July 25, 2018, by Kathryn McAuley
Persian Geometry Arts Workshop – a celebration of culture
“Artists reach areas far beyond the reach of politicians. Art lifts the spirit and the morale of those who hear it.” – Nelson Mandela
Communicating culture through Persian Geometry Arts
‘Iran Sheen’ is one of the Ingenuity Lab’s longest established and best-loved businesses. Elnaz, the founder, is inspired by her roots and the spirit of Iranian heritage to communicate Iranian culture through art. Her business, selling beautiful jewellery, clothing and homeware, has been trading for some time but recently, for the first time, she ran a workshop focussing on the ancient tradition of Persian Geometry Arts and found there is a great deal of interest in this fascinating artform.
International designer at the Ingenuity Centre
The workshop was run by international designer Ghazaleh Khayat of Sormehdan in New York. Ghazaleh, founder of Geometry Arts, originally studied Chemical Engineering: her younger sister Sepideh studied Architecture and Industrial Design. Between the sisters, they discovered a passion for art and decided to start a business using their combined skills in design, engineering, geometry and art, to form a business. Ghazaleh began the workshop in the Ingenuity Centre at the University of Nottingham by explaining a little of the history and background to this traditional craft. Attendees were then provided with materials to create their own designs in both paper and wood, and guided in the creation of the shapes.
Yoga for the mind!
Elnaz commented: “Everyone that came to the workshop was amazed at the accuracy required and the effort applied to create the designs. However, they also found it quite relaxing – Ghazeleh calls it ‘yoga for the mind’! We were delighted that so many of them wanted to stay longer and it was a great experience to talk about our culture whilst also working with them creatively. It was such a success, we’ve already set the date for the next workshop!”
The Persian Geometry Arts designs, along with Calligraphy and Arabesque shapes, form the foundation of Islamic art and are often built on combinations of repeated squares and circles, which can be overlapped and interlaced to form intricate and complex patterns, including a wide variety of tessellations. These can then in turn make a framework for further embellishments or motifs. These patterns appear in a wide variety of forms in Islamic art including carpets, tilework, plasterwork, leather, glass, wood and metalwork.
Promoting cultural understanding
By showcasing international Iranian designers and the beauty and intricacy of their work, Elnaz aims to promote cultural understanding. Iran Sheen produces authentic, hand-made products through collaboration with contemporary designers, using the finest materials. Elnaz has dynamic growth plans for the future but her focus is always on promoting cultural understanding through her products. Iran Sheen is also working to support the skilled craftsmen who produce their products and is interested in re-investing in Iran by endorsing skills and trades of their partners, and working with local charities.
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