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These Local Businesses Give Traditional Handicrafts a Contemporary Twist

January 24, 2020

Craft making has always been a strong part of Egyptian heritage – from the refined pottery work of the Fayoum province to the intricately woven kilim carpets found all over the country, Egypt’s handicrafts are as culturally rich as they are aesthetically pleasing.

Although there are plenty of local markets scattered all over Egypt in which one can find a wide and diverse array of locally crafted products, it is interesting to note how modern-day Egyptians have taken craft-making to new territories. 

The young contemporary Egyptian population is thriving with entrepreneurial spirit, and this drive to  turn passion into business has caused a number of small local business to keep popping up. Mix this with an innate need to explore the wonders of local craft-making, as well as a feeling of staying connected to one’s roots, and a new contemporary handicrafts culture surfaces. 

Below are a few examples of small local businesses whose products revolve around craft-making and staying true to this wonderful aspect of Egyptian culture. 

Miscellaneous handmade products

Image credit: Pheel Facebook page

With a diverse array of products available – from notebooks to plant pots and even clothing items – Pheel is a wonderful local business that adds a refreshingly contemporary twist to the art of handicrafts.

“Pheel is an experimental design studio that offers diverse, conceptual product collections that are built on beautiful things we see and experience,” states the business’ description on its Facebook page.

The business was started by three Cairo based designers who share an appreciation for handmade products. The eclectic tastes of the three founders shine through the various products they offer, each of which are uniquely designed and made. Their work is colorful, youthful, and usually includes a ton of fun patterns that immediately catch your eye. 

Grain Studio
Handmade notebooks, sketchbooks and planners

Image credit: Grain Facebook page

These beautiful handmade notebooks, sketchbooks and planners are definitely worth noting as each one is carefully binded into a sleek and minimal piece with a unique earthy aesthetic.

According to their Facebook page, “As a means of preserving the beauty of handcrafts, we, at Grain, explore different handcrafts and, combined with our knowledge in design, create stationary products for you that can be beautiful, have their own unique touch every time and are useful and efficient.”

The small studio offers notebook and sketchbook fiends coveted new additions to their probably already vast collection awaiting them back home. Grain’s minimal design mixed with their intricate craftsmanship, provides consumers with a product worth investing in. 

Noon Designs
Handmade ceramic tableware

Image credit: Noon Designs Facebook page

Inspired by her love of pottery, local product designer Nourane Hassan created Noon Designs in 2015. It is a small tableware design studio in which they hand-make pottery and ceramics based tableware, occasionally also offering custom-made pieces.

According to the official Facebook page, “In our little studio we strive to bring a little piece of thoughtful uniqueness to a world dominated by mass produced soulless copies. Our goal is to design, produce and sell eco-friendly, affordable and most of all beautifully handcrafted hospitality products.”

Noon’s products are beautifully constructed colorful pieces that will surely add vibrancy to your home. This collection of tableware is a true testament to the artistry of pottery-making and the joy it brings to both the maker and the person who will ultimately use it. 

Handmade/woven carpets and pillowcases

Image credit: Kiliim Facebook page

Shining light on the beautiful craftsmanship that goes into weaving kilims (traditional carpets), this local contemporary business brings this Egyptian tradition back to life with a modern twist. According to their Facebook page, Kiliim is an “Egyptian social enterprise/lifestyle brand that aims to revive & sustain the art of kilim making by introducing modern designs to a time-honored technique.” 

The kilims offered by this brand are wonderfully crafted and include a wide and diverse selection of colors and patterns. Kiliim effortlessly integrates minimal design with a touch of local traditional patterns, marrying past and present in an exciting new way. Their vast collection of carpets and pillowcases pay tribute to a craft worth keeping alive for many generations to come.

Menn Baladha
Handmade pots and tableware

Image credit: Menn Baladha Facebook page

Yet another wonderful local business started by a group of designers, Menn Baladha is a design studio that specializes in handcrafted products that currently mainly revolve around kitchenware. According to their official Facebook page, “[Menn Baladha] is intrigued by the notion of home and what it holds as a space. Named after an Egyptian idiom, Menn Baladha means from where it originated. This is a story of local ingenuity, authenticity, community and conversation.”

Their wonderful clay pots are a testament once again to the artisan craft of pottery making, and their contemporary touch when it comes to the pot’s cover design is nothing short of magnetic. 

*Featured image courtesy of Noon Designs Facebook page

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