In our search for new textiles, we attended an artisan fair in Sousse. The Tunisian government is in the process of reinvigorating the artisan industry. Producers in Tunisia have to compete with cheap Chinese imports. There are the usual brand rip-offs but also imitations of Tunisian crafts in evidence in the Medinas- so disappointing !In Sousse we were very excited to meet a woman , Monjeer, with whom we are now trading. She produces Haik- handspun and woven wool blankets. They are extraordinarily beautiful for their simplicity and elegance. Woven with a loose weave they are light and soft and are edged with pom-poms. Each measures a generous 275 x 175 so are suitable for a bed cover. Gorgeous as a sofa throw too. They are all natural cream and are available in blue, red or black stripes, or with embroidered motifs.
Monjeer is from Sidi bou Zid. This is the town where in December 2010 Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest of police brutality. His act became a catalyst for the revolution known as the Jasmine Revolution and inspired the Arab spring .The demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia were in protest of social and political issues in the country. The public’s anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi’s death, leading the then-President to step down and flee the country on 14 January 2011, after 23 years in power.
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