Tezhip Foundations (Part 1): Methods, Materials, Design

A Mughal illuminated shamsa from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I am delighted to announce a brand new illumination course – the first since receiving my ijaza in Istanbul earlier this year! This course is an in-depth look at biomorphic design and pattern from the Islamic world, focusing on the art of illumination.

This 5-day short course is intended to be the first in a series of new sessions, aimed at students who are looking to deepen their practice in Islamic art, and potentially travel to the Islamic world in the hope of gaining their own ijaza (apprenticeship) under a traditional Master. Many of my previous workshops provided a “taster”, or brief introduction to the art of illumination. Since receiving my ijaza, however, it is my intention to offer greater depth of tuition to students who are committed to the craft. One day, we might inspire a whole new generation of British Islamic illuminators, beautifying the world with their exquisite skills and craftsmanship! Well anyway, that’s my hope! ; )

Full course and booking details can be found by clicking the link. Please feel free to share with your family and friends!


Tezhip Foundations (Part 1): Methods, Materials, Design

Dates and times: 5 Saturdays from 27th Oct – 24th Nov 2018, 10am – 4pm

Venue: Prime Studios, 1-6 Ward Royal Parade, Alma Road, Windsor SL4 3HR.

Course Description:

This new course is designed for students who would like to delve deep into the art of tezhip (Islamic manuscript illumination). Part 1 will form the first term of a series of classes, intended for students who are interested in learning the fundamental principles of illumination. This first course will focus on design skills.

We will take a detailed look at the pattern elements of illumination, familiarising with the rich and varied world of biomorphic motifs. Next, students will learn in-depth about the rules and principles for creating traditional Islamic designs. They will receive personalised, one-to-one feedback on their own design, challenging them to refine their skills even further. In addition, we will take a closer look at the traditional methods and materials used in the art of illumination. Students will have the opportunity to make their own paints from raw pigment, and will learn how to make the most important colour for illuminators – shell gold, ground and filtered from gold leaf.

At the end of the course, each student will have their own uniqely designed frontispiece or shamsa to take home.

Unlike previous workshops, where students have worked from pre-designed templates provided by the teacher, this class will give students the skills to create their own designs using centuries-old design principles from the Islamic world. Classes are practical, and will be taught in the same manner, using the same exercises as traditional illumination lessons in Istanbul. If you have ever thought about studying illumination in the traditional way in Istanbul, this course is for you!

Students are asked to bring a book of genuine 22 carat gold leaf (loose leaf, NOT transfer) to session 1, otherwise all materials are covered in the course fee.


This entry was posted in Gilding, Icaza, Islamic Art Courses, Islamic Manuscript Illumination, News, Pattern in Islamic art, Teaching, Tezhib, ijaza, painting, tezhip. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tezhip Foundations (Part 1): Methods, Materials, Design

  1. Maria Olteanu says:

    I am very interested to take a course Islamic Manuscript Illumination. I live in Germany. Please let me know when it will possible. I can come in Istambul too.
    Thank you

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