Friday 23 August 2013

Joan Sallas & The Gentle Art Of Napkin Folding

Possibly like me you may have dabbled in a bit of napkin folding yourself for that special dinner party. I learnt to make napkin waterlilies as a child and somehow never quite forgot though the practice is considered a bit infra dig these days. But while I was at Waddesdon admiring the Sacred Stitches exhibition there a little while ago, I did also take some pictures of the virtuoso napkin folding created by Joan Sallas - a Catalan artist, who by the way is male.

And here you can see the heraldic beasts he wrought from - yes - humble table linen. This would certainly be a conversation piece if not a conversation stopper at any party I have been to lately.

I was surprised to learn that napkin folding goes back around 500 years to when starched linen napkins were artfully folded in the courts of North Italy. Much that we know of historic napkin folding derives from Li Tre Trattati by Mattia Giegher published in 1629. Matthias Jager was originally from Bavaria and taught his art at the ancient University of Padua.

This was not simply a case of making lotus or other flower shapes as you can see from his illustrations above!

However, there were examples for the more napkin-folding-challenged to admire and copy and so I thought you might like to take inspiration for these more homely exhibits. Happy Folding!

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