March 25, 2015
March 8, 2015
Our libraries are one of our most valuable resources, centers for education, entertainment, community interaction and outreach. Like many public libraries, Toronto’s library budget has been drastically cut, but citizens are fighting back. They have produced a wonderful little video about the importance of libraries, appropriately in the form of a book with moving parts and pop-ups! Watch it here….
Many videos have used the concept of the pop-up book as a motif for animation, but this video by paper engineer Helen Friel, photographer Chris Turner, and animator Jess Deacon uses an actual custom-made pop-up book as its subject. Done as a two-minute stop-action film, the video traces the path of a single paper water droplet across the book’s pages, from cloud through water pipes and faucets, and back to the earth. Titled Revolution, it was created from over 1,000 separate images and has won several awards for its production.
January 27, 2015
Robots that arrive flat, fold themselves into three dimensions, then walk away–it sounds like the future, but this future is already here in the engineering labs at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The robots are based on folding techniques practiced for centuries by origami artists who create paper sculptures from single pieces of paper. For this robot project, supervised by Sam Felton, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the paper has been lined with Shrinky Dink, a children’s toy plastic that shrinks when heated. Tiny circuits in the flat robot heat and bend the paper into position without the help of human hands. Batteries and a small motor enable the robot to walk, and although these are not currently flat components, eventually two-dimensional versions will be available. Jesse Silverberg, a graduate student in physics at Cornell, says, “Imagine this: A building collapses, and you have a snakelike robot that can go into debris. And as it unfolds, it goes from a soft robot to a rigid barrier that could protect people. It folds one way to crawl into tight spaces and another way to become a protective barrier. It can transform its function on the fly.” To see this robot in action, visit the Bloomberg News article on the subject.
January 1, 2015
We thought this little bird would brighten your holidays with her paper cutting skills. It looks like Bebe is dressing up for a fancy party, adding tail extensions. (Actually this is typical lovebird behavior. The birds gather materials for their nests and carry them tucked in their feathers). Watch her on video here.
December 21, 2014
Paris-based artist/author Julie Stephen Chheng has created this charming five-volume set of little books which sequentially unfold into a full tableau based on specific themes. Each is illustrated by a different artist. My favorite is Le Cinéma because I like the drawings by Serge Bloch of patrons in their movie seats. Other themes are Le Foot (The Rugby Match), La Plage (The Beach), La Fête (The Party, illustrated by Chheng), and Le Voleur (The Thief). To see videos of the illustrations in action, visit Vimeo here.
November 2, 2014
October 30, 2014
This lovely book based on shadow play incorporates delicate paper-cut forms which, when lit from the side, cast shaped shadows onto the facing pages. As a light is moved to various positions, the shadows move, too, interacting with the illustrations to complete them in a wordless dance. Designed by Japanese artists Megumi Kajiwara and Tathuhiko Nijima, the books are made to order by hand. To see the book in action, watch this delightful video.
August 2, 2014
Mindell Dubansky, preservation librarian at the Thomas J. Watson Library in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, has a passion for books that aren’t books — they’re objects shaped like books, which she describes as “blooks.” She’s been collecting these faux tomes for the past twenty years, and was recently featured in the New York Times for her collection in the article Collecting Books that are Just Covers. Her interests range from blooks that are perfume containers, flasks, guns, and radios in disguise, to patents and photos of book-shaped billboards and buildings. Check out her intriguing Blook Blog here.
April 16, 2014
Manu Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford’s School of Medicine, along with his colleagues, has designed what they are calling a “foldscope” or origami paper microscope. The foldscope is printed onto a sheet of card stock with an optical lense, LED light, and watch battery embedded in the layout. Produced for about fifty cents each, the flat printed sheet easily folds into a working three-dimensional microscope with up to 2000 times magnification. This could be a real game-changer in developing countries trying to improve health by identifying disease pathogens. The paper microsope is lightweight and very durable–perfect under harsh field conditions. To learn more, watch Mr. Prakash’s TED talk. Thank you to Leslie Wright and Paulette Rosen for bringing this to our attention!