Labyrinth and puzzle games made of ornaments

In this session, you can learn about techniques to transform your drawings into something which is between artwork and game : OrnaMental Maps are going to be transformed into objects that you can use as a puzzle or a labyrinth game or both.

Creation can be conceived as a process of alternating phases of constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing as I mentioned it in “Ornament and Letters”. During the confinement, I have created a large numbers of half-consciously designed ornaments :

Some of them, I have decided to “destroy” and to transform them into reusable games.

Before beginning to draw your ornamental puzzle labyrinth, your have to choose the right size and the right shape corresponding to your substrate.

The fact that I am creating these videos while being confined at home, I am obliged to think more about recycling than usually and to find out how to reuse object I already have at home. It is a rather good thing because constraints are inspiring and inherent to creation. As a matter of fact, they are also necessary to be able to create : if you had infinite possibilities you would not create at all.

I found a 20 cm tall and 20 cm high cheep canvas on which I had already drawn for an other project but finally never used it. So I covered it with black acrylic spray paint, but you can use anything else as substrate even the door of your fridge…

The question is how to fix you puzzle on your substrate. You may choose to stick the pieces with glue on your substrate but in that case, you can solve the puzzle only once.

It can be a nice thing to do if you do this creative game with others within a workshop for instance. In that case the artwork you have been creating together becomes a tangible souvenir of the participative creative process and of those nice moments that you’ve spent together to create an artwork, just like I did with my Tetris puzzle game or with this labyrinth-puzzle which was a little bit hard to solve even though it was me who had drawn it.

By adding a few extra materials you can go a little bit further and create a reusable object.

A covered the back side of the pieces with a layer of monochrome acrylic paint in order to make them thicker and opaque.

I flattened them by putting some weight on it and them.

I covered the pieces with resin epoxy. At this point you have to be careful not to let the resin overflow as the edges of you paper because if you fluff it, it’s hard to replace them. I try not to leave air bubbles in it and I make sure to that the resin floods to the edges everywhere and that there are no wholes left before I put them in the oven for 12 hours. You have different types of resin and some of them take up to 24 hours to get completely dry. To keep it in the oven during this time you can keep it safe from accidents, dust and you also turn it on like to 30 or 40 degrees for a while as heat accelerates the hardening process.

Once the pieces get completely dry, I fixed magnets on the backside of each piece. If you want to try this technique, you’ll have to pay attention that when you cut your ornamental labyrinth into pieces, they should not be smaller than the magnets’ size

Now, you put an other resin layer on the backside around the magnets and let them dry for another 12 hours in the oven.

You will need some extra magnets to fix your magnets on the canvas. And we are done, let’s play !

Of course, this puzzle technique, you can use in many different ways. In this tryptic narrative relating the sad destiny of Syrian monks in a monastery on a lonely mountain, I used this mosaic-puzzle technique in different ways, giving them a narrative value.


This graphic short story was fist published in the Journal of the Arab Institute when it still existed. Later on, while I was thinking about the relationship between narrativity and plasticity, I decided to transform some of these short stories I’d written and drawn for the Journal Qantara into narrative objects. In this tryptic the pieced of irregular shapes are intended to express chaos and disorder by suggesting that something is broken.

In this other piece, representing a kind of biblical joke about the Fall, arranged on a paravane, the mosaic pieces are supposed to express that it is an ancient object as it was found in pieces and reconstructed by archeologists as an apocryphal version of the Biblical story.

Hopefully I’ll still have the occasion to tell you a bit more about these objects when I’m going to talk about the links between ornaments and narration, anyways you can have a closer look at these objects and stories on my personal webpage as well.

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