Count Art II: Early Intervention with Art

With calligraphy and marbling we aim to attract young people in Tower Hamlets to motivate them to achieve goals in their lives and to be more engaged within the community.

Count Art II: Early Intervention with Art

Our project involves inspiring and motivating young girls who are at risk of being drawn to violent and disruptive behaviour as well as countering any encouragements filtrated by negative thoughts, by setting up workshops, to allow young people to get engaged with arts. We aim to do this through a form of art therapy, marbling and calligraphy in particular and are in contact with renowned artists in these fields.

Count Art II: Early Intervention with Art has been successfully completed in collaboration with Big Give and Docklands Community Organization based in Tower Hamlets. The project spanned three weeks with 40 girls taking part. After the workshop, an exhibition took place that showcased the pieces of art created during the project by the participants. Parents and guardians also participated in the exhibition and gave favourable feedback. Finally, a certificate of participation was given to each participant, and the girls prepared a thank-you card using water marbling and calligraphy techniques they learned, which they gave as a present to the instructors.  All participants gave positive feedback regarding the fun learning experience and the enjoyable atmosphere of the Count Art II project.

Philosophy of the project

Count Art II aims to reach out to young people who are studying GCSE’s and A Level’s in East London that need an outlet from their busy and stressed filled lives and come together in after school workshops to let go a little, have fun and also learn a new skill in the process. These workshops will offer a generation of girls who are taught to keep to themselves, to be more engaging with their community through expressing themselves and their cognitive thinking processes through Islamic art. We believe that access to arts can have a lasting and transformational effect on communities and many aspects of people’s lives. With Marbling and Calligraphy, we aim to attract young people with an interest in art to help them gain a new insight into Islamic art and culture and be surrounded by a community of enthusiastic young volunteers and expert artists.

Project Activities

The immersive 3-week project will run throughout summer semester running weekly workshops from 26th June to 11th July 2019. The programme will comprise of two types of Islamic art forms, namely Calligraphy and Marbling.

What is Marbling?

Marbling (Ebru) is a traditional Turkish art which produces patterns similar to smooth marble and other kinds of stone on to paper by spreading paints that do not dissolve in water with specific brushes on dense water that is thickened by a type of gum called tragacanth.

It isn’t known exactly when or where the art of marbling started but the early examples are from the 16th century in the Ottoman-Turkish era and spread from the East to the West. Like all the classical Ottoman arts, the art of marbling was one which was not taught by writing or explanation, but rather was a branch of art in which students were trained by means of the “master/apprentice” system.

The basic technique which, throughout all its historical variations, has never changed. The process is always the same: paints are made to float on the surface of water where they are manipulated into designs and then transferred to a sheet of paper. In order to make this happen, the artist must learn to control the behaviour of the paint.

What is Calligraphy? 

Calligraphy is more than ‘beautiful handwriting’ or ‘ornate lettering techniques.’ Calligraphy is the art of forming beautiful symbols by hand and arranging them well. It’s a set of skills and techniques for positioning and inscribing words so they show integrity, harmony, some sort of ancestry, rhythm and creative fire.

In the Middle East and East Asia, calligraphy by long and exacting tradition is considered a major art, equal to sculpture or painting. Calligraphy is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad tip instrument, brush, among other writing instruments. A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as, “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skilful manner”.


Docklands Community Organisation Cultural & Educational Centre

Address: 111-113 Mellish St, Isle of Dogs, London E14 8PL