The story of moushmoush
A humble farmer roamed his piece of land in Syria harvesting fruits for a living.
His favorite fruit to harvest was the “moushmoush” – the Arabic word for apricot – because its anatomy prevented any part of it from going to waste. It could be enjoyed as is, processed into a jam, or squeezed into the tangy Syrian beverage called “amr-ideen”. Additionally, the seed would be broken to extract pulp in order to produce oil. Lastly, during the cold Syrian winters, the apricot seed shells would be used to ignite the firewood to add warmth.
Owing to his notoriety around town for moushmoush picking, his last name Al-Aseel, The Authentic, would slowly be replaced by his nickname Moushmoush. Therefore, it was destined for his great great granddaughter to take a similar holistic approach to sustainable and environmental design. Today, “Moushmoush” is a journal featuring green spaces, sustainable businesses, and design as a health profession.
Hi there! My name is Maram Moushmoush, a Muslim Appalachian-born Syrian-American designer, nature enthusiast, and activist.
Whether it was in my kindergarten art class where the colors were seen as a group of friends or my master’s thesis, a design of an orphanage that provided all the necessities at the lowest environmental cost, my work has always centered around a holistic theme. A theme in which every aspect flourishes while elevating another.
During my undergraduate years, studying interior design, I was taught to design while keeping the environment in mind. To gain more insight into the world of sustainable thinking and practices, I picked up the book Cradle to Cradle. Providing me a better understanding on how to truly select green materials.
My faith has taught me to reflect on the signs of nature and the bountiful creations of our Creator, as well as our duty on this planet to preserve those bounties. The moving Ibrahim Abdul-Matin elucidates and expands on these points in the Green Deen.
In 2015, I relocated to Philadelphia to pursue my Masters in Sustainable Design at Philadelphia University. There, I was taught about the philosophy of design garnering a purpose, solving problems on the local and global scale, and being compassionate towards people and the earth. During that time, I also interned at MilkCrate, where I blogged about businesses incorporating environmentally-friendly practices into their protocols. Blog posts that encouraged and amplified a growing movement that many Philadelphians were keen to adopt.
Several occurrences have driven me to start exploring design as a healing paradigm, from witnessing mentally war-traumatized children, to roaming the textile wasteland of Turkey’s fashion district, to strip mining in West Virginia, to Philadelphia's affordable housing situtation. With design heavily impacting people’s day-to-day lives, it is crucial for designers to design the built environment with health and wellness at the forefront. It is through design I gained a sense of mindfulness that was lacking before.
Moushmoush is an outlet and an intersection of disciplines - nature, health and wellness, sustainability, art - to explore design as a healing mechanism.
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