Discovering Morocco

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Capture by @tom.hafner.photo

This whole year for me has been about being open and trusting in the flow of life. For 2017 I wanted to be fearless and in that fearlessness came a desire to connect with others and to ask for what I truly want with no regards to judgment or rejection. Here’s a story of what manifested when I asked for what I wanted. . . 

One day as I was scrolling through my Instagram notifications, I saw @theonlyjesslin commented on one of my photos. I randomly decided to check out her profile and saw she was currently traveling in Morocco. Without a second thought, I shot her a DM and mentioned that I was looking for authentic Moroccan floor pillows and poufs for our Zen Den we are creating this festival season {more details on that soon!} and asked if she was interested in picking out some poufs and floor cushions for us. I had never spoken to her before, I had no idea what her taste level was, and I had no proof that she wouldn’t take my money and run but I felt a strong pull that this magic would happen. Jessica (@theonlyjesslin) instantly said “yes!”, and that crazy enough she was already planning on textile hunting while in Morocco. She ultimately found us the most incredibly gorgeous and authentic Moroccan poufs and floor cushions for our Zen Den and incredibly enough they are also upcycled from vintage Moroccan rugs (how magical?). 

What’s even more magical? Upon chatting via Skype over all the new gorgeous textiles, she asks me where MB HQ is. I answer, “Winchester, VA, an hour or so west of D.C.” She immediately and excitedly tells me about this small yoga and music festival called Flow Jam just 25 minutes outside of Winchester in Bluemont, VA and how she’s close friends with the founder, she teaches at the festival, and how Malabella should come {we’ll be there BTW}. What magic! Anyone that knows the Shenandoah Valley of VA knows yoga festivals are few and far between. I’ve been wanting to be more involved in the local yoga scene and how crazy is that we connected over an intuition drive to reach out? This. This is the magic of letting go, being fearless, and asking for what you want. What follows is a beautiful telling of her magical time discovering Morocco…

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Capture by @tom.hafner.photo

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Designers and artists from around the world have drawn inspiration from the Medina of Marrakech and after just one day wandering the streets, taking it all in, I know exactly why.

My travels to Marrakech came about on a whim, I was alerted of a cheap flight deal and jumped at the chance to add another country and culture to my ever expanding list. I had no idea what my time in Marrakech would consist of other than being open to what may come and sure enough an amazing opportunity presented itself. I connected with Hannah/ Malabella via Instagram and a new collaboration and creative project was born; I was given the opportunity to source fabric, poufs, pillows and more not only for myself but also a like minded individual.

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The sights, sounds, and smells of Marrakech transport you to a different time, they come together to create a sensation and experience that is totally unique. Creative people of all disciplines look to capture such feelings and moments in their art. I try to capture such moments, through local artists, traditions, and unique creations. While this seems second nature to me, it was a welcomed surprise when someone else noticed this within me and reached out to help them bring home some Moroccan vibes for them as well. As much as I love to experience things for myself, it’s exciting new challenge to experience art and culture from a new perspective. I always choose art, textiles, jewelry, clothing, etc. when I feel an emotional or physical tingle when I see it, to channel that with someone else in mind was a very welcomed experience. I’m humbled and excited to share my experiences with the beautiful Malabella community!

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I scheduled a desert tour of Morocco through, Berber Tours Morocco, and spoke with our guide, Said, to make sure we were able to experience the traditional berber style of carpet weaving along the way. I know that Morocco is very well know for their textiles, gems, and saffron; I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to learn first hand about the making of fabrics, carpets, and so much more.

The Berber people are the indigenous nomadic tribes of North Africa. They have traveled across the land from the desert to the shore, to sell their beautiful wares to the rest of the world for decades. As they move across the land they are able to source plenty of wool, cotton and plants used for dying, which allows them to have a large amount of textiles and fabrics to use for trade.

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Traditionally, each tribe created their own fabrics and textiles to distinguish their own style. Many of the designs you see in traditional styled rugs are ancient symbols that have been passed down from weaver to weaver over thousands of years. However, many places in Morocco today are using a more contemporary style of design using synthetic fabrics. Our goal on this trip was to source as much traditional and natural fabrics as possible. I wanted to be able to feel, experience, and bring home a piece of Moroccan history and tradition. I believe that energy has been passed down through the generations, to be able to bring some of that energy back home and to share with the Malabella team was absolutely wonderful!

File_001We found a great little co-op shop via dirt road at the base of Knemis, Dades, Ouarzazate, Morocco, a great place for mountain climbers. The coop is a collective of twenty five families from across the local region and has been working cooperatively for over 100 years. The building is covered floor to ceiling with carpets of all sizes, materials, and colors. It was a beautiful sight to behold. I touched everything, I took my shoes off right away to take in the softness and depth. Our host brought out some wonderful mint tea, which I love so much and miss, and began telling us all about Moroccan/ Berber carpet and fabric making.

Our time speaking with shop owners, coop families, etc. of both the new and historic traditions gave me a great appreciation and love for the Moroccan textile heritage. We brought home 4 carpets, 4 poufs (some traditional, some more modern), 4 large pillows, and over 15 amazing antique carpet pillows from all over the country. It was an exciting experience, one that I will cherish for a lifetime.

File_000 (2)When given an opportunity to travel take it as a chance to learn, to expand your horizons, and potentially draw inspiration from cultures unlike your own. We spend our lives looking for something inspiring, something to help us create joy and love and to share that with others, so always take advantage when you can. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my love for travel, art, and fashion with all of you. You can follow along with my adventures on my blog or via Instagram, @theonlyjesslin!

Travel light, travel often,

Jessica

www.myperfectnightout.com

@theonlyjesslin

 

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Capture by @tom.hafner.photo

 

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