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Northampton Scribes Newsletter

The Northampton Scribes Newsletter is published 3 times a year and provides members with reports about workshops, forthcoming events, and information from other calligraphy groups. All members can submit items to the Editor for inclusion. The newsletter is free to all members of the Scribes.

 

              

 

An article published in the Summer 2014 newsletter

ISLIMI: THE ART OF ARABESQUE

It is always such a pleasure to meet up with fellow calligraphers and Saturday 5th July was one such day. What a day we had; it was a day of pattern, design and colour. Sylvie Gokulsing ‘s own portfolio of work was truly exquisite with its beautiful  designs, its lacy cutwork and subtle use of colour. 

Islimi is a beautiful series of designs found throughout all decorative and architectural arts – many of the designs are familiar in their stylistic arabesque form. The images are based on the natural world and include stylised leaves and flowers. Hatayi,  a plant style comprising leaves and flowers, is just one type of arabesque design – and this was our focus for the day. (Interestingly, ‘Hatayi’ means ‘from Cathay’ and it is thought that its origins are to be Chinese Turkestan.

The designs are made up of stylised leaves and three types of flower: the penc meaning 5 petals and in which the flower is seen face on; the goncagul which is a half opened flower form and the Hatayi motif itself is a flower seen from the side in which the flower centre is visible.

Sylvie encouraged us all to embrace the day and have a go starting with small steps and pencil drawings of leaves. From there we progressed to the flower forms. Suitably armed with some designs, ranging from quite simple but elegant forms to more elaborate and complicated shapes, we embarked on creating our own design and border.  I know we enjoyed it immensely!  It was surprising that such a seemingly stylised and particular design form should be so liberating. 

That was only the beginning though – colouring in was pure delight! The colour is applied using a pressure and release technique so that the application of colour is graduated – the end result being subtle and even.

Everyone felt a great sense of achievement at the end of the day when we shared our creations and there was much discussion about how we could apply our designs and combine them with calligraphy.  Thanks to Sylvie for her good humour and excellent advice which was so encouraging and made our collaborative calligraphy day such a colourful event. 

Jane O’Connor