Monthly Archives: August 2011

Eid Mubarak!

It’s officially Eid here in Brunei (and many parts of the world) so I wish you Eid Mubarak! May you have a joyous celebration!
Will resume regular blogging after the celebrations cease ūüėČ

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Technicals – Different Shapes, Simillar Tessellations

There is an article that had been posted before about creating a pattern or tessellation using just one simple prism shape. (click here to go to the article) This article is a continuation of the prior posting.

Following are three different variations of the pattern. They are basically similar in tessellation and repeating pattern, however using different prism shapes produces fairly different results.

This is basically a simple modification of the prism by curving the sides , and the edges transformed from a sharp pointed edge to a single curve on each edge. Even though it is just a simple change, but the overall pattern changes significantly – the negative spaces between the prisms changes into curved stars as opposed to the sharp geometric shapes.

This is an even simpler shape than the prior article’s prism shape. A regular rectangle with soft curved sides are arranged into the same pattern, resulting in negative spaces in the shapes of thick stars with short, blunt points. This shape and pattern is pretty much fitting into a modern decor, perhaps as a modern Islamic inspired pattern.

Another simple modification to the prism with a triangular shape jutting out of the middle of the shape. An easy modification but yet creates a significant change. The negative space created with the shapes resembles four-pointed stars with the points cut. However, with the extra point jutting out, the overall pattern covers a larger space.

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Study – The Significance of Stars in Islamic Art

Oh my goodness I haven’t posted anything for more than two weeks! I guess I was really occupied with things to do during Ramadhan and what’s with irregular working hours¬† I have to put up with….it has been a tiring but pleasant Ramadan so far. So to restart the blog, here is a brand new article for you.

As you may know, if you follow this blog from the start, you would notice that Islamic art such as Zellige or Geometric art features heavily on stars. One must wonder why does Islamic art features stars and star shaped motifs, and why it is almost  a definition of Islamic art itself.

In Islam, Muslims are forbidden of drawing animate beings and objects thus figurative art that features human or animal figures were underdeveloped, for the fear of idolatry. Although in the course of the history of Islam and its empires some exceptions are made for example, in Islamic Persia where miniatures flourished and became a significant part of Islamic art in Persia, as it is already has been before the coming of Islam. To go around this restriction, Muslim artists express their creativity in a different way – they turned to geometric art and specifically those which featured stars.

Following are some theories on why Muslim¬† artists selected star geometric art to convey their creativity¬† –

  1. Representation of Light – In Islam, God has no image ; meaning that unlike other religions such as Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism, Islam does not take any image to represent their God. The only thing that described God in Islam as in imagery is that God is light, as the Al-Quran proclaims- ‚ÄúGod is the light of the heavens and earth‚ÄĚ.¬† Stars produced light in the heavens, so it is not as surprising that Muslims chose stars to represent light to decorate sacred buildings as well as illumination for sacred texts.
  2. Stars are Guides in the Desert – The first Muslims were desert-dwellers and relies on the stars for guidance as in navigation through the deserts or the sea. Besides being the navigational help, stars also play a role in pointing out and deciding the direction of the Qiblah or the direction of the Kaabah, where every Muslims face during their prayers. Thus, stars bears a significance in the early Muslims daily lives and became a part of the Islamic aesthetic.
  3. The Repeating Geometric Patterns are a glimpse into the Spiritual World and Perfection – Geometry has been associated with metaphysical properties long before Islam. For example, the Greeks had contemplated the perfection of Geometry and came to associate it with divine properties. The Muslims, who studied the Greeks mathematical works, amongst other, agreed and integrated Geometric art as a spiritual gate to the divine plane.

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Internet Finds – Naturayarte

It has been a very, very long time since I posted an article under this category. But a few weeks ago, I was browsing through my daily feed of blogs when I see this piece of gem and I can’t help but to promote it to you!

The blog is in Spanish, actually, so it is quite hard to navigate around, though he does provide a translation for some of his texts. This is a direct excerpt from his “About” page –

Naturayarte is an art project that allows my small family and I to live by doing what we love. ¬†I use components from nature that help me complete my ideas surrounding what I consider to be art. I believe that each object in nature and living being has, imprinted in its self, art in its purest form. The colors of a butterfly, mineral glass, a majestic tree, etc., are a form of art that delights the senses, and for me nature is a wonderful way to experience creativity. ¬†There are carvers with their wood, sculptors who labor over a piece of wood, and we artists who use leaves as a medium of artistic impression (something which I find to be new and exciting). ¬†Of course, I don’t want to forget painting, which I find inspiring and educational. ¬†Each time that I have an idea, whatever it is, first I want to put it on paper ‚Ķ and there is where everything starts.

Above these words is a photo of my first four drafts (which is what I’m doing more these days). ¬†Some of these are already sold, but are still part of my work, so I put them here in my “virtual space”.

you can read more of the history as well as the process here

What strikes me the most are his leaf art…very intricate and nicely done – in Islamic geometric and Arabesque designs nevertheless! The level of detail is just amazing, especially designs as complicated as arabesques where there are lots of curves, one single wrong flick of the cutting knife would ruin everything.¬† visit the blog here and feast your eyes…

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Ramadhan Kareem!

As all of the Muslim world is now celebrating the month of Ramadhan, I wish you, my readers, Muslim or not, a very happy Ramadhan….Ramadhan Kareem, Allahu Akram.
Here in Brunei, we are going to start the fasting tomorrow (while many countries in the Islamic world had already started theirs today) so I am looking forward to it. And yes I realized I had been very lazy on the article posting so I will, Insya Allah, try to post some tomorrow since it will be a public holiday, I will have some time.
Let’s observe the sacred month of Ramadhan with a feeling of solemnity, have your fasting with a sense of piety, do good deeds with a heart full of gratitude and lastly please don’t burst your waistline during Iftaar! Happy Ramadhan and happy fasting!

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