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….
March 8, 2015
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.
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.
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!
April 15, 2014
Paper has been in the news lately with the announcement of the Pritzker Prize for architecture going to Shigeru Ban, noted for his emergency shelters and buildings made of paper tubes. The 56-year-old Japanese architect has designed temporary paper shelters for refugees and victims of disasters in areas such as Rwanda, Kobe (Japan), Turkey, India and New Zealand. The tubes are a perfect building material because they’re inexpensive, readily available in various diameters and quite strong. They also can be bent and weatherized. Ban’s “Paper Log House,” shown here, is an example of these emergency shelters. The tubes are secured in sand-filled beer cases and the house is covered with canvas tenting for its roof.
Ban has also used tubes in constructing a school in China, a church in New Zealand, a gallery in Japan and a bridge, shown here, in France. To learn more of his work and philosophy of socially conscious architecture, check out these web sites:
October 11, 2013
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.
December 6, 2012
Graphic designer and calligrapher Sabeena Karnick, working in Mumbai India, has created a beautiful paper alphabet using a technique called “quilling.” Paper quilling has been around since the Renaissance when French and Italian nuns and monks used strips cut from the edges of guilded books to decorate book covers and other objects. These paper strips were rolled into shapes and glued together to create complex images and patterns. Later in the 18th-century European “ladies of leisure” practiced quilling when it was considered one of the few arts not too taxing on their delicate minds. Quilling was also practiced in America during colonial times. To learn more about the process of quilling visit these web sites: www.makezine.com and en.wikipedia.org