Square Kufic Calligraphy with Joumana Medlej

23 September '21 at 6:00 pm - 21 October '21 at 8:00 pm

Praise for Joumana Medlej‘s Kufic 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: 23 September '21 | 30 September '21 | 7 October '21 | 14 October '21 | 21 October '21 | 28 October '21

Square Kufic, also known as Masonry Script or khatt banna’i, developed as an architectural style to be rendered in brick or tile, often on a monumental scale. Yet it is equally at home at the much smaller size of paper or textiles, and even, today, in the tiny canvas of pixel art. It is unique among calligraphy styles in that it adds to artistry a dimension of puzzle-solving.

In this online course, we will learn the rules and principles of Square Kufic, how to compose by manipulating the letters and using rotations to fill a surface or to create a repeating pattern. From the basic square grid, we will move to variations in grid proportions and shape, including three-dimensional effects and circular compositions, opening up the creative potential of this technique. The first two sessions are foundational, covering the history, iterations, principles and letterforms of Square Kufic. The rest of the sessions are dedicated to working with one type of grid each and creating a practice design in it.

Experience needed: None. Prior knowledge of the Arabic alphabet is helpful but not required. This course is a particularly good complement to The Geometry of Kufic, and can be taken before or after it.

Materials needed:

  • Grid paper: For this style we need a very basic grid of 5mm squares. This is provided as a printable digital file, but if you want to buy a pad of graph paper, this is the type we need. If you can get A3 size, you’ll have a lot more freedom to work.
  • Plain paper. Same note about A3.
  • Pencil & eraser
  • A ruler
  • Optional but incredibly handy: Pilot Frixion Erasable Highlighters. These broad pens make sketching in the grid very simple, and they can be rubbed out when dry so designs can be revised without having to start over. They dry out fairly quickly though so you’ll need 2 or 3.
  • A compass (to draw circles) and a protractor (to measure angles).

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. There may be light homework between sessions.

Breakdown of sessions:

Sept 23: Historical overview, principles of Square Kufic and types of compositions. Start learning the letter shapes.

Sept 30: Finish letters. Discuss bad examples. Start practicing with the contained type.

Oct 7: Working with rotational compositions.

Oct 14: A different approach: Working with the 45º grid.

Oct 21: Working with a skewed grid and creating a three-dimensional effect.

Oct 28: Working with a circular composition.

Photo captions:

Left: Detail from the portico of Masjed-e Jame, Natanz, Iran.

Right: Detail of the facade of the Khoja Ahmad Yasawi mausoleum, Turkestan.

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




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