Marrakech, Morocco -- A year ago this fall, we opened our atelier in Marrakech. We built our atelier to expand our handmade collections beyond footwear and apparel and into home goods and accessories. We knew in order to do so, we would need to source new sustainable fabrics that our production team could design into well-made goods.
On one of our travel trips, we discovered a fabric that immediately brought us joy. We were intrigued by its texture and its colors. It evoked more than just beauty -- it sparked our curiosity. Holding and feeling it, we wanted to know more about what is was, what is was called, how and where it was made, and mostly, how we could repurpose it.
Read on to discover more what is Cactus silk and how it is repurposed at our atelier into a collection of one-of-a-kind home goods and accessories.
What is Cactus Silk?
Cactus silk, a vegetable silk or Sabra silk, is part of the agave family. It is a plant-derived silk harvested from Saharan aloe vera cacti in northern Morocco. The plants are most commonly found in the Saharan dessert.
After the silk fibres are taken from the plants, they are washed, dyed, dried and then hand-spun. Traditionally, the threads are hand-woven together by the Berber Tribe in the Atlas Mountain region. This is a long, delicate process. The hand-weaving process blends other natural fabrics in addition to the agave plant fibers, including chenille, cotton and yarn, and camel wool.
In addition to dyeing the threads with organic coloring, weavers often do free-hand embroidery work into each fabric inspired by their imaginations and feelings as well as traditional Moroccan geometric patterns. The result is a vibrant, beautiful finish with love woven through each piece of fabric. The dyeing and embroidering processes allow for each piece of fabric to become one-of-a-kind.
Res Ipsa and Cactus Silk
At our atelier in Marrakech, we repurpose Cactus silk into our collections of one-of-a-kind pillow cases, tote bags and clutches.
Abde Jalil — Bag Specialist
Cactus Silk Pillow Covers
Cactus Silk Tote Bags
Cactus Silk Clutches