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An Arabic twist on crafts

An Arabic twist on crafts

Arabic-ifying craft ideas

Firstly, I'm pretty sure that "arabicifying" is not a real word, but hope that you know what I mean all the same!

One of the things that inspires me to try new designs is that there are lots of amazing ideas, creative techniques and skills out there, but not many have been applied to Arabic and Islamic art. Or should that be the other way round in that Islamic art has not yet been applied to other ideas, techniques and skills? With a few exceptions, Islamic art remains fairly traditional in both style and techniques. 

Perhaps because I've grown up in the UK and have been influenced by British tastes, I like to fuse the two and apply Arabic & Islam to other crafts, styles and techniques.

Attempt #1 - Arabic calligraphy lino-cut

Earlier this year a friend organised a linocut workshop at her house, guided by professional linocut artist Hannah and Her Press. I'd not done linocutting since art college a squillion years ago so this seemed like an idea opportunity to give it a bash and see if I could combine the craft with Islamic design. 

Islamic linocut of Arabic calligraphy shahada

We practiced on little squares of softcut board (which is a dream to carve compared to the lino I used years ago), and I came up with this design based on the Shahada in Arabic calligraphy. The trouble with linoprinting is that the image is reversed when printed, which means you have to carve the whole thing backwards. That made my brain ache.

Anyway, I loved the experience and was pleased with my first attempt, so bought myself a little set of carving tools which have sat in a drawer ever since. Then in one of those endless ambles around Hobbycraft the other day trying to find something that they'd moved since the last visit (very cunning sales technique!), I found some big sheets of softboard, and that got me thinking and then itching to get carving once again.

Attempt #2 - Dome of the Rock Islamic lino-cut

So I've spent today carving a bigger lino-print, this time of the Dome of the Rock and some of the detail of the Arabic calligraphy in the border. Again, it was rather a challenge doing that much calligraphy back-to-front so that it's the correct way round for the actual print.

Here's the result so far...

Islamic linocut print of the Dome of the Rock with Arabic Calligraphy by Qalbi

I don't actually have any printing inks to even see what it looks like yet (on order from Amazon, thank goodness for Prime) so can't wait to see how it prints. It's taken hours and hours and I've stabbed myself several times and bled copiously in the process so it had better be worth it!

How to see the finished result

I'll update this post to show you what the print looks like one it's ready. If you'd like to hear when it's ready then sign up to receive my emails and I'll drop you a line. 

What other arts and crafts could be islamified?

Well, I can paint just about anything and I enjoy learning techniques like printing, but I DEFINITELY did not inherit any skill whatsoever with cake decorating, sewing, knitting or crocheting from my very talented mum.

My next project is going to involve book folding to create an Arabic word a bit like this example below which I found on Scrappy Sticky Inky Mess - as of yet I have no clue how do to it so I need to get onto youtube to find out how it's done.

However, just about anything has the potential to be given an Islamic twist with a little imagination and skill. Here are a few random ideas that pop into my head for someone else to try:

- Islamic knitted "christmas" jumpers, scarves, snoods etc

- quilling (paper curling)

- islamic geometric crochet design (if that's even possible?)

- Arabic embroidery samplers

- Glass blown paper weights

Do you have any other ideas we could add to the list?

What crafts do you love and what else could you suggest to add to this list that someone else might like to try? If so, please comment below to share them.






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