Tag Archives: geometry

SEEING THE UNSEEN Exhibition 20 – 30 July 2016 (London)

SEEING THE UNSEEN exhibition

20 – 30 July 2016

SEEING THE UNSEEN is a unique exhibition showcasing the hybrid nature of art as a reflection of ever-changing and hybridising local and global communities.

Six British artists engage with digital technologies as part of their artistic practice fusing traditional aesthetics of geometry, floral motifs, and calligraphy with contemporary digital mediums. Artworks include interactive installations, digital prints and animation, evoking an examination of the relationship between shapes and form.

Alongside the exhibition there are also two exciting workshops providing an insider’s perspective on both the creative and technical aspects of artworks exhibited as part of SEEING THE UNSEEN.

Digital Demo Workshop
Led by: Pruet Putjorn from University of Kent
Date: 21 July 2016
Time: 5 pm – 6 pm
FREE – Booking required
Book Now >

Drawing Geometry Workshop
Led by: Samira Mian
Workshop 1: 23 July 2016 (11 am – 1 pm)
Workshop 2: 27 July 2016 (4 – 6pm)
£10 – Booking required
(All resources and materials are provided)
Book Now >

Location:
Four Corners, 121 Roman Road, London, E2 0QN
(Nearest tube Bethnal Green)

Find out more: www.seeingtheunseen.co.uk

Books & Tips on Islamic art and pattern-making

If you’re interested in learning more about the styles, compositions, colours and the techniques used to create some of the most beautiful examples of Islamic art around the world, then this list of books may help you on your journey. I have been asked a number of times for recommendations regarding resources on Islamic art, particularly pattern-making. To this end I have compiled the following list of books on the topics of Islamic art & Architecture, Islamic geometric patterns and Arabesque patterns which I have personally found helpful or inspirational. However, I would encourage everyone to try and attend practical workshops and courses where possible, as learning through a teacher is really the best method for learning Islamic pattern-making techniques. I have included some general tips at the bottom of this post.

[Note: this list is a work in progress. I will be adding to this list when I can and will also try to add my mini reviews (as seen in my instagram posts). Any suggestions are most welcome so please get in touch if you have any suitable recommendations. Most of the books listed are in English unless otherwise stated. I have provided Amazon links so you may see what the books look like but do shop around, as you may find better prices elsewhere]

Quick Links:

Books on Islamic Art & Architecture (general)

Islamic Arts (Art & Ideas)
Author: Jonathan Bloom
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
ISBN: 071483176X
View on Amazon

Islamic Art and Architecture
Author: Robert Hillenbrand
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
ISBN: 0500203059
View on Amazon

Making Sense of Islamic Art and Architecture
Author: Adam Barkman
ISBN: 0500291713
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
View on Amazon

Islamic Art in Detail
Author: Sheila R CAnby
ISBN: 0714124281
Publisher: British Museum Press
View on Amazon

 Arts & Crafts of the Islamic lands: Principles Materials Practice
Authors: Khaled Azzam and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts
ISBN: 0500517029
Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd
View on Amazon

Books on Islamic Geometric Patterns

Drawing Geometry: A Primer of Basic Forms for Artists, Designers and Architects
Author: Jon Allen
Publisher: Floris Books
ISBN: 0863156088
View on Amazon

Geometric Concepts in Islamic Art
Author: Issam El Said and Ayse Parman
ISBN: 0905035038
Publisher: Scorpion Cavendish Ltd
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Islamic Design – A Genius for Geometry
Author: Daud Sutton
Publisher: Wooden Books
ISBN: 1904263593
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Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach
Author: Keith Critchlow
Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd
ISBN: 0500270716
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Islamic Art and Archtitecture – The System of Geometric Design
Author: Issam El Said, Eds. Tarek El-Bouri & Keith Critchlow
ISBN: 1873938454
Publisher: Garnet Publishing Ltd
View on Amazon

Arabic Geometrical Pattern & Design
Author: J Bourgoin
ISBN: 0486229246
Publisher: Dover Pulications Inc
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Islamic Geometric Patterns
Author: Eric Broug
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 050028721X
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Islamic Geometric Design
Author: Eric Broug
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 0500516952
View on Amazon

Arabesques – Decorative Art in Morocco (available in English, French, and possibly Arabic)
Author: Jean-Marc Castera
Publisher: ACR Edition
ISBN: 2867701244
View on Amazon

Books on Islamic floral patterns (Arabesque/Islimi/Tezhip/Tezhib/Illumination)

Türk Sanatinda – Tezhip (Turkish)
Authors:  Ilhan Özkececi and Sule Bilge Özkececi
Publisher: Yazigen Yayinevi
ISBN: 6058565715
View on Amazon

Türk Sanatinda Desen ve Kurgu (Turkish)
Author: Prof. İlhan Özkeçeci
ISBN: 9786058565760
Publisher: Yazigen Yayinevi
View on Babil.com

Rumi Çizim ve Teknikleri (Turkish)
Author:Sabiha Bayhan Koç
ISBN: 9758069284
Publisher: Ilke Kitap
View on Babil.com

Türk Tezyini Sanatlarinda Desen Tasarimi: Cizim Teknigi ve Cesitleri (Turkish)
Author: Inci A. Birol
ISBN: 975644441X
Publisher: Kubbealti Nesriyati Yayincilik
View on Amazon

Motifler Türk Tezyini Sanatlarinda (English and Turkish)
Author: Inci A. Birol
ISBN: 9757663077
Publisher: Kubbealti Nesriyati Yayincilik
View on Amazon

The Illumination Models – Eslimi and Khataei Decorative Designs (English and Farsi)
Author: Mohammad-Reza Honarvar
Publisher: Yassavoli
ISBN: 9789643064396

Instruction & Application of Margins in the Illumination (English and Farsi)
Author: M Eftekhari
Publisher: Yassavoli
ISBN: 9789643063658

Symbols of Iranian Illumination & Carpet Designing (English and Farsi)
Authors/Diagrams: Mohammad Reza Honarvar, Ardeshir Takestani
Publisher: Yassavoli
ISBN: 9789643062279
View on www.iranibooks.com

Buying Books Online

If you are looking for a specific book it is best to put the title of the book into the Google search bar and then click on the ‘Shopping’ option just below this. The results shown will be shops and websites that have the book listed. Listings include those on Ebay, Amazon, Abe Books and many other online book shops, allowing you to browse in price order. For the rarer or harder to attain books, you may need to add the name of the author.

Books that are rare or harder to get hold of require a bit more detective work, but I suggest doing the above search every once in a while, as books appear for sale in the most unexpected places and at surprisingly exexpected bargain prices to boot.

For Turkish Books I have used the following two websites with successful postage to the UK:
www.turkishbooks.com (English & Turkish)
www.babil.com (Turkish only – but can use google translate to assist in alternative language).

Tips for pattern-making:

  • Try and attend a practical class, course or workshop. The traditional method for learning arts has been through an experienced professional/master, producing the work and training their apprentice. There is much merit to seeing an artist in action and being shown the way in which tools should be used in order to produce the best results. Being taught directly is immensely useful.(If you are looking for classes/workshops in London you may find courses offered by Art of Islamic Pattern and the Prince’s School of Tradtional Arts immensely useful. Also workshops offered by Ayesha Gamiet in Windsor. For a further list of workshops and teachers around the world please view recommendations by by Esra Alhamal on her blog: http://www.islamicillumination.com/blog/islamic-pattern-teachers
  • Do not be put off by books in different languages. If the book contains useful diagrams and graphical examples then you won’t need to worry much about the text.
  • Even if you have no one to teach you in a class-like environment, there are an increasing number of online tutorials and videos to also view. These include videos on YouTube and those by Eric Broug on his educational website: School of Geometric Design. There are also an increasing number of artists on social media sharing videos and tips with their followers. Here is an example by Ambigraph on his blog: Analysis of a Geometric Pattern from the Alhambra Palace
  • Try looking at as many visual examples as possible, including artefacts, architecture and prints. Examine these and look for what they have in common. When a flower or motif is drawn in a particular way, using a particular colour or combination of shapes and compositions this is a distinctive style. When specific materials and tools are used, these become part of the technique. Practice drawing these yourself, first by tracing, then by copying, then by customising, and then attempt to draw your own. Even if you feel you need a lot of practice, then keep practicing. The mantra ‘practice makes perfect’ is not just a saying, it’s a fact!
  • Reference nature – look at real life examples of plants and flowers and try and re-draw these, whether in a realistic form or in an abstract or stylised form.
  • Tracing is your best friend. Many Islamic patterns contain symmetry and repetition. This means you can draw one section and use this on top of a basic grid/layout to then re-trace a design in repeated form. The repetition looks more appealing due to the consistency this generates in the design. Remember to also keep elements proportional as this will make the whole composition look more harmonious.
  • Try and access books such as those mentioned above or look for resources online as these will also help you to pick up skills in pattern-making.
  • And remember to take your time. An artwork cannot be rushed. Patience is a virtue (again, not just a saying).

If there is anything more specific you would like advice on I am happy to answer questions. However, I cannot guarantee an immediate response. Hope this helps!

Online Lecture: Computer Science meets Islamic art pattern-making

Don’t worry, this is one academic, Associate Professor Craig S Kaplan, who knows how to bridge the gap between traditional Islamic art and computer science and technology whilst still making it an interesting lecture!

There are examples towards the end of how these patterns have been applied to various materials and structures using technological and digital methods.

And for anyone into mathematics or interested in reading more about Craig Kaplan’s research, you can find more information here: Craig S Kaplan – Associate Professor, Computer Graphics Lab

 

Geometric Design – online tutorials

Geometric Design for Beginners is a series of tutorials available on Tuts+ providing instructions for producing your own geometric patterns. Posted by Joumana Medlej, these are step by step instructions designed for beginners but continue on to more complex patterns. Easy to follow and a convenient resource for working at your own pace. Read more here: Geometric Design for Beginners

 

Qur’anic Illumination – Flash animation showing construction example

I’ve just come across the Tradigital website (an Arabic publishing studio associated with the Thesauraus Islamicus Foundation and Islamic Art Network) where I have found a very helpful animation of how one Qur’anic illumination pattern is constructed. The design is based on 6-fold geometry from which a 12-pointed star pattern is produced.

Watch the animation here: http://www.tradigital.de/specials.htm

The speed of the animation is quite fast but after watching a few times you could probably give the pattern-making a go yourself using a compass and ruler!

A quick note to say that the Islamic Art Network also has a photo archive of architectural sites in Cairo that may be of interest: http://www.islamic-art.org/PhotoArchive/PhotoArchive.asp

TED-ED Lesson on Islamic Geometric Design by Eric Broug

Here’s a quick (just over 5 minutes) video lesson on Islamic geometric patterns – a brief history, some core principles of how they are created and an array of examples both demonstrated and from real architectural sites around the world.

This lesson was made by Eric Broug, a world famous author of Islamic pattern-making books who also runs workshops. Have a look at his website here: http://broug.com/

And join his Facebook group for daily examples of artworks being created by members or being sighted and shared from various locations around the world: Broug Ateliers for Islamic Geometric Design

 

Princes School of Traditional Arts Degree Show 2014

I managed to catch the Degree Show at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts (PSTA), an exhibition of work produced by graduates of the postgraduate programme.

As you may have guessed, there are strong ties between traditional arts and crafts Islamic art. In fact ‘traditional arts and crafts’ is often the description provided for the term ‘Islamic art’, and it is usually these types of items that are displayed as examples of it. Rightly, or wrongly? It is debatable.  However, we must acknowledge that the link persists, and thankfully, the skills have been passed on to generations of artists and craftsmen today.

At the PSTA, students hone their skills of creativity and activity to produce contemporary artworks using traditional methods and materials, and always to a high standard.

Below is work produced by Ahmed Angawi, who comes from a product design background. His hand-made woodwork combined various woods to enable a mixture of shades and patterns within his pieces.

Close-up of woodwork by Ahmed Angawi

Close-up of woodwork by Ahmed Angawi

Woodwork by Ahmed Angawi

Woodwork by Ahmed Angawi

Also, on show were a pair of beautiful replica Hijazi doors produced by Sarah Al Abdali, using plaster.

Plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Detail of plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Detail of plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Close-up of plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

Close-up of plaster replica Hijazi doors by Sara Al Abdali

The inspiration behind this piece was Sarah’s discovery of the original wooden doors within the Jameel Centre collection in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England.

Hijazi Doors, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

17th century, carved wooden Hijazi Doors at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Image and item details can be viewed here: http://jameelcentre.ashmolean.org/object/EAX.422

Cutwork pieces by Sarah Al Abdali

Laser-cut pieces by Sarah Al Abdali

Having viewed previous work produced from PSTA gradautes, it was great to see  students are now also experimenting more with new technologies such as laser-cutting. It’ll be interesting to see how much technology will influence the work produced by artists in future.

Another favourite was the Zouaq ceiling by Natasha Mann who learnt this unique method for decorating wood in Morocco:

Zouaq ceiling by Natasha Mann

Zouaq ceiling by Natasha Mann (for further details visit http://www.natashazouaq.co.uk)

Painting by Natasha Mann

Painting by Natasha Mann using hand ground natural pigments with egg tempera and 24 carat gold leaf.

Painting by Natasha Mann

Painting by Natasha Mann using hand ground natural pigments with egg tempera and 24 carat gold leaf.

Further images below demonstrate some of the incredibly intricate work on show:

Read more about The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and both their taught and public programmes on their website: http://psta.org.uk/