Metroscope June 2008 Newsletter

We’ve returned from our latest buying trip to Morocco. It was great to be back there, see people who have become friends and try out the Derija (or Moroccan) I’ve been trying to learn.

 Moroccan lanternOur first stop after Casablanca was Safi, where we ordered more wrought iron work  – mirrors, chairs, decorative screens and table bases. Then to the ‘poteries’, which Safi is famous for, where we agonised over which tajines, bowls and platters to buy. Not an easy choice! We’ve had lots of requests for tiles, so new to our range will be small hand-painted tiles. The familiy we buy our ceramics from are refurbising a riad in Safi which will be quite impressive when finished, so if you are going to Safi and looking for a place to stay, let us know and we can pass on the details.

 Mosaic tableFrom Safi we went to Marrakech, as did  the King of Morocco, causing much havoc with traffic (the King, not us!). We were introduced to a new supplier for hand-painted wooden tables and we ordered a much larger selection with varying sizes and designs. We also ordered lots more zellige (or mosaic) tables wth some great new designs and colours. Customers have been telling us they want more hand-woven Berber floor cushions, so we selected a range of  Moroccan carpetsrugs to be made into cushions. And of course we ordered more lanterns, with some new designs coming our way.

Unfortunately prices of wrought iron and mosaic have increased. We will absorb some of the increase, but prices on some items will need to increase. Where we have been able to obtain lower  prices, such as on some of the hand-painted woooden tables, we’ll pass these on to you.

 Moroccan riadAfter a short sojourn in Spain, we headed to Fes. Unfortunately we were just a little bit early for the Sacred Music Festival, which I’m sure would be a great experience, but nevertheless we enjoyed our time there and stayed in the most gorgeous riad – Dar Seffarine (www.darseffarine.com). Kate and Alaa have done a magnificent job restoring this riad (or traditional home) and it is comfortable, spacious, clean and friendly. It felt like we were staying in a palace and we have no qualms in recommending it to anybody visiting Fes. In fact it’s a must!

And now we’re back home waiting for all our ceramics and tables to be made before the container is packed and sent on it’s way. We think/hope all will be done by the end of the month, and that the container takes a more direct route than last time. With luck it should be here by the beginning of September. Inshallah! We’ll keep you posted.

And before we sign off – just an update on the issue of the lead and cadmium content of tagines. All our ceramics and tagines have been tested at a government  laboratory here in Melbourne and results show they are safe to use.

We still have plenty of beautiful things in stock and we’re back to our usual winter trading time of 10 to 5.30 on Saturdays and other times by appointment. And just in case you think we’re closed because the colourful zelij tables are not on display outside – we are open, it’s just that the City of Yarra’s Footpath Trading Policy means we can’t display them outside.

We look forward to seeing you soon.