DAY ELEVEN (September 22, 2016)
On this day I embark on an "Artisan Tour" with the Green Olive staff to witness first hand how many of the traditional ceramics, wood carving, metal work, painting, embroidery, and weaving are done by the local artisans in Tetouan. Beautiful craftwork is found everywhere in Tetouan as it is embedded in the everyday fabric of life. For many of the artisans their craft has been passed down from generation to generation. Almost all of the craft work requires detailed knowledge of math and in particular "Sacred Geometry." I stand in awe watching the rug makers tie the single knots of thread that will become a full tapestry, weavers making beautiful wraps on a traditional loom, and leather makers tapping intricate designs into handbags, as well as engravers who spend the day chiseling out beautiful designs on brass trays.
We visit the "Tetouan Fine Arts Preparatory School", which was established by Mariano Bertuchi, a Granadan painter and arts educator, in 1945. Some of the young artisans begin their training in the 4 year program as young as 10 years of age. The program also serves to support some of the young people who experience difficulty in traditional schooling. They excel as artisans as they move through basics then choose to specialize in one of the fine crafts. The time and mastery that goes into the craft work deserves true respect. In a time of advanced machinery and technology it is humbling to know that there are still places in the world where true craftsmanship is preserved and passed on.