This was a challenging and frustrating challenge for me - not because I was not inspired by it, but because the combination of flu and ME/CFS after Christmas really floored me, and because I was unable to locate either my photographs of a very enjoyable and inspiring visit to Marrakech or the fabrics and threads I have amassed with the intention of making some textile art based upon the trip. Marrakech is an extreme experience. We stayed in a riad inside the old Medina, away from the modern generic European architecture, so it was quite an immersive experience, too, and I loved it. This is just scratching the surface of my repository of ideas and intentions based on the Cinnamon or Ochre City, but I have enjoyed revisiting in my mind while working it.
There were a number of striking features to buildings in the old cities I saw. The pine-cone topping of walls fascinated me, and the use of ceramic tiles to introduce geometric pattern and colour to interior -walls. Buildings tend to have plain exteriors clad in earth-pigmented stone or daub, but through the door one enters another world, peacefully arranged around a courtyard which lets in natural light, being open to the sky. Walls and floors tend to be colourfully tiled in mosaic patterns, with carved plasterwork and shuttered, grilled windows adding to a richness of pattern and texture. The best courtyards echo to the sound of running water flowing into a small plunge pool, surrounded by lush plantings of roses, bananas and sweet flowering jasmine.
I used a stencil and Markal sticks to give an impression of tile patterns, and took as my central feature the wonderful Almoravid dome of the Koubba, an ancient wash-house in which the faithful would perform their ablutions prior to prayer in the no-longer-standing mosque. It is a stunning building, inside and out, which is now well below street level as the city has grown and redeveloped around it. When we visited, there was a mother cat suckling her kittens in the shade of one of the external walls of its enclosure: the city seems to belong to the feral cats as much as to the people and the mopeds.
I wanted to convey the sense of enclosure within walls and the decorative interiors hidden by the dull exterior walls. This is a land where the evil eye is feared, and wealth and good fortune traditionally not flaunted in order to avoid attracting it - except, of course, there are always subtle ways of showing off!
Again, I've roughly worked to a squared-off A3/A4 size, and used machine quilting on commercially available cotton fabrics, apart from my hand stencilled tile fabric.