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Carpet of Life


Nomadic Berber families in and around Morocco have made Boucherouite carpets since the 1960’s. The craft relies on instinct and experience rather than tradition, with motifs and patterns derived from nature as well as the fives senses. Boucherouite carpets can be made from pretty much any textile product including discarded clothing, yarn, tea towels, and bed linen.


Photo by Pam Kat and styling by Sander Van Eyck

Many nomadic families in the Sahara region have been forced to end their nomadic tradition due to economic, political and environmental hardship. Some have taken up residence in the oasis outside of Timbuktu, previously one of the most important trading posts for nomadic merchants. The ramifications negatively impact hierarchy, income, and natural habitat. One company is fighting against this negative spiral. A social design company called Butterfly Works collaborates with local women across six villages in the Sahara, on the border of Morocco and Algeria, to create boucherouites under the name “Carpet of Life”.


Photo by Pam Kat and styling by Sander Van Eyck

Connecting Western customers directly to the women who weave the boucherouite’s, Butterfly Works aims to create economic value for the women in the community. Butterfly Works collaborate with the Family Sbaï, from the Ouled Bou Sbaa, historically the most influential tribe spread across Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria and Mali during the hey day of the great Caravans. This collaborative design program is working to co-create hope, pride and economic sustainability, through design and capacity building. Carpet of Life is part of a bigger program called  “Taragalte” which focuses on creating awareness of environmental issues, and supports entrepreneurship and promotes cultural heritage.


With little access to local materials, Carpet of Life encourages customers to co-create thier own boucherouite from damaged and outgrown clothing and textiles. Textile remnants are mailed to the studio in Belgium, where they are transported to Morocco, and the skilled women of the Taragalte project who carefully shred and knot them into a unique Carpet of Life, documenting the process en route.


Website: www.carpetoflife.com