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article imageEgypt potter creates vases from clay and passion

By AFP     Jun 24, 2018 in World

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.

One of Mostafa el-Agoury's employees spray-paints a vase at his pottery workshop on June 21  20...
One of Mostafa el-Agoury's employees spray-paints a vase at his pottery workshop on June 21, 2018
Mohamed el-Shahed, AFP

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.

One of Mostafa el-Agoury's employees examines a vase at his pottery workshop on June 21  2018
One of Mostafa el-Agoury's employees examines a vase at his pottery workshop on June 21, 2018
Mohamed el-Shahed, AFP

"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.

Vases are displayed at Mostafa el-Agoury's pottery workshop on June 21  2018
Vases are displayed at Mostafa el-Agoury's pottery workshop on June 21, 2018
Mohamed el-Shahed, AFP

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 colours.

One of Mostafa el-Agoury's employees works on a piece of pottery at Agoury's workshop in M...
One of Mostafa el-Agoury's employees works on a piece of pottery at Agoury's workshop in Menufiya province on June 21, 2018
Mohamed el-Shahed, AFP

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

One of Mostafa el-Agoury's employees pours clay into a mould at Agoury's workshop in Egypt...
One of Mostafa el-Agoury's employees pours clay into a mould at Agoury's workshop in Egypt's Menufiya province on June 21, 2018
Mohamed el-Shahed, AFP

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

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

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

A vase from Mostafa el-Agoury's pottery workshop in the village of Shamma in Egypt's Nile ...
A vase from Mostafa el-Agoury's pottery workshop in the village of Shamma in Egypt's Nile Delta Menufiya province is displayed on June 21, 2018
Mohamed el-Shahed, AFP

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

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