According to the Agence France-Presse, European courts as far back as 1529 relied on the impressive, folded creations to wow guests. But the labor-intensive tradition slowly faded, disappearing completely in the 17th century until Sallas revived it.
Mr Sallas’s only guides are old engravings and documents describing imperial and royal banquets.
Despite his hours of research, Sallas still can’t wrap his head around recreating some of the ancient designs.
“My favourite piece is always the one I haven’t deciphered yet, the one I don’t know how to fold yet,” he told AFP. “It is incredibly exciting for a researcher to investigate how an object was folded: you can sit there for days and nights, until you understand how an object was folded.”
According to the avant-garde napkin folder,there are eight folding techniques – including fans, rolls and lilies – which Mr Sallas used as keys to decode the historic works.
At the end of an exhibition, he dismantles all the napkins and starts anew. “This ephemeral quality is part of life,We are only here for a short time,”he said in a recent interview.
Sallas’s works went on display at the Holburne Museum in Bath, England, at the beginning of February. The exhibition will continue to April.
He now teaches in prisons and schools, believing that folding paper and fabric can be therapeutic.
Napkin art, is certainly a very patient and painstaking art, and Joan Sallas work is simply amazing.
Watch a tutorial video below: