I Wish Mum Could’ve Come!

Fustat, Egypt

Today the CASA students took a field trip to Fustat, a district on the southern edge of greater Cairo, to the Fustat Traditional Crafts Center. First we visited the pottery workshop, where they showed us every step of the process, from mixing the clay to the right consistency, to some amazing artists on the pottery wheel, to the painting and glazing. It took me right back to the 5th grade, the year that we were homeschooled because of a teacher strike, and spent every Friday morning in a local potter’s studio learning all those techniques as well as a 1st, 3rd and 5th grader could.

Then we headed across the street to the rest of the workshops. We started in the mother-of-pearl room, where they were piecing together the iridescent designs on those typical Middle Eastern boxes and backgammon boards.

From Fustat Handicrafts Center

Then we went to the copper workshop, where they were tapping out designs on platters and lampshades using a hammer and chisels or pointers. Next door in the woodshop they were doing carpentry, intricate inlay work, and carving designs in relief:

From Fustat Handicrafts Center

And it turns out that quilting is not only a handicraft native to America, but also native to Egypt. The quilting done at Fustat is all applique, not patchwork, but it’s all hand-stitched and gorgeous! They make wall-hangings, seat covers, pillows, and more.

From Fustat Handicrafts Center

Because the Fustat Handicrafts Center’s Website is only available in English, I’ve borrowed a few of their photos and given them English captions in my own Web Album. Enjoy!

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