5 – 19 September 2025

Travel with artist Maria Shell and explore the traditional Amazigh (Berber) crafts of Morocco at a grassroots level where women’s cooperative ventures present textile creations melding age-old skills with new innovations.
In Marrakech we visit the exquisite new Yves Saint Laurent Museum featuring his fashion design as well as the Berber Museum that houses the Moroccan textiles and jewellery that inspired his work.
We then venture into the High Atlas Mountains and follow the ancient trade routes across the Tizi’n’Tichka Pass from Marrakech to the Sahara. Weavers of carpets and cloth, embroiderers and basket weavers are found in remote locations where they still employ their skills and maintain their traditional life style.

Next we make our way north to Fes and the blue city of Chefchaouen for a feast of colour and Islamic culture, finishing in the capital city of Rabat.

The tour includes hands-on experiences and demonstrations with local artisans. We see some exquisite embroidery techniques, learn to tie knots to make rugs and explore some eco-dyeing using Pomegranate skins or Rose Madder root.
Maria Shell will share her skills and experience in Art Quilt making through activities that will gather inspiration from the colours, patterns and landscape of Morocco. We will be actively cultivating a library of future quilt ideas while we each develop a hand stitched ‘Story Quilt’ in response to our shared experience.


Inspiration is everywhere! Our focus during our travels will be on searching for and capturing the patterns, colors, culture, landscape, and architecture of Morocco.
We will take these sources of inspiration and experiment with methods; photography, journalling, and sketching, for extrapolating their essence into pieced patchwork.
This experience will cultivate material for future pieced quilt compositions.
Additionally, students will also be actively working on hand created story quilts that document both the experience of Morocco and our time together as a community bond by a love of adventure and textiles.
We will actively search for fabric bits and baubles to incorporate into narratives of our shared experience. A list of supplies to bring will be provided.

IMAGE above: Maria Shell, Tiny Bubbles


Maria Shell’s work is grounded in the tradition and craft of American quilt making. She strives to take the classical components of a traditional bedquilt and manipulate them with the hope of creating surprising combinations of pattern, repetition, and color for the viewer.

“My artwork is firmly grounded in the craft of quilt making. I have always been interested in pattern and how complex pattern can also create complex figure ground composition. How to make color vibrate on the wall through proportion of line and shape in relation to color. Color is dynamic, fickle, explosive, solemn, mysterious, and beautiful. It is with real joy that I try and try again to evoke deep emotion in the viewer through the use of color.”
Maria believes there is great value in cultivating original work and creativity in every individual. Making is an act of empowerment that can be a very gratify experience for everyone involved.

Maria is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation 2011 Winter Award, a Rasmuson Foundation Project Award and two Rasmuson Fellowships (2009, 2013, 2017). She has had many solo and small group exhibitions. Her first book Improv Patchwork—Dynamic Quilts Made with Line & Shape was published in 2017.


The tour is not an intensive workshop as there is too much to see and experience in Morocco, but time will be devoted to sharing ideas, discussing colour, pattern, materials and trialing techniques for future development as we work on our hand stitched ‘Story Quilt’ project.
Accommodation is provided in the most comfortable traditional guesthouses, where we enjoy the delights of Amazigh food and hospitality. You will discover the highlights of Morocco and the indigenous Amazigh (Berber) culture that evolves and continues largely through the extraordinary textiles traditions. We also enjoy music and a complete range of traditional cultural experiences and crafts.
Traveling with a small group of like-minded people and an experienced team of co-hosts the program offers an innovative and creative way to explore a new place that is stimulating, supportive and safe.