The Story of the Fayoum Pottery Book

Published by the American University in Cairo Press, the Fayoum Pottery book by Mr. Neil Hewison is a lavishly illustrated book with over 150 full-color photographs of unique designs and rare methods, providing an in-depth look at the pottery produced in the Fayoum. The book reveals the stories of the three villages and the skilled potters who make their living in Fayoum, looking at how they learned their trade and how they work, from the preparation of the clay to the formation of the pots on the wheel or by hand, to the decoration, the glazing, and the firing, and finally to the display or distribution and sale of the finished product.

For past and future travelers to Egypt, lovers of the craft of pottery, practitioners, and collectors, this beautifully illustrated exploration of the ceramics of the Fayoum will inspire and enchant.

The Fayoum, a broad, fertile depression in Egypt’s Western Desert, known for its great salt lake, its rich green fields, and its unique pharaonic and Greco-Roman remains, is also home to three very different centers of pottery production. The potters of Kom Oshim specialize in decorated garden pots and other utilitarian ware, and guard the special secret of how to make the largest clay vessels in Egypt, up to an extraordinary two and a half meters tall.

At al-Nazla, ancient traditions are kept alive, as members of a single extended family continue to use millennia-old techniques passed down from generation to generation, hand-forming among other things their distinctive spherical water jars with amazing dexterity and speed.

In the small village of Tunis, the establishment of a pottery school by a Swiss couple in 1990 led to a complete transformation, and the village now hosts more than twenty-five pottery workshops and showrooms, whose products are sold in Cairo, London, and New York.

The book  is an important reference for students, researchers, and those who are interested in the pottery heritage of Fayoum. We highly recommend buying it. The book is available for purchase in Fayoum (Skylark Shop in Tunis Village – Ibis Restaurant and Cooking school in Tunis village).

R. Neil Hewison has lived in Fayoum since 1970s. He worked for Cairo University (Fayoum Branch) as an English teacher then he joined the staff of the American university in Cairo Press in 1980s. He is the author of The Fayoum: History and Guide (AUC Press, revised edition 2008) and the translator of After the Nobel Prize 1989–1994: The Non-Fiction Writing of Naguib Mahfouz Volume IV (2020), as well as fiction by Yusuf Idris, Yusuf Abu Rayya, and Gamal al-Ghitani. He lives in the pottery village of Tunis in the Fayoum.

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The Fayoum Pottery Experience with Fayoumer

In this highly recommended private guided experience by Mahmoud a.k.a Fayoumer, the founder of / Explore Fayoum you will get in depth information and explore the pottery centers in Fayoum. Starting from Tunis Village and its Pottery School, the experience will include a visit to the outstanding potters community in Nazla Village then the experience will be concluded with a visit to a nearby plant nursery where we will enjoy a walk in Fayoum beautiful countryside and drink a special drink called RoseMon ( a mix of Rose Mary and Lemon grass widely planted in Fayoum). Contact us or send a direct email to [email protected] for more details. Know more about other Private guided Fayoum Experiences with Fayoumer and Reviews here.

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