artisans' profiles

The creation of the traditional Zellij

Khalid, 52 years old, is a kassar, a Moroccan artisan who cuts Mosaic glass in tessels. He makes traditional Zellij in workshop of El Haddadin Souk in Marrakech.

Which techniques do you use?

The creation of the traditional Moroccan Zellij (mosaic) is an art that requires dexterity and savoir-faire. Different techniques are necessary to create it such as molding the clay, calibration or cutting pieces into geometrical forms wished by our customers. Then comes the natural dyeing of the Zellij and the baking time of mosaic glass during 3 or 4 hours. Between kassar, we often say that the art of zellij is mainly an art of fire, because the tessels must be extremely solid to enable cutting and trimming. Finally, the tiles are being glued to create geometrical forms, obtaining a feeling of meditation and perfectionism.

What are your favourite materials?

Clay and natural dyes.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I draw my inspiration from mediation and from the splendid creations of Moroccans artisans, in particular those that can be found in the grand mosques of Fes and Marrakech.

It’s a really detailed work, geometric shapes need a lot of perfection and precision to be achieved. Our profession is unlike any other, its execution asks for a great sense of details and a great attention to the glance.

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