Seattle Arab Cultural Camp {Resource}

I have decided to create an Arab Cultural Camp for children in Washington.


After spending years working at various children’s camps around the Puget Sound, starting with StarTalk in Seattle and recently at Girl Scout Rainbow Camp on the Eastside, I wanted to create a camp that would specifically focus on the culture and heritage of the Arab world.


I have used the resources from A Crafty Arab, combined with my eleven year’s experience as an art docent at my daughters’ school, to create eight, fun, educational, camp stations.  These art lesson stations include themes about Arab hospitality, Arab countries, Arab literature, Arab traditional instruments, Arab spices, etc.


It will be held August 6-10 in my artist studio in Redmond and August 20-24 at Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle.


Since this is our inaugural year, the camp will be limited to 15 participants on a first come, first served basis.  I will be taking children enterting grades K-6 from 8:30am to 3:30pm Monday through Friday, with a special outing and gallery show planned for our final day. Camp will be $200 a week to cover materials and visiting artists fees. There will be an open house for interested parents, to check out the studio and experience a sample art stations, on July 28th.


Arab Cultural Camp Sample Day

Our Arab Cultural Camp day will start with a Arabic story time/ song/ reading activity. My studio library includes hundreds of crafts and Arab children books. The children will be able to check out any of the books at the end of the day for enjoyment at home with siblings or other family members.


The children will then be separated for age appropriate stations. These included painting, cooking, calligraphy, dabke, etc before a break for lunch.


The children will enjoy a lunch from home, or a nutritious option can be provided for an additional fee paid that morning, before beginning a second set of stations.


Our day will finish with another story time / song / reading activity before the children are picked up.  If daycare hours are needed, please let me know.


We will have one day when a local Arab musician will come to teach the children how to play the darbuka for an all camp singalong, I am still working the details on which day. Our Friday will also be a little different as it will include an art outing, followed by a gallery show of all the children’s artwork.


Yalla, let’s do this, I’m in!

If you are interested in learning more about the Arab Cultural Camp, either contact me or fill out an Arab Cultural Camp Application.


If this year’s Arab Cultural Camp is a success, I have also submitted a City of Seattle Youth Arts grant to offer it for free to refugee children next year. If you would like to be involved in that endeavor, please let me know as I hope to make it a much larger scale project and will be grateful for a few helping hands.

Teaching Khatam Name Tile Art {Outing}

Today I had the pleasure of teaching Arab art to middle school students at a local school. I wanted to introduce them to the artwork of Iraqi Hassan Mousssady and then have them create khatam name tiles.  A khatam is the Arabic word for eight point star, so their tiles will also have eight points, while using their name in a radial symmetrical pattern.

I started the class by giving the kids a little history of Arab art and how it compares to Middle East/North African (MENA) art vs Islamic art. I showcased the contributions made from the Arab world in architecture, calligraphy, ceramics, fiber arts, metalwork, mosaics, oriental rug and painting.

We spent a little time talking about the khatam mosaic tile, how it is not just exclusive to the MENA region, also highly regarded in Buddhist symbolism. We looked at a few examples of the 8 point star in MENA architecture.

We talked about famous Arab Americas, including local celebrity Seahawk Oday Aboushi, and also talked about Muslim Americans. I quizzed them on Islamic countries worldwide and gave them a crossword puzzle on Arabic words that are in the English language.

I then introduced them to Iraqi calligrapher Hassan Massoudy, born in 1944 and later studied at the Beaux-Art in France. His earlier work was figurative and landscapes before he started concentrating on calligraphy. He loves to collect poems and quotes and carries notebooks to amass them. Once he finds one that speaks to him, he takes his time, dissecting the collection of words and playing around with the composition.  Once he settles on one word in the quote, he enlarges it with beautiful sweeping flows of paint, making it the highlight of the canvas.


I told the students this gives power to the word and we are going to give power to their names.


I showed them how Hassan Massoudy uses an ancient calligraphy practice of moving letters around to make an image. Here is his drawing of a dove, made up of the letters for the Arab word for peace: السلام.


It’s a little hard to see the word because the letters have been manipulated to create the image. Now see if you can see the letters if each one is colored in a different way.

We looked at a few more slides, including one from local hero, Chief Seattle and I pointed out the use of color.  Traditionally, calligraphy is known as a black ink art, but Hassan Massoudy introduced colors.

I explained the khatam name tiles we would be making, and encouraged them to use colors on their letters.

Since we were using their English names, they were allowed to use block letters. The goal is to create 8 points with their letters by moving them around, enlarging them, or finding some creative way to make 8 points.

The final step was adding color to the letters to achieve the look of tile.

We began by folding a 12 x 12 piece of paper into 8 parts and started the process of duplicating their names in each part.


To replicate their names in each section, they each got creative in how their names were reproduced, some used the windows, some used the overhead lights.  I have taught this class to younger students and have taken in carbon paper but I enjoy challenging the older students to be innovative in how they reproduce their name.

I knew that it was a good project, when I also noticed my teaching assistant, provided by the school, was also doing her name on the front door.

The class was three hours long and many were not able to finish. However, this is such a portable project, they simply folded their name tiles into triangles and tucked them into backpacks and pockets, to be pulled out later to finish at their own time.

I enjoyed the students and introducing a new artist to them. If you live in Washington State and would like me to come teach Arab art to your K-12 classroom, please contact me.


Visit these other classroom projects

Startalk 2013 Arabic Camp {Outing}

Search Teaching String Art {Outing} Fall 2017 Women’s Wellness Weekend

Please stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see other classroom projects.

Pins for Puerto Rico at the 2018 Women’s March {Outing}

This morning I participated in the 2018 Women’s March in Seattle.


My daughter and I are going to Puerto Rico and are trying to raise funds to take with us.  We will be working on rebuilding.  We also hope to be able to purchase items from the local economy and donate it to local churches. We will be traveling with a non profit that has contacts with churches and will provide us with their wish lists.


According to the 2010 US Census the population of Puerto Ricans who identified as having Arabic speaking ancestry is approximately 8%, or around seven thousand people.  Our family traveled to this beautiful island a few years ago and enjoyed it’s beaches, the the only tropical rain forest in the United States, the food and especially the hospitality. We have been devastated by the images we witnessed last year after Hurricane Maria and have felt a call to action.


We are trying to raise $400 to buy school supplies and I recently started a funny Kickstarter campaign to try to fund the wish lists.


I also made Women’s March pins and took them to the event this morning in hopes of adding to the fundraiser. I am so happy to report that I sold all the pins that I made and actually went over my goal.

Shukran (Arabic for thank you) Seattle for such a great march and supporting Pins for Puerto Rico.  Below is a photo taken by a crane operator, can you find me and my sign?

If you are local to Seattle and know of any other events where I can sell pins for Puerto Rico, please contact me via my contact form or twitter. If you are from far away and want to support the wish lists, please visit the Kickstarter campaign to help.


Stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinerest to see more posts about outings!