The inside of the dome of the Khayerbek Mausoleum where Hodhod's glass was used during restoration.
He attributes the slow death of glass-blowing to the fact that it is hot and dangerous.
"Despite my efforts to teach people, they cannot do it; they can’t withstand the heat.”
Glassblowing requires the generation of tremendous heat.
Hodhod is looking for a particular apprentice. He says he would be open to finding someone from outside the family but it is about finding a person who has the dedication and passion to do it.
Glass-blowing has been described as the craft of the spirits.
“To keep the craft alive, people have to learn it. We need the space to be able to teach people. I am ready to teach, but I need the space and raw materials.”
“Boxing was my father’s attempt to get me away from the craft. But when my father was unwell, I was worried about the craft disappearing, so I came back to glassblowing. My father told me that ‘this is the craft of the spirits’. He meant that in this work there is a history of stories about spirits and ghosts and curses."
A member of Hodhod's family at work in the furnace that is the glassblowing workshop.
‘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.
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 available here.
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