Kufic Calligraphy with Joumana Medlej

17 June '21 at 6:00 pm - 22 July '21 at 8:00 pm

Praise for Joumana Medlej’s Calligraphy Courses at the Arab British Centre:

‘Exceeded my expectations’

‘Wonderful experience’

‘Really enjoyed the course, great to learn from Joumana, a brilliant teacher’


Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dates: 17 June '21 | 24 June '21 | 1 July '21 | 8 July '21 | 15 July '21 | 22 July '21

In this course, we take a close look at the letters as individual constructed shapes. We analyse the quintessence of each letter and its manifestations in different styles of Kufic to arrive at an understanding of what makes each letter, what is essential vs. adaptable, and the formal relationships that link some letters together. We also look at how flourishes and compositions are developed. The objective is to equip students with the understanding of principles that run through the entire Kufic family, so they can work with historical styles or reinvent the script according to their own creativity, while preserving the spirit of the tradition.The course takes place over Zoom, and involves class discussion and exercises, with some light homework, finally bringing it together in a finished design.

Experience needed: None. Previous knowledge of the Arabic alphabet helps, but is not necessary. Similarly, geometric construction doesn’t require drawing skills, though the latter open up possibilities.

Materials needed: Pencil, ruler and a basic compass. Paper: Grids will be provided that you can print at home (you can buy a graph pad instead, in size A4 or A3, but it must have 1mm squares, like this one. 5mm graphs are not suitable.)

Optional: Circular templates can be very handy for small curves. Also optional: fine and medium ink pens (for instance Pigma Micron 0.2 and 0.4) to finish.

Times: 6 to 8pm weekly. Note that zoom courses are recorded so if you have to miss a session you’ll be able to watch it before the next one. Light homework will be given after each session.

Breakdown of sessions: This is a loose schedule, subject to change with the class flow.

June 17: Historical overview and overview of the sample styles. Begin letters study.

June 24: Finish letters study. Exercise and discussion.

July 1: Script grammar, spacing, and construction basics, with exercise.

July 8: How to plan a layout, and how to create a rotated composition, each with exercise.

July 15: Discussion of final project ideas. Creating letters, with exercise.

July 22: Final design feedback and construction session. Rounding up the course with final questions and discussion.

About Joumana Medlej

Joumana Medlej was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. After an early career in graphic design and illustration, her life took an unexpected turn when master calligrapher Samir Sayegh invited her to be his assistant. Through years of close collaboration, she learned the essence of Kufic, the origin of all Arabic calligraphy. She developed her own visual language out of this lesser-known style, and made its study and practice her life’s work, with a special focus on its sacred dimension.

Joumana moved to London in 2013 to dedicate herself to her art practice. Her work is found in private and public collections in the Middle East and in the West. She teaches Kufic calligraphy at the Arab British Centre and in her studio.

What school of Calligraphy does the course teach? Joumana teaches Creative Calligraphy. The course uses the Kufi script as a foundation, but encourages students to be creative with the traditional form and find their own approach to the art of Arabic calligraphy.

How many students will be in each class? There will be a maximum of 20 students.

Do I need to be able to read and write Arabic? No knowledge of Arabic is required

Do I need to be able to draw? No, the script is mostly constructed, not freehand, so drawing skills are not essential.

Are materials provided? No, because it’s an online course that you do from home, there will be some things you need to buy in advance.

Can I book a place and pay later? No, your place on the course will only be confirmed on receipt of the course fee in full.

How can I sign up to a class? You can sign up online going to our homepage ‘COURSES’. You can find information on our current Calligraphy course and book online here

Can I book a place and pay later? No, your place on the course will only be confirmed on receipt of the course fee in full.

How can I sign up to a course? What methods of payment do you accept? Please book for courses on our website above or call the Arab British Centre to pay by card over the phone.

What is your refund policy? Our courses rely on meeting minimum numbers to run, and are often over-subscribed, so the sooner you let us know you’ve changed your mind the better. We can then open your place up to someone else. Our rules on refunds are:

  • 100% refund if you let us know up to 2 weeks before the start date of the course
  • 50% refund if you let us know 8-13 days before the start date of the course
  • no refund if you let us know 1 week or less before the start of the course

What happens if you cancel the course? We will endeavour to ensure courses are not cancelled but if this does happen we will contact you as quickly as we can to let you know and to arrange a full refund.

Please contact us if you have any further questions on 020 78321310 or info@arabbritishcentre.org.uk


The Arab British Centre

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