The beautiful Guadameci panels (see this previous post) created by Jorge Centofanti set an entire process of research in related fields into motion. In his latest exhibition “Illuminations” in Revel, near Carcassonne (France), one can view these highly impressive panels, some of which address Calligraphy. A truly fascinating subject, Calligraphy has held many artists captive and cast a spell on their creative work. Jorge Centofanti created this panel of the Arabic Letter Alif.


From Jorge Centofanti’s panels I took to wandering a meandering path through literature, rereading my copy of “The Calligrapher’s Secret” by Rafik Schami and very well translated into English by Anthea Bell. This prolific author of many books is a Syrian-German writer and every one of his many books are well worth reading, highly entertaining and enriching. 

From Rafik Schami I took to surfing the net for more information on Arabic writings and cane across the latest book by Tahir Shah, a prolific writer of stories and traveler across many countries and continents. Now living in Casablanca ( Morocco) his fifteen books tell the amazing tales of his travels, and his latest book Timbuctoo will allow the reader to submerge in the incredible account of a young seaman who reached Timbuctoo as the first Christian, was held captive in this fabled city of gold and later reached England, poor and destitute, where he lived to tell his story. The gold of ancient times in fact is the amazing treasure of Sufi history, literature and architecture, the latter two tragically and sadly being destroyed right now. 

Tahir Shah’s book is available as a very affordable E-book and, starting 7 July 2012,  as a beautiful limited edition hardback, with fold-out maps. It is made for book lovers and since the E-book is so affordable I think I will indulge myself and put that precious hardback edition on the very top of my wishlist.

All this talk and public rave about the fabulous Timbuctoo book raised the urge to put the spirit of adventure into a piece of knitting – true to Jane Thornley‘s freerange knitting inspirations. On Ravelry, there are even a few Islamic Motif patterns such as from Chris Laning, who generously provides a lovely pattern pdf and even a chart for a pseudo-arabic calligraphy piece.

True to free-form though, I rather wanted translate the colors of Timbuctoo into a freerange piece. The idea was to use Jane Thornley’s uninhibited and joyful approach to knitting – let your mind, your yarn and your knitting needles tell you the story and it will take you to magical, unexpected places. I am visualising a knit with lace sections, leaving peep-holes to raise curiosity while providing a tempting yet veiled view of what lies beyond…..   Next stage of this project in this blog post.

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