About Me

About Me

As a very young person, I would hand write short stories on lined paper, then sew the pages together to form a book. I would practise for hours beautiful Arabic calligraphy, making swirly black designs with a special pen. My ambition, as an 8-year-old, was to become a writer and a poet.

Summer in my native Baghdad was always unbearably hot. Our skin would tingle and itch. The earth would become parched, cracked and arid; the hot wind would usher in waves of fine sand that covered everything it touched, making the landscape monochrome and ghost-like.

To escape the heat at night, we slept on the roof of our house. Water, to slake our night-time thirst, was kept up on the roof in a long-necked, fat-bellied earthenware pot. The pot was unglazed to allow the water to stay cool. It was placed on a table next to five earthenware goblets from which we would drink. I still remember the rough feel of the unglazed cup against my lips as I drank the cool water.

Unexpected events changed the course of my family’s life, and we left Baghdad. When we came to the UK, I was twelve years old. I was faced with a new language, a new set of rules, a new world. It was exciting but a culture shock all the same.

To escape the heat at night, we slept on the roof of our house. Water, to slake our night-time thirst, was kept up on the roof in a long-necked, fat-bellied earthenware pot. The pot was unglazed to allow the water to stay cool. It was placed on a table next to five earthenware goblets from which we would drink. I still remember the rough feel of the unglazed cup against my lips as I drank the cool water.

Unexpected events changed the course of my family’s life, and we left Baghdad. When we came to the UK, I was twelve years old. I was faced with a new language, a new set of rules, a new world. It was exciting but a culture shock all the same.

Unexpected events changed the course of my family’s life, and we left Baghdad. When we came to the UK, I was twelve years old. I was faced with a new language, a new set of rules, a new world. It was exciting but a culture shock all the same.

Over the years, my memories of Baghdad faded into the background. I stopped writing short stories. I stopped drawing my calligraphy. And I began to paint. This led me, later on, to art school. I studied painting at Byam Shaw and took a Masters in graphic design at the Central School in London.

I loved all aspects of design, especially typography and calligraphy. I worked as a designer for many years, first in advertising and then as a freelance designer for prestigious accounts such as the Serpentine Gallery until, finally, I set up my own design company, Les Editions BlaBla, specialising in stationary, greeting cards and other products for the gift market.

Over the years, my memories of Baghdad faded into the background. I stopped writing short stories. I stopped drawing my calligraphy. And I began to paint. This led me, later on, to art school. I studied painting at Byam Shaw and took a Masters in graphic design at the Central School in London.

I loved all aspects of design, especially typography and calligraphy. I worked as a designer for many years, first in advertising and then as a freelance designer for prestigious accounts such as the Serpentine Gallery until, finally, I set up my own design company, Les Editions BlaBla, specialising in stationery, greeting cards and other products for the gift market.

One day by chance, I met a potter and discovered clay. My early fascination with calligraphy had led me to painting, and now childhood memories of fat-bellied earthenware pots informed my first encounter with clay. Touching this malleable, sensual material was a revelation. A love at first touch. I stopped my design work and immersed myself in the world of clay.

Today I paint and make pots. I hand-build different types of vessels. Very few are functional. Most cannot store water because, unlike the unglazed earthenware vessel of my childhood, they are designed with holes and open cracks. In my paintings, I explore landscapes combined with the written word. My work in clay and my work in paint inform and enrich one another.

One day by chance, I met a potter and discovered clay. My early fascination with calligraphy had led me to painting, and now childhood memories of fat-bellied earthenware pots informed my first encounter with clay. Touching this malleable, sensual material was a revelation. A love at first touch. I stopped my design work and immersed myself in the world of clay.

Today I paint and make pots. I hand-build different types of vessels. Very few are functional. Most cannot store water because, unlike the unglazed earthenware vessel of my childhood, they are designed with holes and open cracks. In my paintings, I explore landscapes combined with the written word. My work in clay and my work in paint inform and enrich one another.

I am a member of Society of Designer Craftsmen and have exhibited my work for many years. Please click on the button to see the more recent exhibitions.

Flavours of Babylon – A Family Cookbook

Calligraphy led to painting, and clay to making pots and bowls, which, for me, speak of nourishment and plenitude – in turn an association that draws the mind to food. This became the next step of expression for me ‘I wrote a book entitled Flavours of Babylon, exploring, sharing and celebrating the flavours and recipes of my Baghdadi heritage.

As a passionate cook, I resolved to put down my favourite family recipes and some dishes of my own creation in book form. The first edition of Flavours of Babylon was published in 2011 and the Second Edition in 2014. As a result, I began giving demonstrations at food festivals, bookshops and private homes.

For me, food is more than just nourishment and recipes, it is also a language and an identity. Not only does the food we eat define us, it also tells us about our climate, our soil, what grows in our land and what does not grow. In short, it recounts our history as well as our influences and our interaction with the world around us.

Flavours of Babylon

– A Family Cookbook

Calligraphy led to painting, and clay to making pots and bowls, which, for me, speak of nourishment and plenitude – in turn an association that draws the mind to food. This became the next step of expression for me, I wrote a book entitled Flavours of Babylon, exploring, sharing and celebrating the flavours and recipes of my Baghdadi heritage.

As a passionate cook, I resolved to put down my favourite family recipes and some dishes of my own creation in book form. The first edition of Flavours of Babylon was published in 2011 and the Second Edition in 2014. As a result, I began giving demonstrations at food festivals, bookshops and private homes.

For me, food is more than just nourishment and recipes, it is also a language and an identity. Not only does the food we eat define us, it also tells us about our climate, our soil, what grows in our land and what does not grow. In short, it recounts our history as well as our influences and our interaction with the world around us.

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