28th January blind school

The itenary for this trip had a few set days, one of the being a visit to the school for the blind. I was actually very excited for this. The opportunity to talk, mess around with students sounded fun, however i was also very interested to see how what some might refere to as “less fortunate”live. On the day sally received an email saying that as there had been exams the majority of the students had gone home, so only a few of the older students were left. This wasn’t an issue though we would happily spend time with whoever.

MY first shock was how different society is out side of the madina, it wasnot poverty stricken like inside the wall .There seem to be Luxury condos , expensive shops and a lot less tradition coats and clothing. The streets were wider and filled with more cars than bikes. AS we pulled in to the school it also occurred to all of us that these children from a very young age to young adult live on site. As beautiful as the place was they would spent most of their time there. 

We were welcomed and shown to a small sitting room where we just about fitted in, slowly a few students trickled in to the room where they started to talk to us. Admittedly we were all quite shy and didn’t really know how to respond. The difficulty was that only a few students knew enough English to properly communicate with us our French was shocking and Arabic none existent so communication was a bit difficult . As time passed we relaxed a little and communicateion was slightly easier but not great. IN the madina were talking to adults who have finished school where these children are still learning the languages. It sounds like im putting the blame on them im not, they are learning so much compared to i us and dont take it to granted wheres i only speak English and sarcasm . I think it was us who may not have been up to standard to meet with these students. 

Chris who is fluent French helped us all and read/ acted out a poem and song. There were about about 8 students with us at the time and well they weren’t really interested in his story but it eased everyone up. After that a group of girl came in  and performed for us. They sang used drums and other small instrments. IT was fantastic! It was clear to see that even though their eyesight may be impaired they are not at a loss. The happiness that they get from the music especially but sports maths, languages showed that they have a good quality of life. I may not be the most musical but  my lack of talent made them laugh and i couldnt ask for anything more. 

There were points where some of the girls felt a little uncomfortable as some of the male students were showing some interest in especially the blond girls.There were a lot of photos being taken and some uncomfortable questions , however by that point in the week we had learnt to just ignore it . 

The expirience was very mixed there was a difficult language barrier, none of us knew what to expect we probably felt pity to begin with. But after talking to them hearing them sing i found that  on the compound they feel safe cared for they learn and have friends that understand them and support them. The head master gave a speech in English which was not one of his main languages, he talked about how honoured they were to have the tradition of our student going every year, which brought a tear to most of our eyes. Instead i felt honoured to be welcomed in to their school and see how they live and work and how much harder they work than me. To see what they accomplished and how they taken their life into their own control and found a way to live incredibly happy and well. The are certainly not less fortunate.

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27th January, The fake camel ride 

When i first choose to go on this Morocco trip i knew that if i saw camels that were treated fairly well and not abused i would go for a camel ride. I was super executed as the camel is the most mostly associated animal with North Africa and the deserts. Also i feel like it was a once in a life time opportunity its. 

The guide SIed suggested a “camel” ride the Palmer * an area of land where palm trees are grown* Where it would cost 300 Durham. If the animals were in good shape I didn’t think it was a bad deal. SO i decided to tag along. After a 20 minute ride with banging tunes in the car we arrived at the p-Almere where camels lined up with men in tunics under a tent in the trees. The camel seemed a good wqeiught or what i presumed to be a good weight no bones sticking out munching away on some greens. 

We were dressed in traditional riding clothes a colourful long tunic with a head scarf which came in handy when the rain came. The attire wasn’t the most flattering but i felt the part. The men started to line up the camels  high after i paid realised were very very closely tied together, most behaved but the odd one that didn’t sit down were hit in the neck. I found this quite difficult to watch. But other than that they were treated pretty well. 

We had Zulu in the front then Cous cous, Shakira, Victoria, Beyoncé (my camel), Michael Jackson followed by James bailey. I have to say the best line up of camel there could have been. WE started our hour treck through the palm trees, all was calm having a nice plodd with Beyoncé when another group of camel passed the two males of the group made the most terrifying( out of no where) noise, a very guttural and gravelly sound. As the camels were so closely tied Michael Jackson vocal display was incredibly close to my leg. As it took me by surprise i nearly fell of Beyoncé. 

We also got a bit confident the camels have a very gentle gait meaning we could swap legs on the camel and sit side saddle which entertained us a little. This is wehere the two men with us dropped the bomb. 
I WASNT ON A CAMEL!
I was in fact seated on Dromedary also know as  the Arabian camel, this meant it had one hump where’s actuall camels have two. This may not seem like a big difference to most but to me this was ground breaking. As this was a great topic area for debate i was annoyed i was indeed not on what is considered a camel in Marrakech. Other than that i thouroughly enjoyed the expirience they weren’t baldly abused and by a lot of standards greatly cared for. I really enjoyed the cultural expirience of sitting for tea (which honestly tasted like dromedary wee) and wearing the traditional clothing. Sitting on logs Ina tent hung in the tress was a different expirience for tea time that i had expirienced through the trip. 

26th Ysl gardens and henna 

Today was a free day of sorts we were able to choose what activities we did that day, the majority of us preference to stay as a larger group as being mainly females we get more attention from the locals. Hence the large group, although we come across more touristy theres safety in numbers. The descion was to go to the Majorelle gardens also known as the ysl gardens. In this space is a shrine to the late Yvette saint Laurent. 

After an interesting 15 minute walk which unfortunately became a 50 minute walk outside the madina we found the garden which was suituated in a lovely building site that I’m sure Heath and safety would thouroghy approve of.The garden was spectacular, so much vibrant colour and foliage that drew in the many tourists. I discover many interesting textures and interesting shadows and light patterns through the many breeds of trees. 

However the most beautiful part of the gardens were the vibrant klein blue columns rising from the ponds. The intense colour contrasts but is harmonious with the clinging vines and flora incasing the structures. When I imagine the colours of morroco i see the sunset orange of the madina walls ad klein blue of the gardens. The garden reminded of an oasis suituatted in the middle of a dry dresser. The growth and life within its walls are clearly etched in my mind.

Sadly we did stay long in the gardens but if given the chance i would love to go back drawing  and photograph just to spend more time in the utopia.The sheer beauty and vibrancy of the colours were hard to capture in any form other than sight. Although it was at the beginning of the trip i could tell it was one of the highlights.

We all walked back towards the Riad where we were meeting to continue on to the clock cafe. This is where we were having our henna lesson. Maqrrakech is a a maze like city meaning it is difficult to navigate but so very easy to get lost. One of the men at the riad, hemmi led us the way to the cafe which wasn’t much further than the thumbs and goverment shop. 

IT appeared they weren’t really expecting us and went on a merry chance to find the lady who was meant to teach us henna. IN the mean time we all ate. The food was delicious and they’re specialIty drink mint lemonade was to die for im feeling the withdrawal already. After a little while a lovely lady came with her hand made henna tool, glitter and photos. One by one we sat down and she created the most beautiful and intricate patterns on our hands. She only spoke Arabic and French so the manager of the cafe, Tarim acted as an interpretator. She decorated us with swirling patterns, our names in Arabic, hearts flower and glitter. 

However one of the most interesting parts for me was the cultural diversity of her patterns. ON myself she influenced southern Indian traits within the henna, others had Saudi Arabia or wedding pattersn, curling their hand and arms. She made each of us individual matching to the clothes were wearing finding out our names, it was a beautiful expirience. 

25th January, The Tour 

Im a fussy eater, breakfast being the worst meal of the day for me. However Moroccan food or what ive had so far                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is fantastic lamb, beef chicken vegetables, rice, cous cous, hand made breads, rotis mint tea and more. I think an important part and one way of intergrating in to a culture is to try the local cuisine. The breakfast was a positive way to start the day and cake for breakfast doesnt hurt. 

Our tour took us on a short walk through the Jewish quarter to the Bahaia Palace. Where we toured the beautifully crafted palace previously owned by the prime minster in the 19th century, where it housed his four wives, 24 concubines and many children. The ornate courtyards and halls housed important governmental figures including kings and was the place of important desisions. For me the architecture and use of materials were beautiful. The locally scourced cedar wood had been hand carved into intricate designs covering the ceilings and half the walls. IT was incredibly ornate and beautiful the many courtyards with lively gardens were a beautiful sight against the vibrant tiles. 


The next stop was the Menara gardens which from what i saw didn’t really look like a garden, outside the madina where the rich flourish we walked down a long stretch surrounded by olive trees. WE reached a resovioure of sorts looking over an absolutely stunning tea hous peering in front of the Atlas Mountains. Surrounding the resovouir were milled of olive trees. To maintain this healthy garden the water wears full of Karpov, that are know to reach 15kg. We stood feeding these massive fish delicious bread whilst viewing the beautiful scenery before heading back to the coach. 

Ben yeses old university Suks 

Medicine man 

The square 

Food 

Tombs 

Goverment shop 780-69

24th January Cardiff-Bristol- Marekech 

After a grulling and dark 3.00am wake up we made it on to the flight and to morocco safe and sound. 
THe airport was beautiful and modern with fantastic patterns on the outside of the building. Already had seen repeat patterns of stars, triangles and circles. Happy that my previous research for my digital stitch was some what correct we drove to the madina. The coach ride was terrifying as cars, bikes, motorcycles and coaches were all fighting for their place on the road both left and right side, locals bundles up with scarfs and woolly coats on the the 16 degree heat practically summer for us British. I noticed straight away how health and safety were out the window children stuffed between parents on a motor cycles waving joyously at the tourists on the bus, weaving between traffic and people walking through the road playing chicken with the transport speeding round the corners. Safe to say my nerves were shot to shreds. 

We arrived at the riad a beautifully tiled and inviting hotel with the kindest people there to help us. The highlight being the balconys on each floor viewing a clearing the in the centre of the buildings, again stunning vibrant tiles and warm paechy clay. The views were stunning of the frost bitten mountains km away to the constants beeping of horns from the road bellow the roof top was all stunning. 

After and lengthy game of “who wants what room” myself and holly decided to take a walk, find some oranges. As I said in the previous post I had a lot of pre conception of the culture which I tried to ignore so I would be able to experience the city myself. Unfortunately it went a bit wrong. What seemed like a friendly chap refused to leave us along helping us haggle show us sites untill he insisted we went to his family restaurant . When we declined he unfortunalty got angry, we were able to escape after some shouting about their customs how we were rude. I was quite shacken up. When going to distinctly culturally different places I try to be as respectful as possible, however in the U.K. Even if someone is being terribly nice I am not trusting enough to go somewhere unknown with a lack of people with someone I don’t know. I truly felt bad that I had disrespect his culture, but he was rude a little bit aggressive and said some nasty thing about me directly. It may be ignorant but even when trying to be respectful I will not ignore my own ideals and values.

This didn’t give me high hopes for the rest of the trip, however with some fantastic cous cous, some new Cardiff met friends and a group walk I felt much better. It was only a sample of one area with hopefully just one nasty person. With different activities lined up with support from my group and the beautiful surroundings of Marekech I hope to have a much more enjoyable and informative time in Morocco. 

Before Marekech  

Initially when I think or even google Morocco I picture tiles bright colours, community, religion and well desert, these are stereotypes that the majority of people especially in the west associate with Morocco. From an artist point of view I focus on the vibrant colours of dyes, pigment, thread, tiles and spices. I imagine materiality and craft due to the suk its stalls craftsmen making, baking selling their trade. However from a cultural view I think of prominent religion regurlar prayer hierarchy in society both generation and sexes. I am from a a multi cultural country where there are many apposing opinion and faiths or even non beliefs. I want to see if the multiple religions are similar or if they are like the western worlds take on multi cultural society. I don’t mean to offend anyone but it seems the main religions out here Islamic, Jewish, Berber even Christianity are fairly similar to me , this is more than like to lack of information and expirience. The majority of people belong to a religion which seems to be one of the main focuses of the society here. And that is fine. I have no issue with religion I actually find it very interesting to see if religion is as prominent in everyday life as I assume it will be. I am intrigyed to see if the different faiths compete and over rule or if they harmoniously thrive in the city. I am aware that women have a lower position in society than ,en here, im lead to believe that women are thought of possessions and should be hidden away, I want to see if this is just another stereotype or if it’s true. If it is true how will I be able to deal with the conflicting emotions of the suituation. Targeting these cultural issues will help me create a deeper understanding of the city and help me produce an outcome that I feel is connected to its inspiration. 

Morocco digital stitch 

Before the trip to Marracetch we were tasked to experiment with different techniques in preperation for out outcome when we get back. I wont know what i plan to use for inspiration for the project, however Moroccan tiles are very famous so i thought this would be a good starting place ton play with Colours and the process of digital stitch. 

  
I googles some photos but took my main inspiration from the tiles in my house. AS I have not been to morocco yet and this is just a test these generic google photos are perfect for a test.

I wanted to create a tile like pattern using the depiction of diamonds squares and circles. Which i found that repeating enough creates a complex pattern made of simpl shapes and colours.  


I took note of the bight, dark and warm toned colours which i associate with morocco. These could just be a stereotype of the area but for now I think it is a good representation and a simplified version from the research I have already seen .

Using the Digitilizer programme on the computers i used the repeat and line tools. With these i wanted s able to create a mandala style pattern in a circular formation. I found the key to these tiles or patterns is repetition varying the quantities to utilise the space availed like within the circular boundarys. 

The Bottom row of buttons in the picture above contain two of the most useful tools within the programme. The yellow button with a square reflects a shape in to the corners of your design. ( 3rd icon in, yellow) The following yellow button is a repeat tool, whatever shape you click on will multiply in a circular form. You can relate it many many time with a number scale right next to it .THis also insures that all the shape used with this tool are evenly spaced and symmetrical. 

The tool bar at the far side of the picture shows you every shape that is on the design and what tool was used to make it. This allows me to see what i have done and fine specific elements of the2 design to wither change or delete . IOITs a simplified and Moore logical representation of the design.