Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Week In Paper Making

This past week was very eventful for the Al Falah cooperative. This is the week that we finally made paper in the Artisana.

I'm really grateful to all the volunteers who ordered large greeting cards and bookmarks from the coop. I'm afraid that without these orders the ladies would not have been motivated enough to make paper again before I left, mostly due to the fact that Fatima and Hefida (the two members that have made paper before) have been and will be traveling a lot recently.

They made twenty two sheets of paper on Tuesday all by themselves, meaning that I only supervised the operation and gave them little reminders when I saw that they had forgotten a step, but I did not form a single sheet of that paper.

I was very pleased to see Fatima and Hefida explain the process to the other girls present. They were visually proud that they knew this very unusual skill, and that they were already so proficient at it.

By Thursday morning the paper was already dry and they were ready to tear down the sheets to make cards and bookmarks and cut out envelopes from a pattern I had made.

Hefida worked on drawing out new designs for the cards and both Hefida and Ashora worked on embroidering them.

By Friday they had two cards complete with another on the way. They have orders for a total of ten cards and three or four bookmarks, which they wont have any trouble filling by their deadline of November 9th. They do very well filling orders using the color chart of embroidery threads I made for them back when they were working with Mushmina making t-shirts. (To see an Al Falah t-shirt for sale click here.)

I'm really hoping that they will stick with this project and that the next volunteer encourages them to expand their line of paper products. Because greeting cards are not really appealing to the Moroccan market (for the most part), it will be very important that they continue going to craft fairs that cater to a tourist market if they choose to continue with this product line.

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