Few arts have been associated with being lady-like as embroidery, crocheting, and cross-stitch. It was considered a sign of refinement. And while there is no decisive evidence of crocheting before its popularity in Europe during the 19th century [source: Wikipedia], embroidery and cross-stitch have been around for a very long time. Embroidery has been dated as early as the 5th century BCE, and Cross-stitch is considered the oldest form of embroidery and can be found all over the world.

In Egypt, as in the rest of the world, these crafts have been traditionally passed down through generations, unfortunately, at some point this tradition almost all but died out, the faster the pace of life become, the less patience younger generations had for learning such delicate arts. Which brings us to the bright point of this post: Coralique, a grandmother/granddaughter team that is reviving this lost art in Egypt.

The artist behind Coralique's rich assortments, Dr. Amira

The artist behind Coralique’s rich assortments, Dr. Amira Badr, grandmother of Coralique’s founder.

Meet the beautiful, giving person behind all the handmade artwork of Coralique; Dr. Amira Badr.

 As an artist, she has always been fascinated by nature’s beauty embodied in the botanical world, for her, every room, wall and surface should enjoy the charm of colourful flowers and green leaves, something that is lacking in many Egyptian homes. Dr. Amira learned the secrets of the trade from her mother, who taught her the basics of many kinds of needle-work and handicrafts. For more than 50 years she enjoyed hours upon hours of  cross-stitching, embroidery, knitting, and crochet, continuously improving and finessing her technique, and accumulating a vast library of designs along the way. Encouraged by her granddaughter, she decided to present her diverse handcrafted products and start Coralique.

Nadia Gamal El Din, Founder of Coralique, with Coralique's display at Artesania Bazaar.

Nadia Gamal El Din, Founder of Coralique, with Coralique’s display at Artesania Bazaar.

The Egyptian market seems to have forgotten the beauty of handmade artwork and so the duo set out to bring it back into their homes, they don’t view Coralique’s products as home accessories, but rather main components of a cozy home that provide long-lasting joy.

Embroidered pillows, and framed works of art.

Embroidered pillows, and framed works of art.

What sets them apart is that all of their products are exclusively handmade by the resident artist, Dr. Amira herself. That, and everything is readily customizable to each customer’s taste; they can choose the design, colours, size, and shape of every single item to suit their needs.

Who said Lamp shades can't be handmade into elegant works of art?

Who said Lamp shades can’t be handmade into elegant works of art?

One of the mandates of Al Rahalah has been to promote and support the artisans of the Egyptian and the Arab world, and it was a pleasure reviewing this particular start-up for the simple fact that regardless of how old an artisan is, they never stop giving. And that in itself is a treasure.

If you would like to know more about Coralique, or to order any of their products you can visit their Facebook page here… Happy hunting.

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