Essaouira is famous for its woodworking, and particularly for products made from thuya wood, a dark-orange or reddish-brown wood with plenty of dark knots. Note that this is an endangered species – buying anything made from thuya threatens the last remaining stands of trees by increasing demand and therefore encouraging illegal logging.
Essaouira's Art Scene
The light and beauty have forever attracted artists to Essaouira, and the town has a flourishing art scene, with many artists living and working here, and a number of galleries selling their work. Many of these artists work in a naive style that employs broad brush strokes and rich colours, often incorporating Gnaoua imagery. You'll see their work for sale in galleries and souvenir shops and even on pavements throughout the medina.
More interesting are the local artists who specialise in calligraphy. These include Mohammed Zouzaf, who draws intricate black Berber signs and symbols on lambskin. Also of note is Mohammed Tifardine, an internationally acknowledged calligrapher who creates elegant coloured works featuring Arabic script. Both artists sell through the local gallery Espace Othello.