A budding artist and experienced educator with a passion for Islamic Geometry. By tapping into my 12 years secondary school teaching experience, I have been able to share my passion for the compass and straight edge constructions of Islamic Geometric Patterns in the UK, abroad and online since September 2015. For me it is an immensely satisfying pursuit, from analysing and constructing the patterns, to painting them in watercolours and gouache and of course teaching others, bringing this art form to a wider audience.
So, let’s say this all began in the Autumn of 2013, when I made my way to Hackney, in the East of London, one Saturday Morning and started studying with The Art of Islamic Pattern. The genuinely inspirational teaching of the massively experienced Adam Williamson & Richard Henry captured my imagination. At the time, as a full time maths teacher, it is fair to say, I had no idea how this seed that was being planted would go on to grow and change my life (dramatic - I know!).
In February 2014, at the end of my second course with them, I picked up a paintbrush for the first time. This still shocks me as I have always had some kind of creative outlet. Pottery, typography and woodcarving at one point too.
Skipping forward to January 2015, I moved to Fes in Morocco. This was in the middle of my year out from teaching Mathematics at Bishop Ramsey School. A year out that was taking on a life of it's own. As busy as I was in attempting to learn Arabic, "shweya bi shweya", I found a lot of time to practise my art. The inspirational surroundings were fuel for my creativity. More or less on a daily basis, I was constructing geometric patterns, composing arabesque designs or painting. At first with gouache, and then with watercolour, always with a few metallics thrown in.
Whilst in Fes, I genuinely missed teaching Mathematics. I had been a Secondary School Maths Teacher for 12 years. So the teacher in me combined with the geometry fan resulted in me organising and running weekly Islamic Geometry Workshops at the American & Arabic Language Centre in Fes (ALC & ALIF Fes). These were truly wonderful. Firstly I love teaching; secondly I met and made friends with such delightful folk. A genuine highlight of my wonderful time in Fes.
As of January 2016, I am back in London, on a mission to construct more, paint more and lead Islamic Geometric Workshop at various events and venues. Besides the ongoing workshops at Harrow, Kingston, Islington, SOAS and Manchester, I also taught at the following:
Taster workshops for adults and Easter workshops for Children at Harrow Arts Centre;
Kids and Adults workshops with Bayt Al Qindeel for Abu Dhabi's Ramadan Nights at Manarat Al Saadiyat & the Memories of Journey - Hajj Exhibition;
Work place Social Workshop at Hoare Lea Engineering firm;
Workshop at Discover Islam Week at Leeds University organised and hosted by Leeds ISOC;
Workshops at SOAS University, London hosted by the Traditional Arts & Crafts Society of SOAS
Many workshop for home-schooled teenagers and younger ones in Slough, Harrow, Pinner and Wembley;
Workshop for 11 & 12 year olds and older teenagers at Masjid Al Jannah at Slough;
Drawing Geometry Workshops at the SEEING THE UNSEEN EXHIBITION in Bethnal Green;
Workshop for under 12s at UK Islamic Mission Hayes Branch;
Beginners and Intermediate Workshops and on stage demonstration at Muslimfest, Mississauga, Ontario Canada;
Pop up workshops on Ealing Broadway as part of Make it Ealing's Long Summer Nights Arts Market.
My ventures into Islamic Geometry went online in June 2016. Udemy has been a great platform for my first online course, perfect for absolute beginners. My second online course went live in April 2017, an intermediate course to take people forward with their construction skills as well as ideas and techniques for painting patterns. Currently I have over 1900 students enrolled in 90+ countries. I love seeing their initial intrigue and fascination grow as they produce the wonderful patterns and constructions. Some have shared their work and connected with each other too, using the hashtag #samiramianonlinecourse.
Back in the world of face to face teaching, I've led several courses at Open Ealing since Spring 2016. This, in addition to monthly workshops at Cass Art Kingston , Cass Art Islington , Cass Art Manchester , SOAS University London and Harrow Arts Centre, keeps me very busy. I am in awe of and eternally grateful to the wonderful Cass Art, who have supported me and my workshops since I began.
It seems to capture the attention of some in the media too. Summer 2016 I was on Living the Life a light hearted entertainment programme which explores the lives of creative and inspirational individuals on Islam Channel. It was even more lovely when Aisha Gani and Laura Gallant from Buzzfeed visited us at OPEN, read about it here: People Are Obsessed With Islamic Art And The Patterns Are Flawless.
What an adventure it has been, I most certainly feel blessed to be in a position to follow my passion, enjoying the great opportunities that come my way and meet some great people – in real life and online!
p.s. even I don’t know why I'm pretending to play a drum in the above photograph, if you do get in touch.