Moroccan Cactus Silk
What is Cactus Silk?

Morocco is a place full of color, buildings made from limestone & terra cotta, bustling street bazaars, indigenous mountain tribes with centuries old traditions & the producer some of the world's most beautiful luxury goods. is a lot of information about cactus silk & how it is harvested.  But, because of the risk of exploitation when working with artisans, our cactus silk comes from one single source: A Berber Tribe in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.  
Surprisingly, a variety of different qualities of cactus silk exist, because some of it is made with rayon imported from Spain & dyed with chemicals.  There are also "knockoffs" made with machines & are actually not cactus silk at all... so, what is this mythical material & how is it made....
Leaves of the sabra cactus plant (agave) are harvested for the filaments within, then organic botanical pigments (usually from flowers & spices) are used to dye the fabric.  Once the threads have been created they are hand loomed into the silk & adorned with free-hand embroidered patterns.  

 Each design is different & each is done with imagination.  Some will be much more intricate while some will be simple and geometric.  The edges of the "pillows" are usually braided with tassel ends.  When we make these into bags, we use "panels" for the middle of the bag, the raw material before it has been created for or into something else.  The final step involves laying the sheets out to dry under the Moroccan sun, where each panel gets it's burnished finish.

The finished product is a surprisingly soft, durable material (almost like a denim) with a silk feel.  It usually has several colors throughout & if turned & caught by the light, you will see even more colors underneath.  The underside of cactus silk is even more beautiful & vibrant because it hasn't been dried in the sun & the colors are magnified.  The threads are usually not snipped, so turn your pillow inside out for a sneak inside!

Our cactus silk is not produced in mass, & in fact we often run into shortages during the winter months when the harvesting is not done.  Our artisans work hard to make the most beautiful creations & we work hard to share them with you!

August 09, 2018 — Hailey Weenig

Comments

Dawn

Dawn said:

Great content! I love hearing how these items are made!

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