Party Trick: Sneak Preview

This collapsible invitation began by thinking of ways to abstractly represent the decorative toothpicks often found in h'ors d'oeuvres at events. Invitees can unfold the invitation and follow the instructions to pull out their phone flashlight and hold it against the exterior. The result is a microcosm of party lights on a dance floor.

A Toothpick: Origin Story

Part 1: Mark-making

I started this project by trying to represent or abstract the toothpicks in as many ways that I could think of.

Out of my experiments, I was most inspired by the effect of light on the cellophane wrapping and the shape of the toothpicks when haphazardly piled together.

A blurry and saturated gradient of pink, light blue, and yellow.

Part 2: What does a toothpick represent?

At first, I pursued the up and down motion of the toothpick when people bring h'ors d'oeuvres to their mouths and return only the toothpick. I tried to think of ways to isolate that motion with paper.

Sketches of paper structures that are meant to show up and down movement. The first shows a paper staircase against a paper wall. The other sketches show paper cubes with thin pathways cut out of them, which act like pathways for a toothpick when inserted.

I then thought about the party aspect of toothpicks, and tried to make a pop-up invitation that would use the silhouette of the piled up toothpicks.

A white pop up paper card that contains a compressed piece of folded blue paper, which unfolds into the shape of a bird when the card is opened.
A pop up paper card where the spine of the card pops up when open to reveal a snowflake-like shape.

Finally, I explored what I could do with light and cellophane. I had a few ideas for DIY paper lamps.

Sketches of paper lamps made of a paper cube with holes cut out of each side. The holes are overlaid with coloured tissue paper and the light source is placed inside.
Sketches of a tall lamp made out of a cardstock tube, where snowflake-like shapes are cut out of the sides and overlaid with coloured tissue paper. The sketch shows the example of a flashlight as the light source illuminating the lamp from inside the paper tube.

Part 3: Synthesis

When testing the lamp idea, I had the realization that they resembled strobe lights if the light source was moving. I combined this with the invitation idea and also incorporated the toothpick silhouettes to represent dancing figures.

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© Benya Sutyanyong 2021