Geometric art seems simple, but it has to be done right to be hypnotic. Since each measurement has to be exact, most of the artwork tends to be digital. Despite this challenge, I wanted to create a physical piece by hand to blend the modern and traditional. The inspiration comes from a pair of glass candle holders that look like beautiful 3D stars, yet are used for ancient rituals.
Since I am a novice when it comes to geometric art, I started by watching tutorials. As someone who loves to improvise and draw freeform, it took a lot of practice to create decent 3D shapes and draw in perspective. After doing some research, I came across a shape that consisted of 12 triangles. While the candle holders would make for a beautiful still life painting, this shape was the perfect fit for a bold abstract piece created with serviettes.
When I was younger, my grandmother saved unique serviettes for me until I had a pretty decent collection. My intention was always to create art with them, but I ended up hoarding them instead. I was excited to finally use them, as serviettes were the perfect traditional medium to contrast with the modern 3D shape.
The shape’s illusion of depth was the result of 3 different shades. I had so many serviette combinations that it was difficult to pick the winning 3 patterns. I decided that if the artwork ended looking good, I would create a series of 3 with my favourite serviette trios.
Things did not go smoothly when I finally got started. My first technique was to lightly sketch the individual elements onto the serviettes, and onto the page. Even though the pencil marks were faint, they still ended up showing though. Gluing the serviette directly onto the paper also resulted in another problem. The clear glue was too wet for the delicate napkins, and the pieces that didn’t lose their shape or tear ended up being full of wrinkles once they dried.
Since the initial research was extremely helpful for my process, I took a break and searched for advice from other artists. I discovered the world of Mod Podge, and how to use saran wrap to keep the serviettes smooth.
My second technique was to glue the serviettes onto individual shapes of paper, and then glue the paper onto the page. It was much easier to get the size right for the individual elements, and I could double check everything by fitting the pieces together like a puzzle before gluing them on. This method seemed promising, but the results weren’t great. The paper was far too thick, which made the whole thing look uneven and messy. I also started realizing that a white page was the wrong background, but I had an idea for what might work.
After using up many serviettes on failed attempts, things got better once I got the right glue and used a thinner printing paper for the individual elements. Painting a colourful background would distract from the bold serviette patterns, but instead of a white background I switched to a black canvas panel. While canvas is a classic, the black panel felt more adventurous. The whole piece looked even better once I changed the layout to landscape.
While the original shape was overly complex, at some point I experimented and became obsessed with different types of geometric triangles for the final artwork. They weren’t much easier to recreate out of serviettes, but they looked better as a series.
Geometric Florals is a delicate combination of pink and grey floral patterns. It was extremely tricky to work with the fragile serviettes, especially as the light colours revealed any imperfections. Triangle Garden has bright patterns of flowers, leaves, and grapes. It is very playful, and looks best against the black background. Golden Penrose has golden floral patterns befitting of a luxurious room. The Penrose took several attempts, but ended up being my favourite of the series.
The series is available for sale in the shop.
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