Dalia Mobasher was a highway-design engineer with a silent passion for pottery-making and a knack for ceramic art until she decided to turn her life around and founded her very own Fokhara Studio in Cairo.
On pottery-making, she said “I found passion in transforming a piece of clay into an artistic and functional pot. After the first 2 hours of having the clay in my hands, my life changed forever.” We talked to her to know all about it.
What inspired you to found Fokhara Studio?
I’ve always wanted to open an art studio, my introduction to the pottery world pushed me to finally start my project.
My main aim at the studio is to deliver artistic knowledge in a simple and effective way. That way, people would have better knowledge of the arts and can find it easy to turn it into a hobby or even a source of living.
What services do you offer?
Right now we offer pottery courses and workshops on the two main methods Hand-building & Wheel-throwing in addition to sculpture courses. Hand-building requires only the clay material and sometimes simple wooden tools to carve shapes or blend two pieces of clay together. Wheel-throwing is a more advanced method. It entails using the manual pottery wheel (aka kick wheel) to whip the clay into shape!
We’re working on adding different arts and crafts to the courses soon.
Who gives the classes? Where is Fokhara Studio located?
For pottery, the two main instructors are me & Doha Abo El Ezz and the studio assistant Hana Taher.
Our studio is located in 1st settlement, New Cairo.
From your perspective, how is pottery-making significant to Egyptian Culture? Would you say Pottery-Making is popular in Egypt?
Pottery has been part of our culture & history in many forms from dinnerware to decorations.
Over the years it lost its presence. However, lately, it has slowly been regaining its presence. A lot of ceramic artists are gaining prominence and this is helping spread knowledge about pottery and its significance to Egyptian culture.
How has Fokhara Studio been received? Which groups are the services you offer most popular with?
Actually, it’s been better than I expected! I didn’t expect that many people would be interested in pottery especially because it is perceived as “just a hand-craft”. Our studio is most popular among the 20 to 50 age group. This is actually quite impressive, the studios abroad were most popular among people in the 35 to 60 age group.
We need parents to introduce handcrafts to their children because kids have an exceptional potential to be creative not only with clay, but with handcrafts in general.
What are the challenges-personal and professional-that you’ve faced so far?
Firstly, resources can sometimes be an issue. Not everything is easily available in Egypt and isn’t always as high in quality as material from abroad.
Regarding the products and customers, people appreciate handmade work but still..
There isn’t enough awareness about modern pottery and the intricacies of its quality & production process.
What would you say to someone wishing to pursue a career in the arts but is hesitant to take the step?
Pottery is all about practice plus talent. Give yourself time to practice and you’ll find your own style. Only then, will you find the confidence you need to start your project in art.