I am passionate about teaching. Making the construction of Islamic Geometric Patterns accessible to almost anyone is becoming one of my strongest motivations. I take a great deal of pride in preparing workshops and lessons thoroughly and when in front of students being able to communicate and demonstrate the ideas I am trying to convey clearly and with enthusiasm and patience.
Besides my regular workshops at Harrow Arts Centre, Cass Art Kingston, Islington & Manchester and Courses at Ealing. Below you will find the workshops I've led with different organisations & groups in and around the UK & abroad since 2015. From work place staff workshops to kids workshops at mosques as well as private workshops for groups of families or friends in their home, a hotel & arts centre.
Dec 2019 – Sheikh Zayed Mosque Ewan Al Jami Islamic Geometry Workshops
The end of December felt like the fanciest tour of the Arab world. I flew from Dhahran on the east coast of Saudi to Abu Dhabi , UAE for the round two of workshops. This time I was working at the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre. I led four workshops as part of their Ewan Al Jami programme of creative activities free to the public. As it was my third time in Abu Dhabi working with Bayt Al Qindeel, I met many familiar faces and geometry friends as well as those who I was connected to via social media. I was well looked after and having assistants helping me set up and pack away workshops was a luxury I could easily get used to. Their video team made this superb film. I was very blessed to end 2019 with such a great experience, teaching the loveliest of people in a beautiful venue.
Dec 2019 – Three day workshop at Ithra, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
It was a pleasure and honour to work at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture also known as Ithra. A truly sublime venue that I thoroughly enjoyed exploring in my downtime. My hosts looked after me well as I taught a group of 16 about different pattern families across 3 days. We had a diverse and talented group and teaching them over a longer period allowed me to get to know them, have great discussions, share jokes and also see some brilliant progress in their Islamic Geometry.
Dec 2019 – Workshop for Year 9/10 girls at Al Risalah School
One of my faves on Instagram is also an Art Teacher! So when Lucy Khanam wanted to arrange a workshop for her students, I jumped at the chance. She’d brought a group for a workshop at MTU the previous year. They were by far the most talented, humble & polite students we’d had. Such wonderful ambassadors for their r school and certainly a testament to Lucy’s amazing teaching. I had a lovely morning with them and was again so pleased with how well they got on and what they produced… I’d be back in a flash!
Oct 2019 – Mar 2020 Year 5 Masterclass at the Royal Institution & St Helen’s School
When I was a teacher, I used to volunteer to help out at the Royal Institution Year 9 masterclasses on Saturdays. These were free sessions for bright students across the borough coming together on a Saturday morning for exciting maths sessions. They were such a treat! I have now had the opportunity to deliver Year 5 Masterclasses at the Royal Institution on two occasions and at St Helen’s School in Northwood. The enthusiasm and talent of the children, complete with their little stories & anecdotes was such a joy. At St Helen’s I delivered the final Masterclass of the season, complete with parents attending. It was amazing to have such a large group (almost 60), drawing and colouring patterns with such effort and concentration. A brilliant experience every time!
Aug 2019 – Private workshop for Kam & family
I’ve met many members Kam's family, as their first time at one of my workshop was a 3 generation affair! So I have a major soft spot from them all. I'm especially grateful for their encouragement, gifts continuous support. It is therefore entirely predictable that I had a fabulous time delivering this workshop in her dining room and garden, having the best snacks after and loveliest chats throughout.
Aug 2019 – D3 workshops with Bayt Al Qindeel in Dubai
It was wonderful to be working with @baytalqindeel again this time in Dubai Design District. We ran 6 sessions over the 3 days with participants drawing and/or painting different patterns in every. Always love seeing the friendly faces that’ve come to previous workshops mixed in with the newbies trying it out for the next time. The workshops were as fun as the downtime in between. Trips like this are tiring but such good fun.
July 2019 – Alqueria de Rosales Summer School in Islamic Geometric Patterns.
One of the biggest highlights of 2019 was my trip to Spain and teaching at the first Alqueria de Rosales Summer School in Islamic Geometric Patterns.
The geometry itself seemed to rebuild all our foundations, yep I'm including me here! We began with Daud Sutton's fundamentals taught by myself & then Alan Adams, built upon with advanced sessions of Rajen Astho & Ameet Hindocha and supplemented by Daud's evening lectures. I sensed everyone who came went away a better geometer regardless of their previous experience. To be able to say that for all, but especially the experienced geometers, is a testament to the course.
But beyond the geometry, htere were many unexpected joys:
The food, oh my, the food! Rosales catered for all our varying diets and we ate so well, too well in my case! And of course spanish fruit in the summer is just sublime.
Who knew cats and kittens would be a highlight, I'm pretty indifferent, but the story of Alan taking them in, Simona buying them food and all the other cat lovers visiting them inbetween all sessions even warmed my cold heart!
Adeeba taking us through the manuscripts was so fascinating, we had such a wonderful afternoon, learning so much and feeling so privileged to be able to see them upclose.
Other people's stuff! Daud's books, Jones's origami kites, Bryn's postcards, everyone's amazing drawing kits, but especially Margi's vintage and Hana's futuristic compass, Sandy's geometry folders, all so memorable!
Finally, our location, the beautiful buildings set in the middle of the Spanish mountains was breathtaking daily, in the sunshine, in the night, with stars, a partial lunar eclipse, the dramatic rain and the rainbow that followed (I missed it, still bitter, photo by Ameet).
June 2019 – Masjid Al Jannah workshop for Girls
I returned to Slough for this workshop at Masjid Al Jannah during Ramadan. I ran two workshops, one for the younger girls and one for the older ones. It was part of their weekly Girls club where they did something different each week. Lovely to be part of their programme at such a happy thriving masjid.
May 2019 – Islamic Geometry Workshop at Chelsea Library
I delivered this workshop as part of Chelsea Library’s celebration of CityRead London. It was open to anyone and free, so was interesting to have a mix of people and my favourite kind of challenge, teaching people with no experience how to draw patterns.
I really enjoyed teaching Amara & her sisters, they always do something different & special for their birthdays ( what a great idea right), so they came along full of of excitement and many snacks ready for a fun filled afternoon…
April 2019 - Bespoke Private workshop for Amara & her sisters
Exhibition & Publication
Manifesting the Unseen, a residency exhibition and workshops at @guestprojects in #hackney.
@manifestingtheunseen began as a discussion led by exhibition curator and poet Nazia Mirza on the invisibility of marginalised identities in public space and how for many in the West, Islamic art and poetry remain a hidden treasure.
For me it was the first time exhibitining and creating merchandise too. Sucha full on experience which I was glad I was able to enjoy in a more familiar setting by running workshops.
Each artist was paired with a poet, who took inspiration from an art work to form our poetry and art anthology. My poet was the thought provoking talent that is Suhaiymah Manzoor Khan. I was really chuffed to get to work with her. She is both a force to be reckoned with and an absolute down to earth wise beyond her years gem of human!
Workshops for Adults
Squeezing in many workshops into our month in Hackney, almost felt like a full time job! Glad I enjoy what I do! We were able to run 4 adult workshops free to the general public, bringing in a diverse group of people to our space and my world of patterns.
I also ran my own regular workshops, it felt right to make use of such a wonderful and inspirational space...!
Workshops for Secondary Schools
I led 6 workshops for students from 6 different secondary schools. It was wonderful for them to see the richness and cross over of Maths, history and art and simultaneously enjoy the exhibition.
October 2018 - Tea, cakes & islamic Geometry at the Heath Robinson Museum, Pinner
Heath Robinson was an imaginaitve and inventive creative, it was really good to learn about him and see his work at the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner. A great venue, on a lovely autumns day for drawing & colouring Islamic geometric patterns.
July 2018 - Two enrichment days at Bishop Ramsey School
I was so pleased to be returning to my old school where I'd been a maths teacher for 12 years. During the Summer, all the year groups go on a variety of enrichment trips. Some student's cant go, so my sessions were for these students. The majority of the 30 plus group were year 9s and then a few from year 7 & 8. Now given they hadnt chosen to do these activities, I was so very impressed with their participation! Getting two days to draw and paint with students who may not normally do so, was brilliant. Equally brilliant was seeing the staff join in, from my old colleagues to teaching assitants... I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere painting creates! We did a variety of activities, including building stick & play doh towers, drawing & painting Islamic Geometric Patterns and creating and painting floral motifs. I can see why I stayed Bishop Ramsey for such a long time, the students and staff were and are wonderful.
July 2018 - Drawing & Painting Workshop with Karima Foundation, High Wycombe
A wonderful workshop in High Wycombe with the Karima Foundation... We had teenagers and adults, many painting for the first time in a long time!
May 2018 - Introduction to Islamic Art & drawing session, WI Barnes
Was a pleasure talking to the Women's Institute in Barnes about Islamic Art in general as well as guiding them through a simple construction. Went home with some homemade Seville Orange Marmalade too... yum!
Winter 2017 - Bridal Shower and Afternoon Tea
I was so excited when Uzma got in touch with this wonderful idea, working with her took my art work and experience again into a new direction. What was super special about this activity is that everyone painted the same pattern tile in their own way from a pastel palette picked especially for the bride. These were then as assembled to make a wonderful gift from her friends. We had a beautiful venue and I got to meet some great ladies, such a pleasure.
Autumn 2017 - Work place Social Workshop
I ventured into a different direction in 2017 and led a workshop at Hoare Lea, an international firm of mechanical, electrical and public health consulting engineers.
This after work workshop took the meeting room in an entirely creative direction, perhaps a tad different to its usual activities. We took a simple zellige grid and extracted a couple of patterns from it, ready to be tiled and painted. All in all a relaxed and sociable way to spend a couple of hours with work colleagues.
Autumn 2017 - Kids and adults workshops, Abu Dhabi, UAE
It was great to return to Abu Dhabi for a second time in 2017. This time, to work with Aziza Iqbal and lead workshops as part of the Hajj Exhibition in the grounds of the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Masjid, Abu Dhabi. Once again organised by the wonderful Zeinab of Bayt Al Qindeel.
We led 5 kids' workshops whilst we were there. It was amazing to see word the spread and have such an huge turn out on the last days. It's always wonderful getting the adults involved and working with the younger ones to create a piece together or individually. Each time we explored patterns without using compasses. We created original and traditional patterns on grids and templates to create colourful compositions in watercolour pencils and paints.
Our 9 workshops for adults had us using the traditional tools of a compass and straight edge. Always a pleasure to return to these fundamental tools. We made sure each workshop allowed participants to complete the geometry, transfer and tile as needed so they too may add colour to their final pieces. It was wonderful to see newbies to Geometry get the hands on experience and become in awe of this process we love so much. We also had some regulars who were fans already... just like us!
Summer 2017 - Kids and adults workshops, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Ramadan Nights at Manarat Al Saadiayat
with Bayt Al Qindeel
I led three family friendly workshops as part of TCA Abu Dhabi's cultural celebration in Ramadan at Manarat Al Saadiyat (TCA - Tourism and Culture Authority). For each of the three evenings we had a mixture of adults and children working on the construction and tiling of a simple Islamic Geometric Pattern. Always starting with a compass and ruler, we were able to go from our blank sheets to a colour filled pattern in watercolours. It was a joy to see the adults and kids working so well together, a real inspiration for future workshops. The younger ones were able to get stuck in with the aid of prepared grids and some good old colouring. Working with Bayt Al Qindeel and having that local connection was an entirely positive experience, here's to many more in the beautiful UAE.
Adult Workshops hosted by Bayt Al Qindeel
It was great to meet the local geometers at a one off adults workshop organised by Bayt Al Qindeel. This afternoon session was an opportunity to construct, tile and paint a more complex pattern. It was a really enjoyable session where we followed the construction and tiling with watercolour painting.
Summer 2016 - Ealing, London
Make It Ealing
Long Summer Nights
I led two free workshops outside Ealing Town Hall, making the most of sunshine and longer summer days . People were able to book in advance or just drop by on their way home from work or just passing by. It was great to bring these patterns to a wider audience, some stopping by to take part, others just having a good old look or a chat as they spared 5 minutes to join us.
Summer 2016 - Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Islamic Geometry at
Mississauga, ON Canada
Beginners & Intermediate Geometers
Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th
What an amazing experience! To be part of the tens of thousands of people that come together for Muslimfest was exciting, overwhelming and a genuine privilege. I was able to run two workshops each day and also mananged to have a good exploration of Missisauga Celebration Square, filled with its stalls and food vendors and people... masses of people! I enjoyed some great snippets of martial arts, comedy and music on stage as well as many great meals from the stalls. Was good to meet some online friends and make new real ones too. Alhumdollilah for such a wonderful opportunity.
Summer 2016 - Bethnal Green, London
Drawing Geometry at
Four Corners Gallery, 121 Roman Road
Bethnal Green E2 0QN
11am to 1pm, Saturday 23rd July 2016
4pm to 6pm, Wednesday 27th July 2016
I led two workshops at the Four Corners Gallery as part of the SEEING THE UNSEEN exhibition (20th to 30th July, 2016). In each session, participants learn to construct a geometric pattern. In the first, a twelvefold geometric rosette and in the second, an eightfold jaali composition. It was wonderful to have a sold out session for the second workshop.
Easter 2016 - Harrow Arts Centre, London
Kids Islamic Geometry Workshops
for children aged 8 to 14
I led a series of workshops for kids using simple grids to discover complex patterns found in different corners of the Islamic World: From Spain and Morocco to India.
The patterns were brought to life with colour using coloured pens and pencils as well as paint their patterns using watercolour pencils. Each workshop covereed different grids.
Autumn/Winter 2015 - ALIF Riad, Fes, Morocco
I taught eleven Islamic Geometry workshops at the beautiful ALIF Riad in Fes mostly to beginners. We explored 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 fold symmetry, tiling and weaves. Each week we constructed a new geometric pattern using a pencil, straight edge and compass. Each session was such a pleasure with regular attendees getting more and more confidence and experience and new students from a wide range of backgrounds also attending. A genuine highight of my time in Fes. Of course we set up a Facebook group, where else would we share our class selfies?