Berber Ragtime

written by:
April 1, 2011

While on a trip to Marrakech late last year, Fort Street Studio owners Brad Davis and Janis Provisor came across a cache of boucherouite rugs made by Berber women most likely between the 1950s and 1970s. Essentially rag rugs made from scraps of whatever material was on hand (a resourceful reach beyond the expected wool), the pieces are colorful, highly personal relics of Berber village life, and would have been given as gifts or used as part of a dowry. “I was told that women would usually display their dowry rugs proudly if things were going well, or hide them away as a sign that she was not entirely happy in her marriage,” says Provisor. The painterly rugs, which range in size from 1 by 2 feet to 5 by 9 feet, are priced between $1,500 and $12,000 depending on size and design. Several were hung at Fort Street Studio’s Los Angeles showroom during the biannual West Week design gathering, and the bulk will be displayed at their New York showroom beginning April 28. “The weavers show an eccentric sense of composition in these rugs, and went beyond the typical Moroccan motifs,” says Provisor.

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  This 2'5" by 3'3" rug is an improvised interpretation of crazy quilt designs.
    This 2'5" by 3'3" rug is an improvised interpretation of crazy quilt designs.
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  A 1'5" by 2'6" Mondrianesque boucherouite.
    A 1'5" by 2'6" Mondrianesque boucherouite.
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  Another crazy quilt interpretation, measuring 1'8" by 3'1".
    Another crazy quilt interpretation, measuring 1'8" by 3'1".
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  A 4'6" by 7' collage of stripes and diamonds, motifs found in traditional Moroccan carpets.
    A 4'6" by 7' collage of stripes and diamonds, motifs found in traditional Moroccan carpets.
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  A 3' by 6'10" runner size, typical of more Arabian designs emphasizing symmetry and regularity.
    A 3' by 6'10" runner size, typical of more Arabian designs emphasizing symmetry and regularity.
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  Measuring 4'7" by 4'10", this nearly square rug is highly geometric.
    Measuring 4'7" by 4'10", this nearly square rug is highly geometric.
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  A fluid, pastel interpretation of a crazy quilt, at 1'8" by 2'10".
    A fluid, pastel interpretation of a crazy quilt, at 1'8" by 2'10".
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  The Fort Street Studio owners consider this 3'1" by 8'7" runner to fall into a light category of boucherouites, emphasizing texture, striping and geometry.
    The Fort Street Studio owners consider this 3'1" by 8'7" runner to fall into a light category of boucherouites, emphasizing texture, striping and geometry.
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  Another light category sample, at 4'6" by 7'3", with purposefully heavy lines intersecting the pastel colorway.
    Another light category sample, at 4'6" by 7'3", with purposefully heavy lines intersecting the pastel colorway.
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  The staff at Fort Street Studio says they are “stumped” by the cross motif in this striking 4'3" by 8'5" example, with a tricolor fringe.
    The staff at Fort Street Studio says they are “stumped” by the cross motif in this striking 4'3" by 8'5" example, with a tricolor fringe.
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  More diamonds, boldly interpreted in a 3'4" by 5'8" rug.
    More diamonds, boldly interpreted in a 3'4" by 5'8" rug.
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  Rife with birth and fertility symbols, this 4' by 4'7" rug is unique to the group.
    Rife with birth and fertility symbols, this 4' by 4'7" rug is unique to the group.
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  A 2'11" by 9'7" study in variegated color against solid color; the geometric forms are fertility imagery.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    A 2'11" by 9'7" study in variegated color against solid color; the geometric forms are fertility imagery.

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