This is the second post in my sea inspired series using beautiful, softly tumbled sea glass beads from Znetshows.com. I absolutely love the pale aqua blue in these beads. And normally I would just stop with blue, the color of the sea, and a touch of silver wire. Usually I gravitate to using silver with sea glass as I feel like it brings a sharp, fresh feel to the design.
But in these, I went with gold and it brought out the touch of the exotic to each pair. The gold also paired up beautifully with this soft yellow, a color I had yet to try from the huge color choices over at Znetshows. The chain had me thinking of belly dancers, which a few of you might remember some past designs I did with a similar theme. These designs got me into a Near East state of mind for some reason, and transported me to the shores of North Africa.
The term Near East isn't used much anymore. Originally it was used to refer to the Ottoman Empire, and the countries under its control that lined the shores of the Mediterranean. The term was used in contrast to territories that would fall in the Far East, or Northeast / Southeast Asia and Far East Russia. Both terms are clearly defined through a Western lens. It described territories by the super powers of the age, the British, French and Spaniards, as they fought to gain more land and riches and outline the world by their conquests. Today, the terms are used mostly in the context of history and old empire boundaries.
There is an air of the exotic when I think of the historic region. It brings images of camels, sands, bangles, baskets and rich fabrics. Not to mention spices, tajines and tea served in glass cups. I long to shop the markets of Marrakesh or explore the romantic city of Casablanca. Not the one of Bogart and Bacall, but the ancient city called Anfa which was settled in the 7th century BC by the Berbers (the original indigenous people of North Africa). Berbers call themselves i-Mazigh-en, scholars guess the meaning to be 'free people' apart from the Romans and Greeks. The area was one of the most prosperous cities on the Atlantic coast because of its fertile land.
Anfa became a safe harbor for pirates, which was its undoing. The Portuguese attack and destroyed the town in 1468 and used the area as a military fortress. They renamed it Casablanca, meaning the White House. The old city of Casablanca is still referred to as Anfa. The beautiful Mosque in my inspiration board is called the Grande Mosquee Hassan II, and is the largest mosque in Africa, and 7th in the world. The minaret is 60 stories high and has a laser which light is directed towards Mecca. The building itself sits a rock edge looking out to the sea, and where the glass floor of the main hall shows the sea bed. The Mosque was commissioned by King Hassan II, with work starting in 1986 and finishing 7 years later. Pretty spectacular location looking out over the sea.
One more area that also sits near the top of my bucket list, right behind Croatia. Eventually I'll travel to Morocco, but probably after the kids are no longer traveling with us. Check out all the other designs and artists in this edition of Creative Spark.