The Master Tanners of Morocco, Photos by April PojmanPhotos by April Pojman
The industrialization that swept away much of the world's artisan production techniques in the nineteenth century, left the narrow winding streets of the medinas, or the old Arab sections of Moroccan cities, only marginally changed. The city of Fez continues to be home to some of the longest standing craft guilds in the world. Here, satellite dishes peer over century old artisan traditions that are supplied by materials carried in on the backs of donkeys. Pottery, henna, and fresh fruits and vegetables are sold in the open air around public squares, while in the tanneries, animal hides are processed and dyed by master tanners and their apprentices in a lengthy labor-intensive process. The tanning of hides by traditional means commands such respect that there is a type of leather known the world over by the name of Morocco.
When not traveling, writing, photographing or navigating her way through the back country, April Pojman is a masters student at the University of Guelph in Canada. Previously an independent consultant working with Latin American agricultural and artisan producer cooperatives, she now dedicates her time to learning about stakeholder participation, capacity building, and alternative methods for program evaluation. She looks forward to taking this knowledge back into the field.