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Egyptian glassblower fights to keep the craft alive

The Egyptian glassblower shattering taboos

This is Aphrodite Wassim

She handles ovens reaching 2,000°C/3,600°F

to make a single piece of glass

She says she’s Egypt’s only female glassblower

and has struggled in the male-dominated market

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EGYPTIAN GLASSBLOWER, APHRODITE WASSIM, SAYING:

"I was told that women are not allowed inside the factory, “you give us the design and we make it for you. But for you to stand there and watch, will cause a problem for us.” I was told that I wouldn’t be able to handle it and that I would get hurt. They looked at me differently, they thought I was weak. I wondered why they would look at me this way, as the first person to teach me this craft was a woman."

She now creates elaborate art in her own workshop

keeping alive a craft threatened by modern technology

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EGYPTIAN GLASSBLOWER, APHRODITE WASSIM, SAYING:

"I meet a lot of clients who can't believe that I do this work on my own. They think that I send the designs to factories. They are so surprised when I tell them I can do this with my own hands and they wonder how I can stand in front of an oven. I was once in a bazaar and I had to show them pictures of me in the workshop glassblowing and standing in front of the oven and I put on some videos so that they would believe that a woman in Egypt can do this work."