Frequently Asked Questions

I have no artistic background, will I struggle with the course?

The introductory courses and study trips assume no prior knowledge of Islamic art and are open to everyone. We generally have a mix of abilities on all of our courses and study trips.

What are the backgrounds of students on your courses and why do people study with you?

Our students come from a range of backgrounds and have a broad range of interests and motivations. Some are professional artists or designers seeking to develop a particular aspect of their work, others are from non-art backgrounds who are driven to explore the art and culture of the Islamic world more deeply and there are others, who you might say find themselves at a professional cross-roads, and who wish to change career to something more personally, professionally, or creatively more fulfilling.

Do you accept international students on your courses?

When we run our London intensives we have people flying in from all over the world: USA, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, South America, Europe and the Gulf. It’s the same for the study trips. On the study trips we can advise on the best travel and accommodation options. If you come London, we can advise on economic accommodation options and where to base yourself.

Do you have a social media page I can follow?

You can follow us on instagram @artofislamicpattern

You can also join our Facebook group:-

Or follow our Facebook page:-

What is the difference between your London intensive and London weekly courses?

They’re essentially the same course. They’re both introductory courses and cover more or less the same material in the same amount of time (10 x 2.5 hours sessions). The intensive courses generally attract students who are not based in London, so for whom weekly attendance would be impractical/impossible. We often get students from overseas, or from the UK provinces attending the intensives, but they’re open to London based students too, for whom a week’s intensive would suit their work pattern better.

I was wondering how much of the introductory course is hands on, and how much is theory?

The course is primarily practical in nature. There are two contextual slide lectures, one in Week 1 and another in Week 6 (of about 30 minutes maximum each), but the rest of the time you will be drawing geometric and biomorphic pattern, variously by hand and with compass and straight edge. The final 3 weeks culminates with creating a work in a traditional medium. The breakdown is roughly:-

50% geometric design and geometric drawing with compass and ruler.

20% biomorphic design and free-hand biomorphic drawing.

30% craft practice in a traditional medium.

What date is the cut off for registration this course?

Participants can sign up at anytime before the start date. All courses and study trips fill on a first come first serve basis. Study trip are usually fully booked a couple of month in advance, but its always worth check with us.

What can I do after the Introductory course?

We have a range of follow-on courses, which usually have a regional theme, or tackle more complex material: Persian Patterns, Moorish Patterns, Mamluk Patterns, Creative Design. The range on offer will be expanded in the future. The courses typically take place on Saturday afternoons.

Do you cover the same material on the London courses as you do on the study tours?

No, the study tours are based upon patterns associated with the specific region, or city we are visiting. They incorporate input from local specialists: historical guides, craftsmen/women. The tours represent an opportunity for cultural immersion and for many students they offer a form of personal pilgrimage.

What are the opportunities for artists skilled in Islamic Art?

There is a burgeoning interest in contemporary Islamic Art. The Art of Islamic Pattern tutors and several other colleagues find an increasing number of opportunities to exhibit work in the UK and abroad. There are also increasingly opportunities in the field of education (at all levels), as it is a specialist field in which not many people have good knowledge and skills. There are opportunities for those wishing to seek them out.

Am I too old to attend the course, or study tours?

There is no age-limit on those attending our courses. We have students from across the whole age range.

Do you offer classes in schools?

Yes, we have considerable experience of teaching in schools and all of our materials can be tailored to themes within the National Curriculum. Do feel free to call to discuss and do have a look through the galleries on the website for ideas:-

Are any of your courses female only?

No, but the majority of students are female. The classes are mixed and no one is excluded on the basis of race or gender.

Do you offer concessions for students?

Full-time students receive a reduction of 15-20% depending upon the course/study trip. Please ask for details.

When are upcoming course dates published?

Courses and study trip dates are usually published at least 4-6 months in advance. If you request, your details are added to our database and when our schedule gets updated you will receive information about the latest upcoming course dates.

I don’t live in the UK, do you offer any on-line courses?

We don’t have any on-line courses at the moment. We would like to offer them in the future, but that is some way down the line unfortunately.

In the past we have had students from overseas visit London for our short intensive 5-day courses. We appreciate that this isn’t a practical option for everyone. These usually run in April and August each year, details on the website:-

I am planning a whole school multicultural/multi-faith enrichment week with a difference! I have seen your Islamic art workshops and would like further details on costings and coverage.

This is the kind of thing we’ve done in past, although we tend to tailor things to each event. It all depends on ages, class sizes, the particular themes you wish to cover, and the school budget.

Our basic fee is £350 per person per day (half-day minimum of £200) and we would normally send a team of between 1 and 4 persons depending upon how many pupils and groups we would be required to teach.

I have absolutely no artistic skills, I work as a maths teacher so can handle using a compass, ruler, etc for the most basic drawings … How accessible is the course to people with limited skills and are there any assistants available throughout the lesson?

The course is at an introductory level and assumes no previous knowledge. We attract students from a range of backgrounds, some artists, but mostly from non-artistic fields. We’ve had several maths teachers over the years, who generally take to this material particularly well and find inspiration for their own classes. We don’t normally have assistants on the London courses, as the group sizes are rather small, usually just 10 or so students, so there is plenty of opportunity for individual assistance. On the study trips, we always have at least one assistant in the room, as the group sizes are larger (18-20 persons).

I am a graphic designer with almost 12 yrs experience. I already know the basics of Islamic pattern design and was involved in few related projects recently in my career path. I am mostly interested in developing my skills in this field and maybe venture into designing more complicated patterns and experiment that in different materials like metals or wood or others.

We have had experienced artists and designers who have gained benefit from introductory course. What you will gain is experience of constructing patterns from first principles, using compass and straight edge and freehand biomorphic (Arabesque) drawing. Both of these are important skills in working creatively with Islamic patterns. You will also gain an insight into the generative principles underlying geometric and (Arabesque) patterns and some understanding of how to create more complex designs. The course also incorporates a practical element. You will create at least one piece of work to take away in a traditional medium. On the upcoming presentation, this will be a small set of hand made ceramic tiles, and time-permitting, there will be the opportunity to explore one other traditional technique.

I live in the US and am thus unable to attend the classes in London. Can you still participate in these trips if you don’t take the class prior to attending?

The study tours are open to everyone, both experienced and novice. They’re designed to be mixed level and there’s always a great atmosphere. Regarding the London courses, we regularly have US/Canadian students attend the 5 day intensive courses and we can advise on accommodation etc.