Today we were in a mosaic store. I have always loved mosaics, I don’t really know why. Recently I heard someone say that a mosaic artist is someone who can make something from things that are broken and I think there’s something to this although there was not very much “breaking” involved in the process we saw — the pieces are cut into shape and the patterns are assembled upside down so the artist has to be able to remember all the pieces, their colours and shapes.
We also visited a weavers workshop, a bronze artist and a leather tanner. Some seventy to eighty percent of the city of Fez’s population are employed in handcrafts and while there were a number of incredibly undesirable jobs in the mix, in general this appealed to me about the city: almost like a medieval town with its guilds. And the fruits of the cities labours, all elaborately laid out for sale, are so beautifully colourful – silks and woolen blankets, brightly coloured leather products, elaborate mosaic fountains, hand painted bowls, lamps of coloured glass and metal, plates of dyed camel bone, jewellery, nougat, carts piled high with fruit – oranges and figs, loaded onto the backs of donkeys reams of silk, impenetrable books that open the “wrong way”. It’s a city of treasures.