I am a Tentmaker

9 12 2006

When friends come I offer them tea with mint- the traditional drink of hospitality which one of my sons runs and gets for me, I ask the visitors to sit on my bench where I sit to work and we talk, and we look at the work and maybe I sell a piece. It can take days even weeks to make one piece , each piece is cut by hand and then sewn by hand, the more intricate the design the more the sewing. See more of my work at Travels Between Caravanserai



30 11 2006

I am Shoukri. I am Nubian and my people come from a long time ago, from a time when the great river was young and when the kings were just beginning to think. I am a captain- I sail the Nile on a felucca and my brother Jimmy also sails a felucca. Feluccas are the traditional boats of the Nile- with large sails and flat decks to transport people and things.Feluccas have been like this since the beginning. We carry people on my felucca – westerners who come, lily white, on board to sail from Aswan to Luxor and experience the great Nile and its temples. We sail the boat downriver . We also cook for the westerners, our traditional food with lashings of chillie and garlic. We even find them beer and brandy, though the brandy is more like lighter fluid than brandy.

Read more on my blog.

Travels Between Caravanserai

28 11 2006

The light filtered through the skylight of my shed/studio, the glow was warm and I was feeling dreamy, drifting amongst half forgotten things. On the table lay a pomegranate and I picked it up- full of wonder for this fruit that speaks of ancient times, of rituals of the earth ,of Demeter and Persephone and of mysteries that call to me.

As I hold the fruit in my hand, feel its bumps and undulations, I am transported back to the North Wall of Cairo- a small withered woman sitting with a basket filled with glorious pomegrantes- my nose filled with the acrid dust of centuries, a cat despondently watching me as i walk towards the fruit. Across the road the Mezuerrin is calling the prayer hour in the mosque- gone the voices of individual mezeurin of days gone by, instead a mechanical tape blaring from a speaker from the top of the minaret . For a moment- a brief moment in a city bustling with nineteen million souls time stops- for prayer, for contemplation .celestes-trip-068.jpg

I follow the footsteps of many travellers to Cairo- Champollion who deciphered hieroglyphics and opened the worlds eyes to the treasures and riches of a culture unique and brilliant, by recognising that the coptic language , a living language was the key to understanding the hieroglyphs.