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Q&A with Fakher Baklouti

Third-generation artisan Fakher Baklouti inherited his craft from his father, who learned it from his father. The family business? Wood working, transforming Tunisian olive trees into rich amber bowls and platters that almost seem to glow.

How are your products made?
I take olive wood from dead trees. My team of artisans and I refine the wood pieces, and shape them with a machine and their hands. The final product is handmade and reflects the passion of the craftsmen who made it.

At the workshop in Sfax. (Image: Faker Baklouti)

What makes your products unique?
This is not simply a work that I am practicing with my hands – it is a passion, a love story! Transforming a piece of dead olive wood into a beautiful item is fascinating. I am trying to transfer this passion to my kids, as my father did with me. It is our family heritage.

At the workshop in Sfax. (Image: Faker Baklouti)

What inspired you to start your business?
I inherited my work from my father who himself inherited it from his grandfather. On holidays, I would go with him to work to earn extra money. This is where the passion started – I fell in love with the smell of that wood and wanted to produce beautiful pieces just like my father did. He gave life to olive wood through making authentic objects, which is why I decided to ensure continuity of my father’s workshop and transform this passion into a full time job.

What shapes do you make with the olive wood?
I draw my inspiration from kitchen object. Olive wood charms people with its amber color and nicely veined graining. It is not only beautiful, but also convenient. The wood’s natural oil content kills bacteria and is thus more hygienic than other wood or plastic products.

Caption: At the workshop in Sfax. (Image: Faker Baklouti)

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