Sihem Ben Aissa: The art of carpet weaving in Tunisia
The small town of Mansoura is a Tunisian town that is seldom visited by those who live outside. But it is a place where an ancient North African craft has found new life.
Sihem Ben Aissa learned the art of carpet weaving from her mother. She has passed on the skill to her two daughters, Sarah and Nour, who help her with designs for modern versions of traditional carpets.
“Growing up with a mother like mine influenced me. We do see the world differently, but the customs and the traditions we were taught remain the same,” says Sarah Bouzayene, Ben Aissa’s eldest daughter.
If I find a loom dumped outside I want to bring it home with me, I swear. Because it runs in my blood.
Ben Aissa has managed to revive a craft that had all but disappeared from her village. She works with four or five other women weaving carpets and distributes these through a crafters’ network.
“I don’t want to work for a merchant. I dream of having a big carpet company. My own carpet company… That’s my dream, that’s my wish,” she says.
But keeping the carpet trade alive is no easy task.
“Before we used to make good money, thank God. But not anymore,” Ben Aissa says.
“All our crafters have the same problems, but we can’t abandon out handcraft. You’ll see, if I find a loom dumped outside I want to bring it home with me, I swear. Because it runs in my blood.”
|Sarah Bouzayene, Sihem’s oldest daughter, helps her mother with designs [Al Jazeera]|
Source: Al Jazeera