Jadine The Art of Ceramic Accessories

August 28, 2011 Writer Name: Ola El Soueni
Ceramic accessories are not so abundant in the Egyptian market, in spite of the fact that they are affordable and durable if well kept.  Jadine is a unique line of ceramic accessories that are beautifully crafted and possess stylish designs.  The range of accessories is creatively and artistically designed by architect Nadine Samir Fikry, who owns a workshop in Souk El Fostat in the heart of Coptic Cairo.

The area is a landmark historic site that is magnificent to admire and get a real feel of authentic Cairo. One of the remarkable things about Jadine accessories is its excellent quality and fine finishing.  Furthermore, it launches seasonal lines of artsy decorative accessories that feature themes of different occasions and celebrations such as its lovely Christmas ornaments and accessories, innovative post-Egyptian revolution products and an original Ramadan assortment of serving platters. “I share my workshop with my mother.  We are both fond of art; therefore we try as much as we can to include interesting and special collections of different kinds of accessories,” says Fikry.  “Ceramic, stained glass, mosaic, glass jewelry and 3D art, known as Decoupage range of accessories, is available in our workshop to satisfy different tastes,” adds Fikry, who is a Cairo University architecture graduate and completed her Masters Degree in the relation between architecture and energy in 2004.  Jadine is named after Fikry’s first name, Nadine and her mother’s name, Jeanne.

“Ceramics have always been a product that I wanted to work with, and produce a diversified array of different attractive pieces.  I was very much encouraged by my husband to pursue my ceramic business, to which he contributes a lot.  He handles all the ceramics production, since he is a mechanical engineer and owns a factory, in which he produces ceramics spare parts for machines,” mentions Fikry.

Fikry decided to open up her own business after she got pregnant, realizing that it would be extremely hard to continue her career as a field architect.  That was the time when a bell rang in her mind to manage her own business and at her own convenience.  “My husband persuaded me to start up the ceramic project and greatly supported me by opening up a new department in his factory for decorative ceramic products,” highlights Fikry.  In order to gain more insight on ceramics and get her hands on real life experience, Fikry’s mother, herself and her husband, took a course in pottery making.  “We did our homework by doing a research on the latest equipment used in producing ceramics and we successfully bought some material.  Later, we launched our first collection in November 2007, which included Christmas ornaments, since the timing of our opening coincided with the celebration,” explains Fikry.  

Their products were admired by many people and they managed to attract a lot of clients.  They took it from there and expanded their scope of work and produced more items for different seasons.  “Our main aim was to offer our customers products that are decorative and functional at the same time.  We also take customized orders to cater to our clients’ different needs,” says Fikry. Tailored orders can take up to a week to be manufactured without a minimum quantity to order.  

The process of producing a ceramic item comprises of several steps.  “First, you prepare the thickness of the clay that you desire,  then you build the shape you want with your hand or you can use a mold if you want a specific one.  After the   shaping, you leave the product until it dries a bit.  This is followed by clearing and softening the product’s surface and then leaving it for 1 to 2 days to be completely dry, which primarily depends on the weather.  Finally, you put it in the kiln for firing.  The first phase of production is called the Bisc phase; it is basically the product without glaze.  We mainly use it in crafting with children, which they find a lot of fun,” explains Fikry.  “My concept is to let children paint the bisc product with simple colors without exposing them to the heat again, so that they wouldn’t crack.   Children are usually delighted to take their crafted projects home.  I also prepare a bulk of products for interested mothers to use at their kids birthday parties to entertain the children, which is usually a good idea,” adds Fikry.  

Jadine’s ceramic products can be sold plain without a design, which takes place after they go through the Bisc phase, or they can be sold with elaborated details such as colorful prints, then they go into the fire for a third time.  “The main problem we face is the surprises that can possibly await us after the product goes into the fire, because they can crack as a result of being over or under heated,” mentions Fikry.  

Chinese products are Fikry’s worst nightmare.  “They are so abundant in the market; but of course without the same top quality that we use, but they are cheaper in price,” highlights Fikry.  

She and her mother are the ones who come up with the designs.  “ We invest in brainstorming,” says Fikry, who aspires that Jadine would compete globally and become a renowned international brand such as Lladro.

Shop no. 34 in front of the Tourism office in "Souk El Fostat" plaza, beside Amr Ibn El Ass Mosque, Old/Coptic Cairo
Tel: 0127837430 - 0101180677
Hours: Open Daily from 11 am- 4 pm