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Old 08-12-2015, 03:40 PM   #1
A.T. Hagan
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Default Unfolding The History Of Napkin Art


In 16th century Italy, the nobility began decorating their tables
with "triumphs" made entirely from folded napkins. The art form
had pretty much died out by the time artist Joan Sallas began
studying centuries-old illustrations and taught himself how to
recreate them. Photo from The Beauty of the Fold: A Conversation
With Joan Sallas.
Courtesy of Charlotte Birnbaum/Sternberg Press

Napkins today are mundane and practical, made from paper or cheap factory cloth and folded, if at all, hastily into a rectangle. But in the past, napkins weren't just for wiping hands or protecting clothing — they were works of art.

Charlotte Birnbaum, who along with folding artist Joan Sallas co-created a history of napkin art in the book The Beauty of the Fold, says the change from "folded cloth to folded art" occurred in 16th century Florence, Italy. It had become fashionable for the wealthy to wear voluminous clothing and ballooned sleeves.
The rest at NPR.
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