The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Nevin Altmann Crafts

Nevin Altmann Crafts: Handicrafts From Siwa in Zamalek

reviewed by
Anne de Groot
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Nevin Altmann Crafts: Handicrafts From Siwa in Zamalek

story of Nevin Altmann started in 1988 when she travelled to the Siwa oasis and
discovered the local handmade crafts and embroideries. The idea that this
ancient art and tradition was on the brink of extinction
inspired Altmann to work with the women of Siwa to bring their craft to Cairo
in the form of traditional clothing and home accessories. Over the subsequent years, Altmann’s
love of native art lead her around the country and expanded her repertoire to include
Nubian designs and some from Sinai too. Altmann’s daughter Tamara accompanied
her mother on all of the trips, and  has
opened a shop in the same vein in Zamalek.

Altmann is located on Mansour Mohamed Street across from Matchbox. The
shop is rather small but packed with all kinds of trinkets. The most
interesting part of the shop is the collection of dolls, hand- and finger-puppets.
At 20LE each, the finger-puppets are playful and make for a unique gift. There
are a lot of different characters so any creative kid (or adult for that
matter) can have hours of fun playing with these. A glove with five different
puppets will set you back 130LE.

from the puppets there are also lots of homeware items available, most of which
have the same colourful design; pink and yellow are used liberally. There is
collection of towels made of organic Egyptian cotton embroidered with male and
female figures starting from 180LE. For 450LE you can score yourself a
handmade pouf. Once again, it is embroidered and contains lots of colours.

you are looking for a new and original beach bag then you might like
the ones here. The bags are huge and come in bright colours embroidered with
scenes from the oasis like camels strolling around, children playing and ducks
and birds casually flying by. The bags don’t come cheap though at 650LE a
piece. If you want something cheaper; opt for a handmade keychain for 45LE.
Wallets are available as well; they’re made of real leather and cost around 330LE.

We also spotted
some other cute little bags but found them to be a bit overpriced. A small
black embroidered bag didn’t quite live up to its price tag of 220LE. We
understand that it’s handmade but 220LE is a lot of money for a bag that is
hardly big enough to carry an envelope.

If you
are looking for some original gifts then don’t forget to take a look here. Kids
will absolutely love the finger puppets.

360 Tip

The Nevin Altmann Facebook page is regularly updated with new lines and items.

Best Bit

Charming finger puppets and fabulous bags.

Worst Bit

Some items are a little expensive.

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