Egypt potter creates vases from clay and passion | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Employees at Mostafa el-Agoury's pottery factory work on vases at Agoury's workshop in Egypt's Menufiya province on June 21, 2018. Image: AFP/Mohamed el-Shahed
Employees at Mostafa el-Agoury’s pottery factory work on vases at Agoury’s workshop in Egypt’s Menufiya province on June 21, 2018. Image: AFP/Mohamed el-Shahed

As a law student in Egypt’s Menufiya province, Mustafa al-Agoury was simply looking for a job to get him through his last year of classes.

But when a friend gave him a pottery kiln, the young man “fell in love” with the craft, which he quickly turned into a profession.

“A friend gave me an oven as a gift, and I worked on it at home… in one year, I fell in love with the trade,” said Agoury, now 40, speaking from his workshop in the village of Shamma, in the Nile Delta province north of Cairo.

He and his 15 employees extract clay from different types of soil found across Egypt, particularly along the Red Sea coast and near the southern Nile River city of Aswan.

They work on large wooden benches, cluttered with pots of paint, rudimentary tools and classically shaped vases decked out in wild colors.

Row upon row of gray, unfinished pieces line the workshop’s edges, waiting to be given a glossy finish.

Some are spray-painted with bright hues of blue, green, yellow or red — sometimes a swirl of all four. Others are hand-painted.

It takes between seven and 10 days to finish one piece, depending on its size.

Agoury estimated his workshop produces about 1,000 pieces a month, many of which take pride of place in the salons of Cairo. CC


Handmade pottery business survives in the local market

6 tips for pottery beginners

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.