One day, while I was working at Chatelaine last summer, my boss asked me to craft a round paper ornament. She was inspired by a craft she saw at an event hosted by Michael’s (the craft store) in NYC. She gave me the how-to for this paper ornament and I set off to work.
The round paper ornament was really easy to make and took less than 20 mins. It was a slow day at the office and I had time on my hands so I asked my boss if I should experiment with these ornaments – you know, create new forms. She was all for it and so I spent the rest of the day just experimenting.
I got really into it and most of the new “ornaments” that I created were more ethnically inspired lanterns than anything else. The Editor-in-Chief loved them. In the end, she chose a classic rectangular shape to be featured in the magazine, probably because it was one of the few that actually still looked like an ornament. (Remember this?)
I guess a bit of who you are seeps into everything you create. That probably explains how I derived a Moroccan inspired shape from a round Christmas ornament (not that I’m Moroccan or anything.)
So, since these lanterns are very “Moroccan” and all, I think they would make an adorable decoration for Ramadan. They’re really easy to make so you can make a bunch and then string them on a piece of ribbon to create a decorative garland to hang in your home.
To make these lanterns, all you have to do is…
2. Leaving an inch on the left side (that will be the top of our lantern), accordion fold the strips every 1/2″. To help yourself out, you can use a ruler to mark where to fold. It’s important that the folds of all the strips line up (more or less) to get a clean looking lantern.
3. Hole punch both ends of the strips and stack the strips on top of each other.
4. Take a piece of ribbon and fold it in half so it makes a loop on one end. String this “loop side” through the “top end” of your strips (remember the top end is where we left that extra inch before beginning our accordion fold.)
5. String the ribbon through the other end of the strips as well and tie knots on both ends. Fan out the strips and you’re done! You’ll need to adjust the top/bottom of your lanterns with your fingers a bit to create a three dimensional 8-pointed star shape that you’re happy with.
Speaking of 8 pointed stars, I read the most interesting piece about why 8 pointed stars were so common in Islamic art and architecture. It’s a pretty mystical explanation but I find it fascinating.
Emma Clark in her book, The Art of the Islamic Garden, explains that when Prophet Muhammad embarked on his night journey he saw 8 angels flanking the Throne of Allah. She cites the Quran as well, which also states that on the Day of Judgement, 8 angels will be on the sides of the Throne (69:17). So because of these descriptions, Ibn Arabi drew an eight pointed star to represent Allah’s Throne in his cosmological diagram, “Plain of Assembly.”
So there we have it – one reason as to why 8 pointed stars were so popular in Islamic art and architecture.
Symbolism at its best!