Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Saturday, June 28, 2008

MOROCCO TANNERIES: PART 2 – DYING THE SKINS

[NOTE: Monday’s blog is appearing early due to travels]

The time consuming and smelly process of curing Moroccan leather hasn’t changed much in the generations that have practiced it. It’s an all-male guild, as Jade discovered when she passed through the tannery in her 1920 adventure, The Serpent’s Daughter. Last week, we looked at the tanning process. Next comes the dying.

Skins that have been cured are hung up to dry (photo 1 below), awaiting their trip into the dye vats. And there are a lot of choices for colors, all using natural dyes. My own guide in 2006 listed several for me.

Red from poppy flower

Orange from henna

Green from mint

Blue from cobalt

Black from kohl and

Yellow from saffron

It takes five to eight days for the dyes to completely penetrate the leather and produce the desired deep, rich hues. As in any of the processes, the men often get into the vats with the leather to better work their material (photo 2 below)

Finally the skins are hung again to be sold to the leather workers for making slippers, saddles, pouches, puffy ottomans, and other goods.

In the following video you can see the workings of the tannery. Be sure to watch for the big washing wheel.

video

NEXT WEEK: THE JMA EL FNA

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