For my first international event of the semester I was lucky enough to get a spot at an Arabic calligraphy class hosted by the university’s Arabic flagship group. I was one of a handful of people there who did not actually speak Arabic, but the class was interesting and informative nonetheless.
Did you know that there are 12 current types of Arabic calligraphy?
Did you know professional calligraphers can spend hours drawing just one character?
Did you know some calligraphers use real reeds as writing utensils?
well, now you do
My favorite aspect of the event was that we got to follow along with our own calligraphy pen and paper. I learned to write a few words in Arabic in a few different calligraphic styles. My favorite styles were the ones that have extra decoration and include all the short vowels. I really like the idea of making writing into a visual art form. I think it’s also a really interesting religious phenomenon that mosques are not allowed to include images of animals and such so they decorate with script instead. I’ve always tied that idea to the reform of the Catholic church and how simple Protestant churches are compared to cathedrals, but it was interesting to get some more insight into the history and techniques of the lettering and script used throughout the Arabic speaking world.
It was a really cool, unique opportunity that I am happy to have had.