The Popular Edge, Pop-Up and Book Arts News

March 27, 2011

Crocheted Coral Reef and Hyperbolic Space

Filed under: art classes, crafts — Tags: , , , — popularkinetics @ 12:30 am

The crocheted coral reef now on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History is an intriguing mix of art, geometry and natural science. It’s the type of project we at Popular Kinetics love because it touches on so many aspects of the visual and scientific world. Mathematicians discovered hyperbolic geometry in the early 19th century—a geometry set on a curved surface as opposed to Euclid’s geometry set on a flat plane. Nature employs hyperbolic forms to expand surface area in plants, such as in the crinkles of lettuces and ruffles of sea kelp, but scientists had no idea how to build a physical model of the formulas until mathematician Daina Taimina realized that crochet can replicate the same forms.

The idea was picked up by the Wertheim sisters, Margaret and Christina, who grew up close to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. While crocheting hyperbolic forms, they noted how their models resembled the corals and sea creatures of the reef, and thus the project was born. The crocheted reef at the Smithsonian is made from a mix of materials, including recycled plastics, beads and cassette tapes, addressing the problem of trash in our oceans. A portion of the reef is white, representing a dead reef.

The exhibit is up until April 24th, so hurry to Washington for a look, or visit the Smithsonian web site for a video about the making of the crocheted reef.

March 16, 2011

Isaac Salazar’s Altered Books

Filed under: artist's books, books, crafts, paper crafts — Tags: , , , — popularkinetics @ 6:19 am

Read, an altered artist book by Isaac Salazar

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

March 4, 2011

Corcoran Class becomes a Pop-Up

Filed under: art classes, artist's books, crafts, how-to books — Tags: , , , — popularkinetics @ 12:20 am

Carol Barton's Sculptural Book Class at the Corcoran College of Art and Design

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.

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