In the above video, Paloma Picasso discusses her for zellige-inspired jewelry collection made for for Tiffany & Co. I’ve noticed lots of designers playing with Moroccan mosaic patterns as part of their jewelry collections.
The above piece is designed by Lee Angel (www.leeangel.com and reminds me of some of my favorite tile work. I bought the one in the picture on sale at bluefly.com. If this discount were deeper, I’d buy the red and white one too. I hope I love it when I meet it in person.
“This pattern is called ‘The Spider’” our guide said excitedly while gesturing towards a zillige-covered wall. “The Prophet Mohammad was hiding in a cave from his enemies when a spider came and built a web over the entrance. His enemies believed he couldn’t be in the cave because the web was unbroken. This is why it is haram (forbidden) to kill spiders and why this pattern is called named after the spider.”
Once you see a Moroccan zillij masterpiece, you can spot the style anywhere. It is an art form that has been practiced for a thousand years. It is a unique specialization of Morocco and continues to thrive in Moroccan society within a contemporary creative framework.
I had a chance to observe artisans creating pottery and mosaics at a ceramics factory in Fes. You can see products and request estimates through the factory’s website at www.artnaji.net. The site also has information on the production process. If you click on the photo above, you can view my flickr photostream, which has more photos of the factory.