Monday, October 13, 2008

Archive: An Elegant Art

Le nénuphar (the waterlily)

Le porte-cadeau (the gift)

Le bouton de rose (the rosebud)

L'épi (the trumpet)

Le livre (the book)

The art of folding napkins dates back to the sixteenth century, but, unlike their humble usage today as cutlery rests and clothing protectors, the early napkins were viewed as a refined art form in their own right. These boasted elaborate forms ranging from complex pleated versions (such as the ones shown here) to fanciful animals and architectural follies. Tucked inside the napkin, the dinner guest might discover a small gift, a warmed bread roll, or — centuries ago — live birds that flew out singing upon opening. The elegant cotton damask creations above were folded by Didier Boursin, author of a book on this subject. The speciality breads were from the Paris bakery Poilâne. Scanned from a mid-90s edition of Marie Claire Maison. (Photography by Patrice Pascal)


It's Thanksgiving Day here in Canada — warm wishes to you and yours! This is an illustration of mine that's running in today's (print version) Globe and Mail, in the Facts and Arguments section. It accompanies a story of a woman who triumphs over divorce, single parenthood, cooking inexperience and overflowing plumbing to finally produce a magnificent Thanksgiving dinner for her family.

Update: Here's the archived link to the Globe and Mail Thanksgiving story.
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