- First day of workshops at the House of Traditional Arts, Jeddah. Photo credit: Art Jameel
A very happy New Year to all my followers! May 2019 bring you abundant happiness, peace, prosperity, and many, many blessings. Mine looks to be a fun, busy, creative, and adventurous year. I already have several stints working abroad booked into my schedule… including to a country I’ve never visited before, but ALWAYS wanted to explore (more on that at a later date!) Plus plenty of teaching in the UK, and some very exciting commissions!
If you are based in the UK and interested in learning more about Islamic art, there are still spaces on my Tezhip / Illumination Foundations Courses, due to start in February. Click here for more info on the 1-week intensive course, and here for the Saturday course. Classes are typically very small with a maximum of 8 students per course, so you will get lots of one-to-one attention and create some exquisite art. My studio is located in beautiful and historic Windsor, Berkshire. I am just a few minutes walk from Windsor Castle, the River Thames, and the picturesque High Street.
My courses at the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Art are also now online. Click here to discover more about my workshops on illuminated geometry, shamsas, and some fantastic beasts.
2018 ended beautifully. I spent two weeks in Saudi Arabia teaching at the House of Traditional Arts in Jeddah, and even managed to fit in a visit to Medina, and a pilgrimage to Mecca before returning home last month. The workshops were run and organised by the wonderful Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, and Art Jameel. The Islamic arts diploma course, which I taught on in Jeddah is based in the historic old town, known as Al-Balad. Here are some photos from my stay – enjoy!
All photos in this post were taken by Art Jameel unless otherwise stated.
The historic district of Al-Balad, the Old Town in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Photo credit: Ayesha Gamiet
Al Balad is one of the few places where traditional gypsum carving is still found in Jeddah. Photo credit: Ayesha Gamiet
- Presentation on nabati / islimi (biomorphic design in Islamic art). Photo credit: Art Jameel
- Students learning how to design their own floral motifs using images from nature, and principles of rotational and mirror symmetry inspired by Islamic art. Photo credit: Art Jameel
- Sensitive brushwork. A student creates her own design for a stylised floral motif, then paints it using a technique called halkar. Photo credit: Art Jameel
- After several days of learning traditional Islamic art design principles and painting techniques, students start creating their own designs for a set of tessellating tiles. Photo credit: Art Jameel
- Everyone is hard at work designing their tiles! Photo credit: Art Jameel
Octagonal tessellations. Photo credit: Art Jameel
These next photos are from a 3-day short course I delivered for the public. Whereas the the first course focused on design skills, this second course was a brief introduction to the art of tezhip, or Islamic illuminated manuscripts. Students followed a pre-designed template to learn illumination techniques.
- Talk and presentation on day 1. We took a brief look at the history of illuminated manuscripts, style and technique, regional differences, motifs, symbolism, and traditional methods and materials. Photo credit: Art Jameel
Helping a student correct her pencil work. Photo credit: Art Jameel
This is what brush practice looks like. We only did it for an afternoon, but traditionally, an apprentice illuminator might spend several weeks or months refining their brush practice before moving onto the next stage of their education. Photo credit: Art Jameel
These new illuminators are applying synthetic gold to their paintings. Usually, we use genuine handmade shell gold. However, due to this being a 3-day workshop, we didn't have time to make the gold by hand. Photo credit: Art Jameel
All gilded and outlined, time for the blue background. Photo credit: Art Jameel
Correcting a student's work. Photo credit: Art Jameel
All done! Photo credit: Art Jameel
And finally, here are a few photos from Mecca and Medina. I was too busy being a pilgrim to take lots of photos, but I do have a few. I didn’t manage to take any at all in Mecca, so the one below is from a previous trip, just to give you some idea of what the journey was like.
The Holy Kaa'ba at Mecca. Photo credit: Ayesha Gamiet
A very kind and thoughtful gift from one of my students. It's a silver ring with seven beads attached on a string. Each time you circle the Kaa'ba, you move one of the beads up the string, so you don't loose track of how many circuits you've made. I was very moved to received this, and of course, I remembered her in my prayers as I made my pilgrimage. Photo credit: Ayesha Gamiet
Masjid Al-Nabawi, The Prophet's Mosque at Medina. Photo credit: Ayesha Gamiet