Best Foot Forward: Woodworking in Marrakech and Fes

Nothing stops you in your tracks while wandering in and around Marrakech like this sight:  a man turning wood with nothing more than a sharp blade and his feet!  Yes, you may wince a bit looking at these pictures.  We certainly did.

Wood turner in Marrakech medina working with his feet!

Wood turner in Marrakech medina working with his feet!

Moroccan woodturners are pros, though.  And with skilled hands and strategic balance, they seem to be quite productive even with tourists looking on.

Chef Joanne Weir grabs a shot of a wood turner in the Marrakech medina.

Chef Joanne Weir grabs a shot of a wood turner in the Marrakech medina.

Take this guy, for example.  He places the wood on a pole, lays a knife on top, and spins a little make-shift lathe with — you’re seeing it correctly — only a foot or two!  We watched.  We clapped.  And then we purchased freshly turned pieces of an art you don’t see often, if at all, in the U. S.

Later in Fes, we happened upon this workman who — everyday, no less — sits in this little box-like space in the medina and shapes combs out of natural bone.  He, too, uses his feet to steady the piece of bone.

A craftsman in Fes uses his feet to shape bone into creative combs.

A craftsman in Fes uses his feet to shape bone into creative combs.

He carefully presses his foot against a large piece of bone while he cuts shapes such as whales, ducks, birds, etc. to top off his combs.

Bird comb made of bone and shaped with a workman's foot: Fes, Morocco

Bird comb made of bone and shaped with a workman’s foot: Fes, Morocco

In Morocco, most craftsmen we met or acknowledged with a head nod absolutely, positively didn’t want their picture taken.  But the comb maker seemed genuinely enthralled when our guide asked if I could pose with him.  So, here’s one of the happiest people I met in Morocco — a man who goes every day to his workplace, sits in what seems to me to be a cramped space and cranks out the finest examples of bone combs in creative shapes.  A fine memory, for sure.

It's a rare to find someone who not only allows photos but actually poses with a tourist!

It’s a rare to find someone who not only allows photos but actually poses with a tourist!

For more posts on Morocco, take a look here.

And to see pictures of our journey, head to Flickr to take in the sights of this colorful country.

Thanks for traveling with us,

Bert and Rusha Sams

 

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Marvelous Morocco, Morocco, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Best Foot Forward: Woodworking in Marrakech and Fes

  1. If two hands are good, Rusha, it appears that two hand and a foot are better. Nice photo. 🙂 I expect you bought a comb after that! –Curt

  2. Sartenada says:

    What a great post. Thank You.

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