The time between Christmas and New Year is the time of year that I try to finish my silkscreen prints for the following year. The prints were nearly all completed, but they seemed to be missing a certain je ne sais quoi. With all the bright and colourful decorations of the holiday season packed away and the short, dark winter days closing in I found myself struggling to see what they needed.
Then a two-night stay in Tangier, Morocco gave me the chance to catch up with friends, take in the beautiful architecture, eat delicious food and feel a few rays of warm sunshine on my skin. The change of scenery, the vibrant colours and patterns of the city provided the perfect inspiration to allow me to come back to the studio refreshed and re-focused.
Wondering around the city I found the alleyways and entrances drew me in with curiosity to look closer, and the closer I looked the more I became aware of how perfectly the designs showcased the colours, architecture and patterns.
Looking up I noticed this tree, that even during the winter months, creates a beautiful pattern against the skyline. The tree is a mimosa tree, sometimes called the Persian silk tree. With leaves that fold up at night and during rainstorms it’s Persian name means night sleeper and in Japan it is known as the sleeping tree. So, sleep tight, beautiful tree, I look forward to seeing you covered in silky yellow flowers in springtime!
In the Tangier souk I found Mimosa flowers, stunningly soft and delicate with feathery yellow petal clusters and with an amazing scent of sweet, warm, powdery, with facets of almond, honey, violet and fresh cucumber. The souk also provided a source of delicious olives, fresh breads, pastries, fruit and vegetables… not just a feast for the eyes!
Getting lost in the details of the designs and looking at wide range of fabrics, patterns and colours in the rugs helped me to stop thinking about my creative challenge back in the studio.
As I wondered through the souk I was drawn to something I’ve been eyeing up for years…the Djellaba. It is a type of kaftan, a loose-fitting long outer robe with full sleeves and gorgeous little details in the design, buttons, embroidery. The word literally means attractive, and they are! They include a baggy hood that comes to a point at the back. Traditionally, Djellabas are made of wool or cotton in different shapes and colours, lightweight cotton for summer wear, and wool for the winter. Djellabas are great for lounging around in at home...
Even though my short trip Tangier wasn’t enough, I had a wonderful time with friends who very patiently showed me around, bartered for me and helped me create some special memories and come back inspired to finish my prints!
I will be back when the days are a bit longer, the sun is a bit warmer the Mimosa is in blossom.