A very local economy

Leave a comment on today’s Mutterings, and you have a chance at winning a copy of the Garment of Shadows ARC.

One of the fascinating things about Fez is the way the crafts of everyday life are created where they are used: need a shirt, a chair, a bowl?  They’re still made down the street, or at most in the next neighborhood, as they were in cities before we started shipping goods from Korea or the Dominican Republic.

Everywhere you walk in Fez, the sounds of creation ring out: the rhythm of the loom, the whir of the lathe, the ceaseless tap and ring of hammer on brass.

Russell takes shelter in one such workshop:

A myriad of gleaming shapes shone back at me: stacks of brazen bowls, trays ranging from calling card–sized to sufficient for an entire roast sheep, bowls of similar variety, a dozen shapes and sizes of lamp.

To read more from Garment of Shadows, go here.

To order a copy—hardback, audio, e-book, or signed—go here.


  1. Kaye Crabill on July 17, 2012 at 6:08 am

    I have an antique copper pot from this area. The bottom is in the shape of a face of the sun and the finial of the wooden handle is a mans head wearing a bowler hat.

  2. Darryl DeLoach on July 17, 2012 at 6:10 am

    An awesome picture for the minds eye. I love that’s its like I’m almost there myself learning as Russell does, through first hand experience. Can’t wait for GofS!

  3. Susan Gainen on July 17, 2012 at 6:10 am

    I am an artist and I am always looking for inspiration. Now I must save my pennies for a trip to the Fez, where there will be lots of it.

  4. Seth Huckstead on July 17, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Hoping we can someday return to local made and sourced items.

  5. Libby Dodd on July 17, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Verbally evocative as always

  6. Carol M on July 17, 2012 at 6:26 am

    I’m learning so much from all your posts! They are so interesting!

  7. Linda on July 17, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I’ve never been much of a traveler, especially to “exotic” locations, but Russell and Holmes have taken me places with sights, sounds, smells and tastes that are so real that I feel I’m right there with them.

    I doubt I’d measure up as one of their traveling companions, but I certainly would enjoy trying!!

  8. Marianne Murphy on July 17, 2012 at 6:36 am

    I so long for Garment of Shadows…I’m missing Mary, as I listen (again) to her travails with not-so-picky Muslims in a small shop…

  9. Laurie M. on July 17, 2012 at 6:44 am

    What a fascinating adventure you’re taking us on!

  10. Judy Westmoreland on July 17, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I love the copper pots. So many items to haggle over. The baazars as a whole should be called Fezmart. “You need it, we’ve got it.”

  11. Kristina on July 17, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I was taken through the no-tourist area of the souk of Cairo by a Beduin perfumer; this was still simply a large market place for anything you might need rather than a bunch of souvenir stands. I turned out to need a bottle of myrrh, which doesn’t smell sweet at all but woodsy and green.

  12. Carol J Dewing on July 17, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Enjoy your books. Waiting to read Garment of Shadows!

  13. Lana Kamennof-Sine on July 17, 2012 at 7:07 am

    The ideal world would see one reading GoS while sipping mint tea in the fez….

  14. Peggy Mitchell on July 17, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I have table like that bought in the 1970s in Toronto.

  15. Nancy Reynolds on July 17, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Oh how I wish I could go shopping there! In my mind’s eye, I can hear and see and smell all the activity in and around the area. What fun I’m having with your daily emails. I love this.

  16. Kendall McCurdy on July 17, 2012 at 7:14 am

    I live in a town that I have to travel at least on hour away to do any big shopping such as shoes, clothes, furniture. It would be wonderful to have it around the neighborhood. Then you’d know the quality of the goods before you bought them, could have repairs made by the maker, and order exactly what you wanted.

  17. Trina on July 17, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Have really been enjoying seeing the pictures of places that inspired the writing!
    Looking forward to the new book!!!

  18. Lanie T. H. on July 17, 2012 at 7:19 am

    I have to remind myself, periodically, to step out of the 21st century world of intellectually exhausting, ulcer-inducing, computer worshiping “work,” and just to make something. There is a satisfaction in completing a physical creation that is difficult to find in the realm of floating deadlines and nebulous, temporary accomplishments of the university where I work. I am no artisan, and could never support myself in this way, but what fun to pretend! –and how rewarding to help the remaining artisans, by supporting their work with my purchase, and strike a tiny blow against the impersonal industrialized world. Still, I need an industrially-manufactured airplane to get me to Fez, so I will leave one foot in modernity–and keep my day job.

  19. Elizabeth Copley on July 17, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I do hope to visit someday

  20. Sarah B. on July 17, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Your daily posts have me counting down the days till the book comes out! I’ve also developed a sudden need to visit a place called Fez. ;P

  21. Sandy K on July 17, 2012 at 8:12 am

    All of this information is fascinating. Thanks so much!

  22. Kristy Kichinko on July 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I love the fact that I’m learning so many new things about the setting for this book before it comes out. Makes me even more excited for it.

  23. Erica Ruth on July 17, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I would love to spend a few days shopping and exploring here! Amazing.

  24. kt on July 17, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I would love to live in a place where everything was made locally. We’re (my family) is doing a pretty good job at that with food, but most non-food items are still made in china.

  25. Tiffany on July 17, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Wow–this is so cool! I love all these pictures, coupled with the book excerpts. It’s great.

  26. La Donna on July 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Love marketplaces in any country!!

  27. MaryjoO on July 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

    it would be worth the plane ride just to pick up some of those copper items — wow!

  28. Mandolin on July 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

    How very interesting! I love to shop and this place sounds like heaven.

  29. Jennie on July 17, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Thank you for posting such beautiful photos!

  30. peggy ann on July 17, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Fascinating to have people who can still cane a chair or create an elaborate table or window lattice so nearby. Here we have to search hard to find someone to even manage a repair to one. We have lost so much.

  31. Madonna Smith on July 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I like the Mary Russell isn’t a “snob” and is willing to buy locally made products. That way, we, the readers, also get to learn about a region and those who make the products she buys.

  32. Ann Boyd on July 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I love the lacy tables in the second picture! Beautiful.

  33. Laura Lee on July 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

    You and Mary are making me want to visit Fez! Thanks for sharing your photos and thoughts.

  34. Tarah Walsh on July 17, 2012 at 10:35 am

    beautiful craftsmanship!

  35. Jessica B. on July 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I can only imagine that those everyday transactions, and the care people put into their crafts, must knit Fez’s community even closer together. It would be hard not to care about the plight of the people who keeps you in shirts and good olives. Yet another way Moroccans live the concept of umma.

  36. Caryn on July 17, 2012 at 11:02 am

    The soundscape must be fascinating.

  37. Carrie on July 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I really love the photos and cannot wait for the book to come out – definitely on my “to read” list. Thanks!

  38. Katie on July 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

    That sounds amazing though it is probably good that Russell managed to get her gangly limbs under control otherwise a store full of pots might be hazardous!

  39. Merrily Taylor on July 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I can imagine these shops and wish I could be there to poke through them! And, I should say that I loved the “mutterings” about the donkeys – such diligent, hard-working little guys (and cute too).

  40. Ashley W on July 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I love to cook, and I would be in heaving walking through these stores looking at cook pots!

  41. Melissa Adkins on July 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    It’s incredible how many artisans there are in various parts of the world; in America, making funational and beautiful items seems to be a thing of the past.

  42. Molly D. on July 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Such beautiful things!

  43. Marie K on July 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    All these alluring pictures just made me add Morocco and Fez on my (long) list of places to go!

  44. Tom Varela on July 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Shoukran bazzef.

  45. Allison T on July 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I love those copper pots, and watching people make them. All these posts keep reminding me of what I love about Egypt. And that I really do need to go to Morocco.

  46. Kathy F on July 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Beautiful photos. I look forward to reading Garment of Shadows.

  47. Jane Steen on July 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Despite my love of online shopping, I wish we could still have the experience of walking past racks of handmade goods. Of course, few of us are willing to pay a price that would give an American worker a living wage to own them!

  48. Jill Altman on July 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I once visited several markets in the Dominican Republic and it was my favorite part of the trip. I wish I could go with Russell on these adventures.

  49. Chloe B on July 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I love local artisans like that.

  50. Rachel Ratliff on July 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I love the description of Fez being “alive with the sounds of creation”. I love making things – turning an idea into a tangible project. My house is always alive with the sound of the sewing machine or tearing paper or trimming scissors. I never thought of those sounds as the sounds of creation. I have been to a few rare cities in markets that could have been described that way, but now I can think of all the noises to my crafting as “sounds of creation”.

    Thank you Ms. King!!

  51. Rachel Adrianna on July 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    such intricate, beautiful work on the wooden piece!

  52. Janet on July 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    It’s great to see pictures of the city Russell is describing. Draws me even more into the story. Don’t think I’ve ever been this anxious for a book to come out!

  53. susan Steinhaus on July 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I have loved the photographs as I have no familiarity with the area. I eagerly read some reviews. I thought that meant I could order it already. Who is doing all of those reviews? I’m jealous. Meanwhile I downloaded the novella on my iPhone and had some great reading material for part of our trip.

  54. Katherine on July 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I’m going to have to look at all of these pictures again while I read it. Can’t wait!

  55. Katie O on July 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I love this daily look inside an upcoming russell. This was a great idea!

  56. Tasha on July 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Pick me, pick me!

  57. Kelley on July 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Donkeys are so cute and friendly 🙂 This provides awesome fodder for my imagination!

  58. Marianne Murphy on July 17, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Can’t wait for Garment of Shadows! Listening again to The Game…Mary is attempting to avoid Sunny’s mother, to no avail…

  59. ThemadLibrarian on July 17, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    And yet this is all just preamble, although beautiful and evocative; there is more story to follow!

  60. Meredith Taylor on July 17, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Sidney Paget gave Holmes one of those tables in one of his illustrations. I have always coveted one but wasn’t quite sure where they were made. In company with a lot of other readers, now I pine to go to Fez!//Meredith

  61. Marta on July 18, 2012 at 1:01 am

    I love how Russell always pays attention to her surroundings. Every book is like travelling abroad to secret nooks and crannies around the world.

  62. Robbin Stull on July 18, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I can almost hear the hammer tapping the metals…

  63. Beth Kanell on July 18, 2012 at 5:25 am

    I can hardly wait for GARMENT OF SHADOWS — Russell’s perceptions are so acute!

  64. Roxanne on July 18, 2012 at 6:02 am

    What a lovely phrase. I would love to live in a community where such sounds accompanied daily life. As I grow older, I find I am leaning more and more toward those items that are made by hand rather than ‘plastic’ mass-produced items imported from Far Away (e.g., China and Taiwan).

  65. Roxanne on July 18, 2012 at 6:12 am

    The librarian in me had to look up the word “umma” mentioned in Jessica B.’s comment: Ummah (Arabic: أمة‎) is an Arabic word meaning “nation” or “community.” And “ummah wahida” (Arabic: أمة واحدة) means one nation.

    During the summer our town holds a farmer’s market. I really enjoy purchasing items made/grown/produced by local community members. It adds so much more meaning and depth to the product being used. Everytime I use my favorite handmade lavendar oatmeal soap, I think of the woman who made it.

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