Wednesday, 30 September 2015 | Admin
I had my name written in Arabic calligraphy by a street calligrapher in Granada, Spain. It cost just 2 euros and was fascinating to watch. The calligrapher had a sponge in his ink pot and he checked that it was well and truly soaked with indian ink. Satisfied, he contemplated his tools - wide metal nibs on those flamboyant quill feathers or a reed pen.
He chose the widest of his metal nibs, dipped it in the rich black ink and started writing from right to left, dipping his nib frequently in the ink.
Once the name was complete, he inspected his work critically. He wiped away a few spots of splashed ink with a rag and used a narrower metal nib to neaten some of the strokes of ink where they hadn't covered the paper completely first time round. My name didn't quite fill the paper completely to the right.
The calligrapher added decorative swirls and groups of three diamond shapes to the right of my name and above and below. "There" he said, with a flourish. "Your name in the true Arabic writing of the Alhambra!"
He warned me the ink would take 5 minutes to dry in the patches where it was still thick and wet. But I took care to let it dry for at least 10 minutes, gingerly touching the thick pools of impenetrable black ink to make sure my scroll was dry before rolling it up and securing with a prosaic elastic band.