Moroccan leather poufs are an iconic feature of the Moroccan artisanat. The poufs are famous for their original embroidery, the magnificent shapes and their distinctive colours. But how are these Moroccan poufs made? We had the chance to be guided by our master artisan, Si Mohamed, through the whole journey of the crafting of a leather pouffe. Starting from the tanneries, where the leather is dried and tanned, until the last finishing retouching by the women artisans in our cooperative.
The sourcing of the leather
Firstly, the finest leathers are sourced by our artisan from Marrakech tanneries, those famous colored basins where the craftsmen are still using the same tanning methods for centuries. The leather is washed, tanned, dried and colored using natural agents and plants. Sourcing the right genuine leather requires years of experience, and our master artisan knows well how to avoid harsh or smelly leather, and only picks the finest high quality skins, which means that the poufs can easily last many years.
Drawing and cutting the leather
The leather is then brought to the cooperative, where another team will be working on drawing the patterns on the leather using a pen, and then meticulously cutting them into geometrical shapes. Each pouf is made out of 36 pieces of leather.
The sewing and embroidering of a leather pouf
The majority of the cutting process is carried out by men, but the fine decorative sewing is done by women. The pieces of leather are hand sewn together by an intricate technique, to give the pouf its first shape. The artisans use a special type of wool called ‘’Sarma’’ that they loom with hands to make robust strings out of it. The distinctive Moroccan pattern on the upper side of the pouf is also embroidered entirely by hand, and takes about an hour to finish it.
By witnessing the whole journey of the making of a Moroccan pouf, we have learned that the crafting of a Moroccan pouf requires a great know-how and a knowledge of the ancestral methods of the leather fabrication. The craft is a real art on its own, which makes each article unique and special. The natural color variations, wrinkles and creases are also part of the unique characteristics of leather and only add beauty and character to every pouf.