The line between books, electronics, theater and animation is becoming thinner these days with the rapid development of digital readers. We’ve seen several great apps that attempt to capture the feel of a pop-up book, although the experience is not the same as the actual paper versions. Here’s another approach in which film and pop-ups retain their distinctive qualities, yet the two are joined in a beautiful, surreal way. Created by Davy and Kristen McGuire during an artist’s residency at Kuenstlerdorf Schoeppingen in Germany, this large-scale pop-up book serves as the stage set for a story told through behind-the-page video projections. Inspired by Russian fairytales, the story is of a young boy enticed into the realm of an ice princess who wants him to warm her heart. Click here to watch the video.
To read more about this project, visit their web site at http://www.theicebook.com/Behind_the_Scenes.html
Presenting a pop-up group photo of Carol Barton’s new Sculptural Books class at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. Students in this graduate-level class are exploring various sculptural book forms and creating a series of finished pop-up pages and paper engineered structures. The class already has completed a basic pop-up and two accordion books, one with architectural pop-up additions.
If you’re interested in making your own pop-up photograph, visit the Popular Kinetics web site. And if you’d like to learn more about designing pop-ups, you can check out the how-to workbooks by Ms. Barton, The Pocket Paper Engineer, volumes 1 and 2.
A group of wonderful little videos showing historic pop-up books in action has been posted to YouTube by the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. It’s a movable library in action. Here are the links:
Puss in Boots, 1934, Blue Ribbon Books
Popeye with The Hag of the Seven Seas, 1935, Pleasure Books
Cowboys in Pop-Up Action Pictures, 1951, Publicity Products, London
Tony Sarg’s Treasure Book, 1942 B. F. Jay publishers
Dick Tracy pop-up book by Harold Lentz, 1935, Pleasure Books
Pinnochio pop-up book by Harold Lentz, 1933, Blue Ribbon Books
What a Surprise by Ernest Nister, 1900, E. P. Dutton & Co.
The Jolly Jump-Ups Journey Through Space, 1952, McLoughlin Bros.
To all of you pop-up and paper engineering enthusiasts out there, start planning your trip to Washington, D.C., this year to see the exhibition “Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop & Turn.” It’s a little gem of a show nestled in the Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition Gallery on the lower level of the National Museum of American History. (If you enter the museum on the mall side, take the escalator downstairs.) The exhibit traces the history of the paper-engineered book, from its origins in scientific astronomy texts through current pop-up volumes of fantastic complexity. Some of the books you may have in your own pop-up collection, while others are truly rare and stunningly beautiful. Curated by Stephen Van Dyk of New York’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum library, the show emphasizes the mechanical aspects of pop-up constructions, with great signage and an engaging video of illustrator Chuck Fischer and paper engineer Bruce Foster at work. Plus there’s a wonderful little catalogue of the show available for free at the entrance.
The show runs through October, 2011, so there’s plenty of time to plan your visit. But don’t put it off too long. You’ll probably want to see it more than once!
Chris Northey did this inventive 3-dimensional book animation, called “Start Running Pico,” while living in Japan. It speaks to the dynamic balance between creation and distruction that is part of most mythologies. Watch it here on YouTube.
With Popular Kinetics based in Washington, D.C., national politics is our local news. So we were delighted to find an artist who has used the pop-up format (large-scale, no less) as commentary on the current election campaign. Kenneth Tin-kin Hung has designed two 8x8x8-foot pop-ups, one featuring John McCain and the other Barak Obama. The first is titled Residential Erection: Elephant List, the other Residential Erection: Ultra Donkey. To see more photos, go to the Archives, April-May 2008, at http://www.postmastersart.com
Marion Bataille’s new pop-up alphabet book will be coming out in September, 2008 (Roaring Book Press, ISBN 978-1-5964-3-425-7). It’s full of interesting pop-up maneuvers, tracing the entire alphabet in a dance of movable pages. A great video with a zippy soundtrack previews the upcoming edition.
Ruth Marcus teaches an art class with students who are mostly Sudanese refugees. Recently she did a project where they learned how to make some basic pop-ups. “With only two pieces of paper, some cutting and some glue, the kids can make moving cards of their very own, and color all over them as well.” Visit the kids at Ruth’s blog to see more photos.
Pop-up books have been making appearances in a range of new media situations lately, from ads to TV shows to music videos. Here are a few engaging examples:
Fergie’s new music video “Clumsy” is an amazing combination of pop-ups, animation, and live action. Watch it on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnBcIN1PExk
The Lexus may not be the car for everyone, but you’ve got to appreciate the ingenuity behind their pop-up book commercial. Here’s the link for viewing. And if you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at how the commercial was made, check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyrTCqdVG-8
Finally, The ABC TV show “Pushing Daisies” recently featured a paper engineer character in the episode titled “The Smell of Success.” To view the episode, go to the ABC web site, scroll down to the “Pushing Daisies” series, then find “The Smell of Success” episode. (You might have to load ABC’s player program, which just takes a few minutes.)
Did you ever want to pop up photos of your family, your pet, or your best friends? Now you can, by following the step-by-step instructions we’ve posted on Wikipedia’s How-To Encyclopedia. Just go to http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Pop-up-Photograph.
The Wikihow Encyclopedia covers a wealth of subjects, from crafts, to plumbing, to how to make Eggs Benedict. You can add the “How-To Of The Day” selection to your own Google page by going to www.google.com/ig. And we’re excited that our Pop-Up Photo How-To has been chosen by Google to appear as their feature on September 10th!