To celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to our nation’s capital, the National Building Museum commissioned artist and paper engineer Carol Barton to design do-it-yourself pop-ups that kids (and adults) could make at the event this past weekend. A pop-up Japanese Tea House and a pop-up of the Miajima Torii Gate were among the projects. Both were given out free to the crowd, along with instructions on how to cut out and assemble them. Volunteers helped with the assembly process, and everyone seemed pleased with their take-home pop-up souvenirs.
To make your own Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival pop-ups, download the designs and directions from www.cherryblossompopup.com, print them onto card stock paper and glue them together. The trees have already lost their blossom due to this year’s early spring, but you’ll have the pop-ups to remember them by.
Torn paper often finds its way into the recycling bin (we hope). But Australian sculptor Anna-Wili Highfield uses it in another way by molding paper into her amazing bird and animal sculptures. Loosely painted, the paper pieces are sewn together into finished animal forms. Her sculptures have a light and airy feel that transcends the “deadness” of traditional taxidermy and evokes the thrill of watching creatures in motion. Anna-Wili worked as a scenic artist at the Opera Australia in Sydney before taking off in her sculptural career. To see more of her work, visit her web site, http://www.annawilihighfield.com/cgi1/index_Final.cgi
A sequel to the popular “Green Porno” series of videos about animal and insect reproduction, the “Seduce Me” videos expand on the playful combination of paper props, unique musical scores and amazing costumes worn by Isabella Rossellini to describe how creatures attract each other for the purpose of procreation. A combination of hard science, art, sound and poetry, the videos make learning about the natural sciences fun. Visit the web site to see all the videos along with behind-the-scenes views of the creators and the making of the props. http://www.sundancechannel.com/greenporno/
The web site for this Estonian Paper Museum looks intriguing. We ran it through Google’s translator (which did a fairly good job) and came up with the following bits of information. The museum was established recently in the city of Tartu, Estonia’s second largest city. Tartu (among other cities) claims to be the birthplace of paper. We’ll sidestep that debate here because we’re more interested in the museum itself, which appears to be doing some innovative work in highlighting the merits of paper, it’s use in 3-dimensional design, and modern innovations in its manufacture. Paberimuuseum offers a range of classes and exhibitions. If anyone is planning to visit Tartu and stops at the museum, we’d love to get your feedback. Otherwise, you can visit virtually by clicking here.
We were first drawn to Isaac Salazar’s work with this intriguing photo in which message and medium are so wonderfully intertwined, although the irony, of course, is that folding the book’s pages makes it unreadable as is. Salazar has no training as an artist, but found his creative calling through a craft project in which old Reader’s Digest magazines were folded into Christmas trees. He wondered if other forms were possible, and obviously they are. Salazar leads a double life: an accountant by day and origami/altered book artist in his free time. Here’s a link to his Flickr bookworks gallery.
Thanks to the Typestack blog for bringing these works to our attention. If you are a typophile, check out their site: www.typestack.com
Here’s another great video featuring a pop-up book format. Superstitious by Irish moving image designer David Magnier was done as part of his masters degree program at Kingston University in London. A lonely protagonist who’s life is bound by superstitions keeps a tally of his good luck/bad luck encounters. But his fears are dispelled with the appearance of a mysterious visitor. Watch the video for the denouement.
Photo by Brittany Thomason
Some of you might have heard the NPR Morning Edition radio segment on Veronika Scott, the junior design student at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies who developed a coat out of Tyvek and wool that converts to a sleeping bag for the homeless. It’s such a great combination of creativity, social activism, and youthful energy that we wanted to pass the story along.
Dupont’s tyvek material, discovered in 1955 by researcher Jim White, is extremely strong, tear-resistent, and serves as a vapor barrier in the building trades. Made of polyethylene fiber, it serves as the exterior layer of the Element Survival Coat to help protect the wearer from cold and dampness. Wool cloth has been donated to the project by Detroit-based Carhartt, a work clothing manufacturer. The homeless are being hired by the Empowerment Project to make the coats. They’re paid a minimum wage at the same time they’re learning valuable skills. To learn more about Veronika’s “Element Survival Coat, go to her Empowerment Plan web site.
Photo by Brittany Thomason