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Space to create

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New craft studio provides work room, equipment and training for artists

Local jewellery designer Eman Banna (L) teaches a class on wire working at El7arfa, a new craft studio in Giza. Nahla El-Gizawy and Maram El-Shenawy look on (C).

Local jewellery designer Eman Banna (L) teaches a class on wire working at El7arfa, a new craft studio in Giza. Nahla El-Gizawy and Maram El-Shenawy look on (C).

With a little wire, a pair of pliers, and a pinch and a twist, local jewelry designer Nahla El-Gizawy can make a pair of earrings. But for more complex designs, she needs heavy equipment like an arc welder, a drill press or a grinder.

She and other local artists can access all that – and more – at El7erfa, which opened for business in Giza Wednesday.

The studio’s owner, Leila Abou-Ragav, describes El7erfa as an open space for crafters to work, meet other artists, and learn new skills. Located in a cozy basement apartment at 3 Abd Al Aziz Gawesh, El7erfa has three main rooms. In one room, with a long table and tall stools, owner Leila Abou-Ragav envisions people painting, drawing or beading necklaces. Another room is equipped with heavy equipment for the serious crafter, including a table saw, and a belt sander, as well as various hand tools. In the third room, Abou-Ragav has built couches out of cushions and old wooden pallets, creating a comfortable, appropriately crafty space for guests to hang out, have a drink or arrange collaborations.

Abou-Ragav hopes the studio will become a place where artists can share trade tips both formally and informally, she said.

El-Gizawy, like many crafters, works from home, so she was excited when she heard about El7erfa, she said. She just launched her first jewelry line, called Analogie. So far, her pieces are characterised by intricate beading and bold coloring. But, she said, she is interested in learning metal work – something she hopes El7erfa can help with.

“I want to be constantly developing as a designer so I will join anything that helps me do that,” she said.


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