Artisanat des Femmes de Khenifra
“Our jewelry has given a tradition a new life. We have introduced the world and Morocco to our jewelry and it will be a new way to keep the traditions alive”
Artisanat de Femmes Khenifra is a cooperative with seventeen female artists from Khenifra, Morocco. The women’s cooperative has been producing jalaba button jewelry for over six years. which is an essential part of traditional Moroccan dress. Although the jewelry created is similar in manner each artist adds her own special touch and style to each piece.
The jalaba button featured in the earrings and necklaces is created by using a thread, or sabra which is extracted from local agave plants. The sabra is dyed, sold locally and can come in hundreds of vibrant colors. Rachida Ousbigh, the lead artist, has been making the jalaba buttons since she was just sixteen years old and was inspired by her aunt and previous generation’s traditional work. She enjoys incorporating the bright colors of sabra and traditional button pattern into her jewelry for an innovative take on the traditional design.
The different style of buttons are also a reflection of flowers and nature found around Morocco.
By creating these unique pieces of jewelry, the women of the co-op are able to provide for their families as well as giving the women a strong since of self-worth. They have taken the Moroccan tradition of the jalaba button, put an ingenuitive spin on it by turning it into jewelry and are now able to afford basic necessities such as food, housing and healthcare. The hope is to expand the cooperative and to employ more and more women in this region of the world.
“My work gives my life purpose. It is something that allows me to provide for my family, but it continues to inspire to create things, beautiful things. I love that my day can be filled with work.”