Ceramic Tiles > World Class
Tunisian Ceramic Tiles
HAND MADE CERAMICS from
Nabeul (Neapolis, or New City) ancient
battlefield for the Greek founded in the 5th Century AC and twin
sister to an other Neapolis (Naples, Italy), is the Capital of the
Ceramic in Tunisia.
to its strategic location in the Central Coast of the
Mediterranean and the diversity of its agricultural produces,
Nabeul has known a massive flow of immigrants from all over the
Mediterranean who brought with them a know-how in agriculture
development as well as in manufacturing industries.
Known since the Greek and Roman
eras for its pottery made out of fine terra cotta, Nabeul has
developed a more diversified quality of pottery with the arrival
of Islam to the Region, by shifting it styles to the well-known
Persian Decor (current Iran)
Ceramics has been since
considered for Mosques and Palaces Decor.
Nabeul has know three major
stages in its optimization of techniques and pottery production.
In a first stage, Nabeul's
pottery shown strong development signs following the influence of
the Renaissance Movement, born in the neighboring Italy.
Later on, Muslims chased from
Andalusia, Spain (15th Century DC) after the conquest of Spain by
the Catholics, found refuge in the Region of Nabeul and
A last major influence on the
fired pottery production took place when the Country became under
French Protectorate (19-20th Century DC)
A dozen of Mom & Pop companies,
in major part of Andalusia, Spain origins, supply about 80% of the
Tunisian overall Ceramics production, consisting of : building and
hardware (bathroom and kitchen decor) , decorative (ceramic murals
and tiles) , and kitchenware products (dinnerware and tea sets.)
The increasing number of
tourists visiting the region has contributed to the growth of
pottery production, soliciting artisans to come out with designs
to meet the "European Tastes."
Today, local authorities
finance networks of schools to teach the art of pottery in order
to boost supply, and support meeting the international demand for
Mom and Pop factories.
Nabeul's ceramics are mainly
exported to Italy, Malta, France, Greece, Spain, UK., Germany,
Belgium, Argentina, Australia, Canada ... and in recent years to
the United States.
Wall murals and backsplashes
are "must have" in every Tunisian house.
ceramic numbers and letters are the latest innovation in the
Tunisian Cultural Influences
Throughout its history, a
variety of nations held control of Tunisia, and people from other
nations migrated to this North African country. This led to the
variety of cultures living in Tunisia today. These Mediterranean
cultural influences are apparent in the beautiful designs,
patterns, and glazes of traditional Tunisian ceramics, cloth
tapestries, woven carpets, and the intricate olive wood carvings
that Tunisia is known for all over the world.
Cages > Exotic Tunisian Bird Cages
farming village, mainly fishermen established at the base of a
mountain which advances in the Mediterranean in a very exotic
cape, RAFRAF, is part of a dozen villages situated in the Western
Coast of Tunisia, resided by descendents of Muslims of Andalusia,
chased out of Spain by «Isabella la Cattolica» (Catholic Isabel)
These populations have brought with them from the rich Andalusia,
to Raf Raf and to other villages, a know-how in the hydraulic
field, farming, architecture, crafts, tissue and cotton, and other
manufacturing professions. Rafraf is celebrated in the Country of
- farming (grapes, of Raf Raf, a
variety of very sweet grapes, as well as « the pear of Raf Raf,
red and yellow »)
high couture, industry managed in
big part by local housewives, producing new designs of wedding
bags very appreciated in the rest of the Country
bird cage crafting, an industry
run by young artisans, mainly by men workers.
is located by the « Ichckeul Lake » recognized by the UNESCO as a
« patrimoine mondial » due to the site role as Winter Destination
for a variety of birds avoiding the European cold. It has been
lately observed that bird species all the way from Siberia fly to
« Lake Ichckeul » in European winter time.
In Raf Raf, tradition is that every house has one or more bird
cages for canary bird as ornament, and the first voices of the
morning consisted of the village’s alarm a clock. Coffee shops,
different artisans, barber shops … had also the tradition of
having a bird cage with a canary at the work place, until the
radio has been invented.
28 … has already 15 years of experience in manufacturing bird
cages. Already since elementary school, he helped his father at
the « bottega » manufacturing bird cages (a profession
transamitted from father to son) which he sold to tourists to pay
Half way thru in
college, Massoudi abandoned schooling and focused on improving the
Family’s Business of Bird Cages manufacturing.
With a growth in
the tourist visitors the region (5 million tourists visited
Tunisia in 2003, Tunisia for only 10 million habitants), the bird
cage demand went up, and Massoudi requested a Government loan to
improve his Mom & Pop business, remodel the « bottega » and create
a better business environment in order to manufacture always a
more qualitative product.
a team of 3 co-workers, Massoudi specializes in manufacturing a
higher end product line. His bird cages are very requested in the
rest of the Country, and many European tourist bird fans, take
souvenir pictures with him as they celebrate the pick up of a
their custom made bird cage.
In early 2004,
Massoudi asked for tech support to introduce his Bird Cage on ebay.
After amazing market test results, Crafts4less became Massoudi’s
gateway to his Western bird cage Fans, and your gateway for a
Higher End Bird Cage; Fun for the Birds … Decorative for the
About The Shape
bird cage tradition is known since the old Egyptian era, India,
Persian, Antique Greece, and the Sacre Roman Impire. But the cage
manufactured in Tunisia (more particularely in Raf Raf) has an
original shape. It is a reproduction of styles and motifs of of
the Arab Mulsim architecture developed in Syria, Iraq, and Muslim
Andalousie (8th-15th century) : the dome in metal wire consists of
the reproduction of the domes of the Mosques (as in the Cordoba
Mosque, now a Catholic Church)
shape of the base is the reproduction of Noble Families Balconies
(as we see it in the Al Hambra Palace, Grenada)
Even the geometric
shapes given to the meta in the bird cage, are an imitation of the
house windows in Old Town Cordoba, Grenada, and Seville in Spain,
as well as in many Tunisian houses.
Raf Raf Cage is manufactured in different sizes (anywhere from 10
to 60 inches in height, with a dome diameter usually half the
height.) It is offered either in natural wood and wire, or white
painted wire with blue, sugnificant to the Mediterranean colors.
It is commercialized
everywhere in Europe mainly in tourist areas
Olive wood > Tunisian Olive Wood
Mediterranean Olive Wood has a history as rich and interesting as
the history of the country of Tunisia and of its people. The
diversity of cultural influences and the traditional wood-turning
skills that are passed down from one generation of craftsman to
the next, combine to create unique, one-of-a-kind olive wood
products that are truly works of art.
The olive wood is interesting,
in its own right, with no two grains being alike. Mediterranean
olive wood is heavy, dense and durable, with a distinctive red
pigment in its grain. Colors also range in nuances of cream to
dark brown, with irregular gray, brown, and black lines. The
complex and irregular veins give the carved olive wood the
appearance of marble. Olive wood requires minimal care. An
occasional rubbing with natural olive oil will restore the wood's
History of Tunisia
Native Tunisians are
descendants of indigenous Berber and Arab tribes that migrated to
North Africa during the seventh century. Recorded history in
Tunisia begins with the arrival of Phoenicians, who founded
Carthage and other North African settlements.
Carthage was captured by the Romans in AD 146, and the Romans
continued to rule North Africa until they were defeated by
Germanic tribesmen from Europe in the fifth century.
The Muslim conquest in the seventh century transformed North
Africa. Tunisia became a center of Arab culture until its
assimilation into the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
In the 19th century, in 1869, an international financial
commission was formed, and France, the United Kingdom, and Italy
established control over the Tunisian economy. France later
established a protectorate in Tunisia, in 1881. Resistance to
French rule continued into the 20th century, and this rise of
nationalism led to Tunisia's independence in 1956.
Traditional Olive Wood Artistry
Hand-carved Tunisian Olive Wood
has a history as rich and interesting as the history of the
country of Tunisia and of its people. The diversity of cultural
influences and the traditional wood-turning skills that are passed
down from one generation of craftsman to the next, combine to
create unique, one-of-a-kind olive wood pieces that are truly
works of art.
Mediterranean olive wood is heavy, dense and durable, with a
distinctive red pigment in its grain. Colors also range in nuances
of cream to dark brown, with irregular gray, brown, and black
lines. The complex and irregular veins give the carved wood the
appearance of marble. It is one of the most expensive woods
around, and it is rare to find olive wood carvings, or even olive
wood in the United States.
The olive wood is interesting,
in its own right, with no two grains being alike. Olive wood is
easily recognized and differentiated from other woods by its
unique and aesthetic grain. The artistically smooth and exotic
grain of the olive wood, tags it as the most creative wood known
to man. It is very difficult to match the grain of two pieces
since the pattern is completely hidden in the heart of the wood.
This durable wood needs only an occasional rubbing with olive oil
to bring out the pattern of the wood grain.
The characteristics of the olive wood renders it an ideal material
for a variety of crafted wares and decorating accessories such as
the cutting boards, trays, coasters, cutlery, bowls, chess sets
and sculpture found in marketplaces and households throughout
Mediterranean countries. This is especially true in Tunisia, where
the tradition is deeply rooted in local olive wood artistry.