For those unaccustomed to Moroccan textiles, the concept of 'Sabra Silk' or 'Cactus Silk' can feel like a strange concept to comprehend - how can a succulent desert plant be turned into a finely hand-woven fabric? Let us explain...
Cactus silk a luxurious fabric made from the Saharan Aloe Vera Cactus - using a process that has changed very little over the centuries - the cactus leaves are crushed and then soaked in water to break up the fibres, in a very similar process to the way flax is extracted to make linen. The fibres are then dried and spun into a fine silk. The finished woven fabric has a visible weave to it, again similar to linen, which is then dyed using natural pigment dyes - often from other botanicals or minerals - then used to create cushions.
We hand-select a range of unique pastel colours, from blush pinks to pale aquas and cool mints to soft white and dove greys. These are then over stitched using hand embroidery to add traditional geometric embellishments. Each is completely unique, taking up to 5 days to create and because of their handmade nature it is very rare to find a matching pair of sabra cushions.
'Sabra', in the modern world, has been cheaply replicated using rayon fibres - finding an authentic Sabra artisan who uses the tradition methods of fibre extraction from the cactus, pigment dying and hand embroidery is getting rarer and rarer across Morocco. We are proud to be showcasing this beautiful heritage skill, ethically made using a sustainable natural fibre in our range of one-off artisan-made Sabra cushions.