Thuluth Script Calligraphy at Fordham

ThuluthCalligraphy at Fordham


ARABIC SCRIPT has a long history of development into a highly refined art form. Classes with Elinor Aishah Holland offer participants a nurturing context to better understand Arabic script calligraphy’s rich cultural context as well as the techniques involved in this classical art form. Arabic written in the Thuluth style is luscious, and extremely appealing to the eyes. It is a well-developed art in many parts of the world where it can be studied over a period of many years. But while it may seem too exotic or unapproachable to us here in America, it can be learned and appreciated, letter by letter. And each letter of a word has potential as a design in and of itself. After immersing ourselves in some beautiful visual masterpieces both historical and modern, we will introduce the tools and methods for writing the letters and then the letters themselves, with individual attention for all students. New and continuing students are welcome!

Elinor Aishah Holland received her Ijaza, or diploma in two forms of Arabic script in 2013 from Master Calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya. Holland is also a calligrapher of Latin script and a regular teacher for the NY Society of Scribes. Holland has taught at The 92nd Street Y, Long Island University, NY Botanical Garden, The Rudolph Steiner High School and many workshops at colleges, art centers and museums in the US and Canada including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian Institute, The Detroit Institute of Art, Zaytuna College and at the Confluence Conference in 2004. She has exhibited in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Algiers, and around the USA.


October 3, October 17, October 24, November 7, November 21

Saturdays 11 am – 4pm

All classes are held at:

Lincoln Center Campus
113 West 60th Street, NYC
Visual Arts Complex
Room SL24E

Individual classes: $90
Material fee: $20

Payable to the instructor in class.
Pre-registration required.

NOTE: There is a special discount for Fordham students and faculty.

Sponsored by the Theatre and Visual Arts Department | Fordham University

Arabic Script Calligraphy Course by Elinor Aishah Holland

The Society of Scribes in New York City is holding a class in Arabic Script Calligraphy this spring. To register, visit

Course details:
March 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17
9:30 am – 3:30 pm
$350 Members / $390 Non-members
Skill Level: This course can be taken by beginners or intermediates, people familiar with the Arabic language and those unfamiliar. For more information, e-mail:

Arabic script has a long history and has developed into a highly refined artform. This course is aimed at anyone who is interested in dipping their toe into a vast ocean. We will by no means do more than begin the journey but we will do so in the classical method. Beginning with our eyes, we will view slides of fine samples of work. Using traditional tools we will begin the study of letterforms in Thuluth. Pens and paper will be available for purchase from the instructor. We will introduce techniques for cutting and trimming reed or bamboo pens. The letters are taught first as independent forms, then in connecting combinations. These lessons will be demonstrated and practiced in class and as homework. We will also work on a sentence to understand principals of phrasing and spacing.

Our emphasis will be on developing our use of the pen and ink on paper, to develop flow, followed by an understanding of the letterforms. Of course we will spend time viewing masterpieces of calligraphy throughout each class. We do not anticipate producing finished pieces in this class, but rather to work toward that goal in the future. The joy of being a student will be our inspiration.

Higgins ink,
small (thin) bamboo brush (to be cut into a pen),
soft cushion as a writing surface (leather, packing sheets, large magazine),
pen knife (email instructor for info),
a small, wide mouth jar (meat baby food jars are perfect),
a soft pencil,
ruler, and lots of patience.

Paper and reeds for pens will be available for sale by the instructor for $6 – $12.

E A Holland is a freelance calligrapher and mother living in Rockland County NY. Although she specializes in Arabic calligraphy her work includes a wide range of subjects and styles, from envelopes to advertising, copperplate to brush. Elinor has taught adults and children calligraphy for the past 15 years.

All classes and workshops, except where indicated, are held at :

School of Visual Arts (SVA) Annex
214 East 21st Street, Manhattan
(between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)

By the Pen: an Islamic Calligraphy Workshop

I’m excited to announce the upcoming workshop By the Pen: An Introduction to Calligraphy in the Islamic Tradition. This hands-on weekend will allow both beginning and advanced students in Islamic calligraphy to hone their skills and better understand the rich cultural context of this art form. The workshop will be held June 18-20 (2010) at a beautiful retreat center in Stony Point, NY, and taught by Elinor Aishah Holland. Ms. Holland was instrumental in the creation of this website, and her calligraphy is featured both in the Calligraphy Qalam logo, and in the videos throughout the site. Watch this interview to learn more about her own interest and background in Islamic calligraphy, and a bit about her teaching philosophy.

One of the issues those of us who live in the United States and are interested in Arabic script calligraphy constantly encounter is the lack of qualified teachers. Workshops like these offer students of calligraphy the unique chance to pack in several in-depth lessons over the course of an intensive weekend. I am planning to attend this workshop, and I hope to see many of you there!

Below is an embedded pdf with further details about the workshop (click on it to view the pdf full-screen, or download the pdf). To register, visit the Stony Point Center’s website.

Leeds University Calligraphy Society

I recently found out about the Leeds University Calligraphy Society, a university society aimed at introducing people to calligraphy—with a particular emphasis on Arabic calligraphy. The society holds calligraphy classes at the University of Leeds every Wednesday evening. They have lessons in Thuluth for beginners and intermediate students. Here is a link to class details:

If you know of a class or course in Arabic script calligraphy near you, please send me an e-mail! I’ve published a list of the classes that I know about here: