Campaign successfully funded on: 20 Apr,2014
What is Exposé Artisanal.
Exposé Artisanal is an inspiring arts and development crowd funding project to reveal the Fassi artisans, and explore the often overlooked skills that go into the famed traditional crafts of North Morocco. It will enable a wider public to meet and become acquainted with the traditional crafts people and take pleasure in the personalities, stories, skills and their work. The project includes an exhibition,a give-back project and a book recording the research. A proportion of book sales will go towards sustainably funded, creativity exchanges between artists, designers and artisan.
Why Exposé Artisanal
Until recently there was a sincere and gentle-natured Fassi craftsman who wove grass prayer mats for worshipers to kneel on during personal and communal prayer. He interwove grasses in a stable-like workshop off the main thoroughfare of the ancient Fez medina. The shift in the demand from local, hand-crafted, natural materials to globally, factory-produced, plastic matting had been growing for some years. With offspring who nourish alternative ambitions, a lack of appreciation for his handicraft and his legacy coming to an end, the artisan and the craft of grass-woven prayer mats in Fez died out together. Other traditional Moroccan skills are diminishing with the passing away of the last generation of ‘Mallums/Mallumas ”, Master’ crafts people.
Meanwhile as the nature of tourism in Morocco develops and the number of visitors to Fez’ ancient medina increases, more and more handicrafts are being purchased with no introduction or increased benefit to them, the creators. Visitors, often held back by language are nervous about stepping into the workshops. Now, with Culture Vultures, guests are invited to discover who and what are behind the scenes in the craft workshops.
We aim to increase appreciation for the precious Fassi artisans and nurture a community of contributors to support the artisan ship in Fez, helping to keep the Fassi crafts alive and kicking.
Who is behind this crowd-funding project?
Photo Vanessa Bonnin.
Jess Stephens is a visual artist, and passionate supporter of cultural heritage and contemporary art. She moved to Morocco with much fervor in 2007. Now a happy resident surrounded by hospitable neighbors, a rich history and much stimulation Jess lives in a market town close to Fez. Culture Vultures is an umbrella arts and culture organization that she established in 2009 for arts projects that connects artists from Fez and all corners of the globe with the public. Artisanal Affairs was set up two years ago for the public at visitors to Fez to meet the makers and creators behind the Famous Fassi crafts through tours, workshops and residencies. The past few years have been full and inspirational, leaving a legacy of rich experiences and cross-cultural encounters. See http://culturevulturesfez.org
The Fassi artisans involved in this project are warm, welcoming and resourceful characters who are happy and eager to share their stories and offer insights into their lives. Many of these master crafts people have forged their skills over a life time and still practice their crafts in the work spaces where they were apprentices.
Photo Holger Gross
Research and Researchers
Research will be carried out by Moroccan and international artists through Culture Vultures’ extensive local and international network, an artist residency program and portfolios already underway. The researchers will meet the makers, explore their processed and discover their stories, images and insights and give added value to what goes on backstage. Techniques, tales, myths, faith and daily events will be revealed to commemorate the unique personalities of the old medina, giving the artisans a voice.
The Arena of Fez
The ancient city of Fez, the oldest car-free urban environment in the world, was founded over 1200 years ago. It is known as the spiritual, knowledge and craft capitol of Morocco. Fez medina is a monumental labyrinth where many traditional crafts are still executed, some desperately trying to maintain the chain of their crafts long history.
Our target of 10,000 dollars covers extensive research, a donation of a portrait book already executed to the relevant artisans, preparation and presentation of the exhibition, publicity, the creation and publication of a book that will allow the artisans of Fez to share their stories and insights with the world at large. Please contact us if you would like a more detailed budget breakdown.
What will Contributors Receive?
This project aspires to be as collaborative and collective as possible. Many people are already involved as the ‘Exposé Artisanal’ community grows. If we reach our target each backer becomes a comrade and supporter and is invited to contribute questions, input and feedback. We, the core team, aim to provide weekly insights and short clips to keep you up-to-date with research and discoveries. Rewards are listed, all of which come from the hands and hearts of Fez’ craftspeople or Culture Vultures’ portfolio of rich experiences.
Why We Like Zoomaal
Zoomaal is a Beirut-based crowd-funding site that exclusively promotes projects in the Arab world.
Zoomaal is an all-or-nothing funding program. We've set our target at 10 000 US dollars. If we don't reach our target, the project won’t happen…this time around.
Please Share – If you like this project and know others who would like to join the community, follow this venture or contribute in any way please pass this link on. We value participation and input on a par with funding support. A friend of this project is a comrade of the artisans of Fez.
Jess Stephens / Artist and Cultural Coordinator. – firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, relevant articles and insights see
We have had an overwhelming week of great feedback, positive vibes and a fattening fund account. Thank you. Over 1500 dollars has been raised in just a week and a half, 1000 project views, dozens of funders, many a pat on the back and gun-ho cheer. A new community that supports and appreciates the Fassi artisans is growing healthily and the word is spreading. On Monday we have a buzz-buzz event ( see link below if in Fez), local printers will sponsor us for publicity and so much more is rolling in.
If you have a question you would like to ask a few of the artisans please let us know and we will get on down to the old town, ask away and report back. A blog is being developed to share these insights. Once polished I will forward the link.
One a personal level I am wowed, inspired and fired by the offer of collaborations and support. Any suggestions or new connections are always appreciated. Continue posting, sharing and telling the world that they can meet the artisans of Fez, keep their stories alive and their souls fired by clicking one green button.....
Meanwhile...Chokrane from the heart of Fez medina.
Dear Supporters,Here’s a mail to keep you up to date with the progress with the project Exposé Artisanal. We, the team, have embarked on a great rich adventure; one which gathers friends, nurtures new ideas and further bonds with the traditional crafts people in Fez. Like any explorer, one may know the destination but there is nothing quite so stirring as the expedition and discoveries along the way. Expose Artisanal has a snow ball effect taking place that we hope will continue not only throughout the crowdfunding campaign but long after through the project’s realization and beyond.
On Monday 3rd of February a presentation meeting was held in the handsome study center Riad ALIF* with the aim of spreading the word and growing a supporting artisanal community. A curious crowd of young modern Moroccans with one eager foot in their heritage, foreign residents from the four corners of the globe and to our great delight some of our artisanal friends from deep in the medina gathered around our tea pot. The project was presented, golden issues were raised, strings strummed and Expose Artisanal grew.
Citizen reporters are our new buzz word; they are folk who are already admirers of the ancient medina of Fez with the desire to delve further, meet an artisan, document a story or reveal a craft personage. They can be writers, photographers, poets, video makers, song writers or simply keen artisan fanatics. Workshops, round tables, competitions, open artisanal tours and small events like poetry slams have been programmed to guide, entice and inspire. This week we led local photographer Anaas Med el Ismaeli* into some of our friends workshops. Magic, endearing moments and incredible shots were the result. If interested in becoming a Citizen Reporter here is a link.
What more to say other than Chokrane to all, you backers and the bubbling community that grows around the artisans of Fez and of course, the warm and welcoming crafts personalities. Please continue to push, share and fly our flag. It’ was a busy week of brainstorming, event organizing, facilitating and introducing and now it’s back at the computer to get the funds rolling back in.
Exposé Artisanal Director
*owned by the American Language Center/ Arabic Language Institute Fez
*Anaas Med El Issmaeli can be found www.asilvisu.ma
Dear artisan supporters,
Please excuse the previous update error. This improved update comes to you with a few exciting bulletins and the first few paragraphs.!!
We are now half way through the funding campaign to raise monies for Exposé Artisanal, a journey to bring us even closer to the artisan community. This involves documenting their personalities and tales, gathering the material on an online platform, presenting a pOp uP mUseum and publishing a book. Inshallah.
Over the period of the campaign, the number of citizen reporters is increasing, funds are rising, people from across the board are becoming more informed and the momentum is increasing.
Exposé Artisanal was proudly presented at the Marrakech Biennale this past week in conjunction with a call out for artists to link to artisans in September’s Artist Residency program coming out of Fez and Sefrou. The regional delegates are giving us their support and the dialogue between the public and the craftsmanship continues.
This March, Culture Vultures presents a few milestone events.
The aim is to continue to boost the project's profile, raise more funds, further build relations and grow Exposé Artisanal’s population. We hope that these events will inspire and fire you, our backers and e-community and others wishing to join the ‘mallum(a) movement’.
International Women’s Day March 8th will see a medina hunt for bling bits, a jewelry assemblage workshop and a design exhibition of a new collection by the Cooperative Art de Fes. For more on this event see the linked art-tickle.
This update, at the closure of the Exposé