On Tuesday, Fayoum Tourism Authority announced the death of Evelyne Porret who passed away at 85 years old. She’s best known for founding the Ceramic and Pottery School in the village of Tunis in the oasis of Fayoum.
Tunis village is famous for its pottery workshops and art galleries, and this is all thanks to the Swiss entrepreneur, Evelyn Porret, who studied decorative arts with a specialization in ceramics in Geneva and moved to Egypt with her husband Michel Pastore in 1960.
When they first came to Egypt, they built a house and a pottery studio. She was the only potter in the village and since then, she had passed on the craft to many of the local residents, especially children. Her contributions to the culture of pottery in Tunis village include an annual pottery festival, Tunis Pottery and Handcrafts Festival, which attracted visitors from all over the world.
She was inspired to set up the pottery school by the Egyptian artist Ramses Wissa Wassef, whom she also worked with in the 1960s, when he founded a weaving school for village children to learn a new craft.
She always made sure that the method of teaching is not telling the students what to do, “We just encourage them to draw what they see every day. And when I see something good, I suggest things they might add.” Porret said. Several of her students managed to open their own private workshops which helped them with the income. A former student of hers was once invited to display their works at an international exhibition in Dubai. She continued teaching her students and managing the school until her final moments in our world.
Evelyne first came to Egypt when she was 20 years old with her father who was a Protestant minister, and that’s when she loved the place and decided to spend the rest of her life here.
Studying mass communication by day, having tea with Murakami by night. Nour goes back and forth between Cairo and Dubai which makes her curious about the diverse cultures in the world!