Versatile and Revered

A Berber family tradition of carpets
For centuries, the Berber people of North Africa have been known for their distinctive textiles. The origin of Berber carpets has been traced as far back as the Paleolithic era. Algerian master weaver Hocine Bazine has longstanding family roots in the creation of rugs and textiles associated with the region. 
 
As in many Algerian artisan families, Bazine first learned how to weave from his mother and grandmother. Together, they instructed him to use a type of loom indigenous to the region called a tacha; also from his female relatives, Bazine learned motifs and patterns traditional to his family—and the region at large—for generations. As an adult, Bazine expanded his repertoire by taking rug-making workshops and classes, determined to further hone his techniques and skills.
 
Traditionally, Berber carpets served utilitarian purposes, providing soft ground coverings for tents or more permanent dwellings. The textiles also were used in a number of other ways, for example as sleeping mats, bedspreads, animal blankets, and even as ceremonial burial shrouds. Now, of course, Berber carpets are revered for their textures and singular beauty, and prized not just for their functionality, but also for their artistic merit.
 
Crafted from sheep’s wool, Bazine’s carpets contain timelessly appealing geometric patterns, and deceptively complex motifs which reference Algerian history and heritage. He has shown his extensive collection of rugs and carpets at marketplaces throughout Algeria as well as shows in other countries, including the United States.  
 
Hocine Bazine will exbibit his work at the International Folk Art Market Santa Fe, July 12-14, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for more information visit: www.folkartmarket.org. This story first appeared in http://ifamstories.org/artists/hocine-bazine/
 
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