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Islamic Geometry for Beginners


This course is now full. You may contact us to discuss alternative courses or be added to the waiting list in case of cancellations.

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Location Leicester Print Workshop
Date & Time Thursday 9th February - Thursday 16th March 2023
6.00pm - 9.00pm
Tutor  Safira Ali

The course centres on the construction of Islamic geometric patterns, using the simple tools of ruler and compass. You will learn how to design and create repeat patterns and to paint your designs. Through this process, attendees will explore aspects of practical geometry, the simple and elegant mathematics behind the patterns, and examples of their application in historical works. Each session will explore a different region and corresponding Mughal, Persian, Ottoman Moroccan and Andalusian patterns. No prior experience is required.

Course Structure

Week 1

·       History of Islamic art and Geometry

·       An introduction to compasses and their uses

·       An overview of six-fold patterns

·       Draw a range of six-fold patterns

 Week 2

·       An overview of four-fold patterns

·       Draw a single unit four-fold pattern

·       Learn how to transfer repeat units to create a composition

·       Drawing subgrids and patterns on an expanded grid

·       Draw a star and cross pattern

·       We will learn the variations of this pattern

 Week 4

·       An overview of roundel patterns and curves in geometric patterns

·       Draw roundel patterns from Turkey and Morocco

·       Learn how to create channels within your drawings

 Week 5

·       An overview of twelve-fold patterns

·       Draw a twelve-fold pattern as a single unit ready to tessellate/ repeat for a composition

·       Draw a twelve-fold pattern as a full pattern

 Week 6

·       An overview of rosette patterns

·       Create a single unit of a rosette pattern

·       Trace, transfer and paint this as a final pattern 

About the Tutor

Safira Ali is a visual artist and calligrapher based in Coalville. Her work explores the disciplines of geometry, tezhip and calligraphy.

Safira studied Islamic geometry, islmi and plaster carving at the Art of Islamic Pattern, in London. She continued to learn traditional arts through a VMCTA diploma programme via The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts.

For the past three years she has been studying Arabic calligraphy in Leicester and is undertaking a traditional apprenticeship programme to learn tezhip with an Islamic illumination teacher in Istanbul.

She exhibited her art as part of the In Praise Exhibition in Leicester in March 2022. 

Leicester Print Workshop 

Leicester Print Workshop is the regional development centre for printmaking. Established by artists in 1986, we are a registered charity, supported by Arts Council England. Our RIBA award-winning building is situated in Leicester City Centre's Cultural Quarter and is home to a large, well equipped open access Printmaking Studio.

We have over 30 years’ experience of teaching people printmaking. Our programme offers the largest number and broadest range of printmaking courses in the region, with courses suitable for beginners as well as experienced printmakers, delivered by practicing artists and nationally renowned tutors. Participants learn in small and friendly groups in our purpose-designed studio.


Online: You can book online here by credit / debit card or Paypal.

Telephone: You can pay by card over the phone during our opening hours (Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm). Call us on 0116 251 4174.

In person: Call in to Leicester Print Workshop during our opening hours (Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm) to book and pay by card, cash or cheque.

Pre-course information: We will send you details of how to find us and what to bring with you when we process your booking. 


Full-Print Members of Leicester Print Workshop are entitled to a 10% discount on our inhouse courses. Interested in joining LPW as a member? Click here for more information.