learning about Islamic Geometric Art with Samira Mian

In February I attended a workshop at Cass Art in Kingston, to learn about creating Islamic Geometric Art with Samira Mian.

It’s something I’ve been interested in since I first visited the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, in 1983, where I saw intricate geometric designs in the screens and tiles around the palace.

When I got home, I happened upon a book by Issam El-Said and Ayșe Parman: “Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art” – which I instantly bought, thinking it would teach me how to make up the designs. Sadly, as the title implies, it was more about the concepts, rather than being a how-to book.

So when I found out about Samira’s classes, I was there like a shot.

I found it quite tricky, using a compass and a ruler to draw out the designs, but I was really pleased with the result. I decided to leave adding colour until later, because I didn’t want to have to carry home a soggy design. And even then, I was procrastinating (again) about what colours to use.

Eventually, I used India inks in deep red, orange and yellow for the diamonds, and aqua for the curly circle. I still have one more circle to do, on the outside, although I quite like it the way it is.

I found it quite challenging painting the design, too – I’m not used to detailed work, and I found myself going boss-eyed and holding my breath, trying to stay within the lines. At least my tongue wasn’t sticking out, though! 😉


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