The Popular Edge, Pop-Up and Book Arts News

October 11, 2013

Mathematical Art Exhibition

Filed under: art classes, paper crafts, paper engineering — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 10:33 pm
Paper Polyhedron by Ulrich MikloweitPaper sculpture by George Hart

Each year a Mathematical Art Exhibition is held in conjunction with the Joint Mathematics Meeting, the largest mathematics meeting in the world. Artworks are judged on the sophistication of the mathematical concepts presented, and on their originality, aesthetic appeal and craftsmanship. This year’s show included several pieces made of paper, based on such mathematical constructs as fractals and spacial geometries. To see the entire exhibition, visit the Mathematical Association of America web site. For anyone interested in entering or visiting the show, the 2014 meeting will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, January 15-18.

September 25, 2013

STEAM teaching through Paper Engineering

Filed under: animation, art classes, children's classes, paper engineering — Tags: , , , — popularkinetics @ 5:19 am

Yoshimoto Video

We at Popular Kinetics are big proponents of Art as a part of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education (the acronym is STEAM). After all, discovery involves the art of observation, and design is integral to the process of making things. In celebrating the new school year, we’re dedicating the next two posts to paper engineering as it relates to math and science. Combining these disciplines makes them less intimidating and much more fun, and can lead to an integrated understanding of surface, form and function. So here’s a clever little stop action video featuring some engaging paper forms.

November 3, 2012

High Heel Race in Washington, DC

Filed under: art classes, performace art — Tags: , — popularkinetics @ 4:23 am

2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC

It may surprise some, but Washington, DC, has a funky, alternative side, and yesterday it was on grand display at the 26th annual Halloween High Heel Race. Guys in drag (and some women in costume, too) vamped their way down 17th Street in the Dupont Circle neighborhood for two hours before the race was run, posing for photos with spectators and giving news interviews to the press. Most wore heels of varying heights, many spiked and VERY high. The race itself included runners, walkers, and those who casually sashayed  to the finish line. Usually held on the Tuesday before Halloween, the race was postponed this year due to Hurricane Sandy, but thankfully not cancelled.

2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC

2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC2012 High Heel Race, Washington, DC

October 30, 2012

Lavatory Self Portraits in the Flemish Style

Filed under: art classes, paper crafts, performace art — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 8:38 pm

Here’s a novel approach to developing an alternate persona: Nina Katchadourian’s extemporaneous “Flemish” portraits created with materials typically found in  public restrooms: paper towels, toilet paper and seat covers. Katchadourian frequently works with simple found materials, improvising them into artworks around a specific theme which she then photographs. For the 2012 election she has created a piece called Monument to the Unelected with campaign signs she’s designed to commemorate those who failed in their election bids. A version of this piece is now on display at the Washington Post offices here in Washington, DC. To see more of Katchadourian’s work, visit her web site.

 Monument to the Unelected

October 1, 2012

A Garden of Lighting Delights

Filed under: art classes — Tags: , , — popularkinetics @ 4:30 am

Forest of Light sculpture by Bruce Munro, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA

We at Popular Kinetics love a light show, and British artist and lighting designer Bruce Munro has fabricated several impressive installations at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Visiting the gardens on Friday night, we experienced the magic of his fiber optic artworks on our nocturnal garden walk. Forest of Light is a piece featuring 20,000 glass globes on knee-high stems, each with a fiber optic filament wrapped gently inside the clear glass. Strands of filament run along the ground from the base of each stem, gathered into spaghetti-like bundles and ending at a light source punctuated by changing colors. Walking amongst the trees and the vast network of moving and glowing hues was delightful. But it was the vast expanse of the project and an appreciation of the labor involved that pushed this from a mere novelty to a more grandiose form of expression.

Water Towers sculpture by Bruce Munro, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA

Munro’s Water Towers was our favorite of the eight installations. Sitting in an open meadow were 69 towers of 252 water-filled bottles, each with a fiber-optic filament threaded through its cap. Again, the towers were constantly shifting color, and an etherial sound track accentuated the other-worldly feeling of the piece.


Waterlilies sculpture by Bruce Munro, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA

The one piece meant to be viewed by day was also striking: Waterlilies suggested  large, floating leaves of the Victorian lily with Munro’s use of a flotilla of repurposed CDs hovering on the surface of a large pond. Sunlight danced on the reflective surfaces, creating a completely different lighting effect here.

Unfortunately, we just learned about the exhibition at its close, so it is no longer possible to see it at Longwood. But with the success of this show, hopefully more of Munro’s pieces will be making an appearance in the U.S. soon.

September 16, 2012

Paper Forest Web Site

Filed under: art classes, crafts, paper crafts, paper engineering — Tags: — popularkinetics @ 8:14 pm

Paper Forest web site

For all of you paper lovers out there, The Paper Forest blog is a treasure trove of projects to make, paper art exhibitions, and related links. Fed by five artists, Jaime Zollars, Shelley Noble, Matt Hawkins, Dan McPharlin, and Falk Keuten, it reflects their wide range of interests and artistic views. Here’s the link to the site: 

December 8, 2011

Harry Potter and Ravenna’s Runway Magic

Filed under: art classes, books, crafts — Tags: , , , , — popularkinetics @ 9:36 pm

Can’t live without the Hogwarts’ wizardry in your Harry Potter books ? How about wearing it? Ravenna Osgood, a young, hip designer in New Mexico, has been winning prizes for her fashions in Santa Fe’s Recycled Arts Festival for years. This time around she’s concocted a wearable book, literally, crafting her dress from J.K. Rowling’s now-classic texts. She’s proven herself a fashion magician with found materials ranging from coffee bags to credit cards. For more pictures of Ravenna and the Recycled Arts event, go to

April 5, 2011

Cooking up a Pop-Up

Grandma Lucy's Meatballs, Kim GeigerDeep Fried Mac and Cheese, Natalie JacksonBBQ Corn on Cob, Kelsey Livingston

Students in Carol Barton’s Sculptural Books class at the Corcoran School of Art and Design have been working hard to create pop-ups of their favorite recipes. The resulting dimensional illustrations range from main dishes such as Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves to deserts made with flavorings of lavender and lime. The recipes reflect an international cuisine typical of Washington, D.C.’s multi-national mix. And though the food here is all of paper, it looks good enough to eat.

Lavender Cheesecake, Camden RichardsGrilled Fish in Banana Leaf, Beth CurrenKey Lime Custard 1, Alessandra Esheverri

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 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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