cooperative at 6 Souk El Kemmahhine near Dar Cherifa, almost opposite the equally tiny beldi glass shop.  Blink and you will miss them. They have a range of argan related beauty products. My favourite is the argan oil with rose.

 

Watch The Entertainment At Jemaa-el-Fna

After a busy day take a pre-dinner stroll through Jemaa-el-Fna,or take in the spectacle of snake charmers, acrobats, musicians and dancers from a cafe overlooking the square.

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Dine At Nomad

For dinner I recommend Nomad, at 1 Derb Aarjan near Rahba Kdima, the spice market, for its cool cocktails, delicious Moroccan cuisine with a modern twist and chic, modern global, interiors.

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Where To Stay

There are thousands of hotels and riads in Marrakech to choose from. I prefer to stay in a riad in the Medina and my favourite place to stay is Riad 72. You can read more about it here.

 

Selvedge Winter Fair 2014

Selvedge Winter Fair 2014, 31st October – 1st November –  Two Complimentary Tickets To Give Away

 

We will be exhibiting again at the annual Selvedge Winter Fair and we have two tickets to give away.  Selvedge is the perfect place to pick up unique, handcrafted gifts or something special for your home.  With over 10o designer and small company stalls to browse it’s a real treat for textile lovers.

 

To win two complimentary tickets all you have to do is email: info@maudinteriors.com and tell us which country the Maud interiors team has visited recently.  Hurry as the tickets will be allocated to the first person to email us with the correct answer!

 

Selvedge-Winter-Fair-2014

 

Getting To The Selvedge Winter Fair

Chelsea Old Town Hall

King’s Road

Kensington and Chelsea

London

SW3 5EE

Opening times

Friday 31st October 11am – 5pm, 6pm – 8pm

Saturday 1st November 10am – 5pm

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To find out more about the Selvedge Winter Fair click here

 

Selvedge Spring Fair 2014

We are really excited about the Selvedge Spring Fair 2014.  It’s heaven for textile lovers and the perfect place to pick up something new and handcrafted for your home.

We will be on stand B11 showcasing our new Chiapas collection of contemporary cushions and runners handwoven using pre-Hispanic weaving techniques, our fabulous tribal embroidered cushions and floor cushions and our organic handwoven baskets from Swaziland.

We have two tickets to the fair to giveaway to the first person to email us on info@maudinteriors.com.  Hurry  as tickets will be allocated on a first come first served basis!

 

Selvedge-Spring-Fair

 

Getting To The Selvedge Spring Fair:

Chelsea Old Town Hall

King’s Road

Kensington and Chelsea

London

SW3 5EE

 

Opening times

Friday 4th April 11am – 5pm, Evening reception 6pm – 8pm

Saturday 5th April, 10am – 5pm

 

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Hope to see you there.

The Selvedge Magazine Winter Fair

We are excited to be exhibiting at the Selvedge magazine Winter Fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall next month.  Selvedge specialises in textiles in fashion, fine art, interiors, travel and shopping and publishes a wonderful magazine.

We will be on stand C24 exhibiting our range of vintage hand embroidered cushions, our hand printed and hand painted African cushions, our new range of handwoven baskets from Swaziland and our hand thrown ceramics.

Evening Reception Complimentary Ticket To Give Away

We have one complimentary ticket to the evening reception on Friday 29th November, 6-8pm to give away.  If you are interested please email us at info@maudinteriors.com stating your full name and postal address.  The ticket will be sent to the first person to email us so don’t delay!

 

selvedge-fair

 

Fair Opening Times:

Friday 29th November, 11am – 5pm, 6pm – 8pm

Saturday 30th November, 10am – 5pm

Nearest tube: Sloane Square

Tickets cost £7.50 on the door or £5.00 in advance.  Tickets can be purchased from www.selvedge.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columbia Road Flower Market

If you are in London and are stuck for somewhere to go this Sunday I recommend Columbia Road Flower Market.   On Sundays this terraced road in East London is transformed into a gardener’s paradise full of indoor and outdoor plants and cut flower stalls.  It’s one of my favourite places to spend a leisurely Sunday, pick up some plants and flowers and have a late breakfast in one of the many cafes.   Some photos below:

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Last Sunday I bought this Moroccan mint plant and have been enjoying fresh mint tea all week

 

Independent Shops

It’s not just the flowers which draw the crowds, there are sixty independent shops, everything from gardening, to interiors, to vintage.  My favourites for vintage furniture are B Southgate and Two Columbia Road.

B-SouthgateSomething always catches my eye at B Southgate and last week it was these vintage French leather chairs.

 

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Stoned and Plastered, such a good name for a shop, offers an eclectic mix of sculptures, everything from Tutankhamun heads to wall sconces and stone pugs.

If you are planning to visit my advice is to get there early, especially if you want to buy plants, as it does get very busy.  More information on the market and how to get there can be found at https://www.columbiaroad.info.

Ardingly Antiques Fair

A short post from me this morning on Ardingly Antiques Fair, held at the South of England showground near Ardingly, west Sussex, which starts tomorrow, 18th June, for two days.  It’s the largest antiques market in the south east of England  and there is something for everyone, from the serious antique collector to the vintage furniture and textiles enthusiast.  If you are looking for something different for your home, or just enjoy rummaging at markets it’s worth a visit.    A few snapshots (taken on my iPhone so please excuse the quality) from my last visit below:

Textiles

You can usually find a range of antique and vintage European linens and old grain sacks.

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Vintage European hemp and linen

Welsh-blanketsA selection of vintage Welsh tapestry and traditional check blankets

 

If you are interested in textiles, look out for  Wayward, which is also at Portobello Road market on Fridays, selling vintage haberdashery, trimmings, ribbons, suiting and shirting, and old pattern books.

 

Unusual Finds

I’m not keen on taxidermy but it seems to be popular at the moment and there was a stall with everything from a stoat and a peacock, to a stuffed alsatian and the alligator below.

Taxidermy

Taxidermy

Old Containers And Agricultural Equipment

I’m always on the look out for something other than boring, conventional, pots for the garden and there were lots of interesting old containers at Ardingly: old milk churns, slightly battered round tin containers with handles, glass bottles and jars, all of which make great plant holders.  I found these lovely old ceramic jars on one of the Hungarian stalls.  They aren’t watertight but are perfect for the garden.

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 Hungarian ceramic jars

More information on the fair can be found at: http://www.iacf.co.uk/ardingly/.