Egyptian glassblowers turn broken fragments into art
August 24, 1996
Web posted at: 11:15 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent James Martone
CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- A new day at the EL Daour glass
factory dawns early and brings another day of recycling.
The Daour family makes a living from the glass fragments they
"At least it keeps the streets clean," jokes Adel Daour. "We
take what you throw away and create art from it."
First, the glass chips are melted in a mud-brick furnace.
Then, cousin Yihya Daour sits down to work, scooping the
liquid onto the end of a long, hollow steel rod and rolling
it out into an initial form. The glass is then swung back and
forth to stretch it out.
It is a strenuous, excruciatingly hot process. But Yihya
said he is used to it, like his forefathers who started the
glass blowing business 100 years ago.
"It is hot, and always has been, but I love my work and deal
with the heat," he said.
Once the glass has been stretched, it is ready for blowing.
The cousins said they have no specialties. Yihya prefers
larger creations, but is equally skilled at finer objects
such as decorated vases.
"Plastic can fill the market, but it doesn't hurt us because
we are the only place you can find hand-made objects," he
The freshly created bottles and vases are put into special
draft-proof ovens, where they cool overnight. Then they're
washed, packed and sent off to Cairo's bustling tourist
Adel says most popular among the tourists these days are what
he and Yihya find easiest to make -- glass balls for
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