The source of the designs are Islamic and Arabic patterns found in old Islamic books.
Mother-of-pearl comes from molluscs imported from Australia. These shells are typically a calcareous exoskeleton which encloses, supports and protects the soft parts of a mollusc, such as a snails or clams.
“The craft is dying”, he says, laughing, “I am not teaching my kids this craft. I became part of it because of my father, and the name, but I am not encouraging my kids to work on this. I believe you should do what you love.”
Khaled's workshop employs around 20 people.
‘The Artisans of al-Darb al-Ahmar: Life and Work in Historic Cairo’ exhibition is taking place at the Royal Geographical Society, Exhibition Road, London, from 22 March to 24 April 2018. Kindly supported by the Aga Khan Foundation.
This exhibition showcases the people and personalities that make up daily life in this unique district, home to over 1,000 artisan workshops and 60 monuments of Islamic architecture. It presents artisans at work, some of whom are part of a tradition going back a thousand years but whose skills may not last another generation. More information here.
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