Adorning many of our sofas at Jam Space, these decorative throw pillows are handmade by artisanal craftspeople in remote rural areas of Egypt such as Aswan, Nubia and Siwa. Using appliqué, patchwork and delicate beadwork, these artisans create pillows inspired by the rural scenes of their surroundings; with designs ranging from the colourful patchwork reminiscent of women’s galabeyas, to soft shades of the desert flora.
“The main reason we started is because we highly appreciate these skills and want to maintain our heritage. Another reason is that there are unused treasures and traditional skills that are dying out. In Egypt we have plenty of craft skills but no products and that’s something high in demand,” -founders Mohamed Amin and Naila El Shishiny speaking to Cairoscene.com.
“it’s also the only source of income for many of these men and women,” who produce them. “Usually it’s the only job women in these areas are allowed to practice. By generating income and practicing the skill, we preserve the skill.”
The artisans are given the raw materials by Markaz, who then buy the finished product back from them, thus providing a sustainable enterprise for artisans who wouldn’t otherwise have access to large markets. This process also ensures the beautiful and high quality of the products and as some pieces are combined and assembled from different parts of Egypt,the result is unique.