Business Insider traveled to Cairo to meet with Saied Hussain, an Egyptian craftsman who has been making colored cement tiles for the past 50 years according to the traditional method taught to him by his father. Hussain painstakingly mixes pigment into cement and then pours the colors into pattern stencils with a steady hand. This craft takes time and patience. Hussain is currently the last one doing this intense but beautiful work, as the advent of ceramic and marble tiles have edged out others like him. Rather than letting the craft die with him, Hussain offers free apprenticeships to those of the next generation so that they will carry on in the future.
The craft has been around since the 1800s when cement became a cheap and efficient way to build. But for Saied Hussain, it’s an art form. Even though other types of tiles have threatened his business, he’s stayed true to his trade. …Saied has been offering free apprenticeships to young craftsmen for the past 40 years to keep the traditional process going. And he says not just anybody can master it. But the most important thing for Saied is that this art lives on.