THE SUNDAY PAPER: MAKERS ISSUE
This issue started with a 36 hour trip to Marrakech. Planned last minute and in a haste, the journey felt so much longer, without much of a plan but to explore, inundated by the smell of roasted peanuts, freshly squeezed oranges, and fried sugar pastries. During my trip, I met a range of wonderful characters who showed me around and took me on the back of their scooters (thrilling without a helmet) through the urban wilderness of the souks, where humans, bicycles, motorbikes, cars, donkeys, carts, and street stalls all compete for space. Oh, I do enjoy travelling alone! For the people you meet so spontaneously, for being able to live by your own rules, for the solitary meals enjoyed with delightful satisfaction.
I had just arrived when I met Kamal Laftimi, the founder of some of the city’s favourite restaurants. Shortly after we met to discuss this issue’s food column, he offered to show me around, taking me to a couple of his most loved places. This is how, a few hours later I found myself enjoying a solo dinner on the terrace of one of Kamal’s restaurants, slowly savouring the delicious sardine tart he had recommended while watching the sun go down behind the Atlas mountains, the soundtrack of prayer playing in the background.
After a few more rides with Kamal and a few more golden discoveries, I went to visit the Marrakshi Life atelier. Molly from Desmond & Dempsey had spoken to me about it with such awe, but it was only when I visited Randall Bachner’s studio that I realised the beauty of his work. The atelier had an incredible atmosphere of community, filled with looms which were like offices for the weavers: in each 2m space they had their radio, their snacks, their shoes tucked away. They worked lying down or sitting on little wooden chairs, often in pairs. I observed the intense connection of the weavers to the looms while delighting in their talent for this age-old craft on the verge of extinction.
In a world where life is overtaken by the mass-produced, by law of contrast, we are eager to discover slower processes and to surround ourselves with long-lasting objects that have a story and meaning. There is something so beautiful about creating something with your hands, feeling it on your skin, trying and erring, caring for it, giving it patience, and seeing your work grow and slowly take form. It makes you want to get your hands dirty, be it while making ceramics, painting, embroidery, fixing something in your home, polishing your shoes or tending the garden. Whatever is done with knowledge and care will inevitably be of better quality, and its beauty will increase with the passing of time.
So here is an issue dedicated to the Makers out there. Makers who are curious seekers in foreign lands, who are risk-takers, creatives, adventurers and artisans, with stories of places, found objects and often unexpected plans. Makers whose work is deeply linked to a culture and a land. In addition to Randall and Kamal, in this issue, we have Leah, who turned an unexpected love, a pregnancy and a journey around the world into an opportunity to design artisanally-made baby clothing with local fabrics from her travels. Laila, whose Egyptian roots of conviviality translate into unique food experiences and designs. Grillo, whose gardening passion marries his work as a painter, and finally, James and Florence, who deliver flowers to your door on bikes they design and make themselves. We praise their dedication to bringing something beautiful and meaningful as a lasting contribution to the world through their own efforts, creative minds and hands. We celebrate their contagious passion.
Giada Mariani, Editor-in-Chief