A local guide to traditional Tunisian crafts

Tunisia has a long history of craft making and is famed for its leather, pottery and weaving traditions.

Crafts differ region to region in Tunisia’s vast and varied communities; we take a closer look at just two of these unique communities.

Sousse in the Sahel region of Tunisia

Sousse in the Sahel region of Tunisia

We start in the Sahel area, roughly 100 miles south of the country’s capital, Tunis. This area was once well-known for its textile produce and traditional textile weaving methods whereby the craftsman or women will loop and weave the fabric, using a loom. Sadly this tradition is declining as demand declines and mass-production steps in to take over where the demand remains.

Salah practices his trade using a traditional loom in Tunisia.

Salah practices his trade using a traditional loom in Tunisia.

Here, we meet Salah.

Traditional Tunisian textile weaving using a loom has been passed down through Salah’s family for generations, and he is proud to continue the tradition as one of the increasingly few weavers still in the trade.

Salah uses his loom to produce foutas, more commonly known in the Western world as Hammam towels. The fouta is a thin piece of cotton or linen, with a simple and graphic print. They were first produced in Tunisia for men and women to wrap around themselves while at public baths.

Foutas (hammam towels) are fantastic for today’s traveller thanks to their lightweight, quick dry fabric. Best used at the spa, on the beach, as a scarf or even as a picnic blanket). 

- Purchase a fouta of your own, hand-weaved by Salah, from our online store

Next we move to Nabeul, a city approximately 40 miles south of Tunis. Nabeul has a long-history of traditional basket weaving.

Latifa weaves basket using traditional Tunisian methods

Latifa weaves basket using traditional Tunisian methods

In Nabeul, we meet sisters, Latifa and Jamelia, who have been basket-weaving most of their lives. Their parents were weavers too, and they learnt the craft by watching their parents from a young age.

Today Laifa and Jamelia use local produce and traditional methods to produce a variety of products, including these basket-bags, which are perfect for a summer city or beach break. 

- Purchase a basket-bag, hand weaved by Laifa and Jamelia, from our online store

We’ve proud to have teamed up with Tunisian-owned company, Babooshe, to bring you these products.

Babooshe is a lifestyle brand who have been featured in Elle, Financial Times, Good Homes, and more.

They’re focused on designing and distributing beautiful handmade Tunisian products, and committed to ethically sourcing and preserve these Tunisian crafts, traditions and skills of centuries by supporting individual craft producers and small businesses. 

- Help keen local traditions alive and share using the social channels below.