I had a great time last weekend at the 2013 Pop-up Extravaganza. This is an annual event that brings together some of the top paper engineers working today in order to show off their latest books, share stories about the process of making a pop-up and then settling in for a good ol’ fashion book signing. While the cast of pop-up makers change each year, the host is always the wonderful Peter Glassman, who puts on the event in his independent children’s book store, Books of Wonder. This lovely store in Manhattan has been sharing some of the best children’s stories for over 30 years and is a favorite haunt of mine.
This year we were treated with Robert Sabuda sharing his fantastic ‘Little Mermaid’ book. He was joined by David A. Carter who was sporting his fashionable red shoes and his latest life-the-flap book. Sam Ita admitted to focusing more on the pop-up mechanics than the text as he discussed his two new fairy tale books.
While Yevgeniya Yeretskaya from Up With Paper brought ‘The Snow Queen’ and her own family cheerleader section. Finally, Matthew Van Fleet shared his latest nearly indestructible movable book for munchkins called ‘Munch’.
As if that was not enough talent, it seems that there were another half dozen paper engineers in the crowd, making this a little mini-reunion for some folks. Isabel Uria came down from Structural Graphics and showed off some cute pop-up business cards. Later, I was able to catch up with Becca Zerkin and Courtney Watson McCarthy and hear about their latest pop-up books while we hung out with Monika Brandrup-Thomas and her crew.
Like in past years, the time flew by, the final book was signed and we all rushed out into the brisk afternoon, heads filled with inspiration and many more gift items for our holiday wish lists.
Yesterday was the release of The Art of Rube Goldberg, a fantastic book of the works by that master cartoonist who can be referred to as a noun or an adjective. Compiled by his granddaughter Jennifer George, with contributions from numerous authors, this nearly 200 page coffee table book takes the reader through the life of and bizarre mind of Rube Goldberg. What is most magical about this book is the movable cover designed by the very gifted Andrew Baron that brings one of Goldberg’s comics to life. Channeling the ghost of Lothar Meggendorfer, Baron has created not just a complex multiple action from a single pull tab, but he does it sequentially so that the viewer can watch the contraption progress through the page. This is how Rube Goldberg comics were meant to be seen! Such a great example of how pop-ups and movables can both enhance and harmonize with the subject matter. I want to see more.
Luckily, I will get chance to see more of Goldberg’s work next week during a book release party and exhibition in New York. See original art. Check. Play the new mobile app game Rube Works. Check. View working Rube Goldberg contraptions. Check. Plus, the entire team that put this book together will be in attendance, so I can pat Mr. Baron’s back in person. The RSVP has closed but if you find yourself near the Lori Bookstein Gallery and want to have your mind blown, contact the email listed on the above image and beg a late admission. If you make it, look for me, I’ll be the one wandering around grinning like a rube at Goldberg’s genius.
The Movable Book Society has recently announced that the next conference will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 18-20, 2014. That means in less than a year, pop-up book collectors, creators and fans will descend on the city of brotherly love for three days full of exciting programming. I for one, am excited to see the conference return to the East Coast and will start saving my pennies for the registration that will become available in the coming months. I am looking forward to seeing many friends from past conferences and hope to see some new faces as Philly is a short hop from Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York (which makes this event more appealing to our international members.) So mark your calendars now and I will keep you updated on when registration for the conference goes live.
That’s right- I’m in the July issue of Vogue US. How cool is that! No, I didn’t make it onto the cover (Katy Perry got the honor), but you can find the pop-up magazine ad inserted in the middle of the issue. This is part of the media campaign to promote the new line of make-up developed by Alber Elbaz for Lancôme. You may have heard about the limited edition pop-up press kit I created for this project in the last blog post. You also may remember that the press kit was for industry folks only, so this special pop-up magazine ad is the only keepsake available to the public – making this a great collector’s item. Speaking of collecting, I am trying to collect all the international editions of the magazine that feature this pop-up. So I am proposing a global scavenger hunt and want my friends and fans to help me all SIX versions! Not only is the pop-up insert featured in Vogue US – but it can be found in Vogue China, Vogue Netherlands (in French and also English versions), Vogue Belgium and the magazine, Telva in Spain. For those fans in other countries, I have shared a video of the pop-up ad for you to enjoy. Now let’s go hunting at magazine stands and hair salons around the world for this cool pop-up!
The past few months have been quite exciting and I am happy to announce that my most recent pop-up promotional has launched! The Israeli fashion designer, Alber Elbaz, teamed up with Lancôme to create a fun new make-up line. They wanted a special marketing tool that would wow vendors and industry leaders, and the idea for a movable press kit was born. Working closely with the über-talented designers at Box Studios and creative bookmaker, Natalie Stopka, I was able to develop some great pull tab and pop-up elements that were bound into a sturdy board book format. This was a wonderful collaboration on many levels and I am very happy to share it with you!
Imagine yourself at a glamorous fashion show with this very limited edition pop-up press kit for Lancôme Show by Alber Elbaz to support the new line of make-up products launched worldwide on June 15th, 2013. Created for key accounts in the cosmetics industry, this book will not be available for retail – making it a truly rare pop-up promotional. The press kit shares the magic of models parading down the runway through five movable spreads and includes a CD with bonus images. It was printed in eleven different languages with unique pop-ups specific to each region. Since less than 2000 copies were produced, it will be impossible to own this item, but you can check out more images on my website and watch the short video I made of the book. For those collectors that also happen to be home subscribers to Vogue magazine, be sure to check out the July issue for a cool pop-up advertisement that I created for this campaign. (More on that later.) Now sit back and enjoy the show!
This past weekend was the 53rd annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Armory in Manhattan. Those of you who follow my blog, know that I am a big fan of this event and I was excited to attend after I missed it last year when I was attending the Bologna Book Fair. I love this show because I can see amazing movable and pop-up books from as far back at the 1600’s and most sellers even let me play with them! I was able to see a an original Robert Sayer’s Harliquinade (the same that was featured in the MBS celebration book) at Justin Schiller‘s booth. This turn-up format was one of the earliest novelty book formats to entertain an audience. Later, I came across a fine example of Raphael Tuck’s panoramic book that would unfold to six feet of Victorian fairy tale scenery that the child could then insert different paper characters in the slots to tell a classic or make-up story. Helen and Marc Younger at Aleph-Bets had many wonderful pop-up and movable books and I zeroed in on a great working example of one of Meggendorfer’s slatted changing picture books. It was over a 100 years old and still moved smoothly as we admired Lothar’s depictions of naughty boys. At the next aisle sat Jo Ann Reisler among her delightful collection of children’s books. She showed me a delightful French pull tab book from the Capendu publisher and I also fell in love with a charming carousel book of Cinderella. Further down the row, I found a lovely edition of Robinson Crusoe from McLoughlin Bros, where the book is split down the middle and you peel back each page like a curtain at the theater. I came across no fewer than four amazing examples of multi-disc volvelles from as early as 1640 that showed various tables and charts in large astronomy books. I then stopped by Michele Noret, with her colorful French art books and showed her some of my recent acquisitions before I realized that the Fair was almost at an end. So I checked my map of the 150 exhibitors and found Jacques Desse and Thibaut Brunessaux at La boutique du livre anime, which is always my favorite booth. They had just sold the original dummy of David A. Carter’s “One Red Dot”, so I was not able to take a peek, but I did get to see the latest creations from the master pop-up artist, UG. His new book, “Stellations Explosives” was the bomb and I absolutely fell in love with his dynamic “Les Recordmen” artist book that showcased athletes in action. I was also able to see a few other clever books from Paris, including a striking colorful(!), tacile book of Eric Carle for blind children. Once again, it looks to me that French publishers are putting out some of the most exciting and well designed children’s pop-up and flat books I have seen. While I was sharing my insight with Jacques, he showed me some cute unique pop-up cards of houses that was done by a new paper engineer that has graduated from the same highly regarded design college in Strasbourg that produced the artists of “Popville” and other great books. It seems that this school is really developing some impressive talent and I am curious to learn more about their teaching methods.
Before the fair I met up with pop-up collector, Dr. Larry Seidman and I shared some of my latest Biedermeier information that I was uncovering in Germany. We also shared a cab down to the Altman Building for a shadow fair. The Manhattan Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair was the place were many of the dealers from the Armory were heading to stock up on new books and material. There I ran into Ellen Rubin, the Pop-up Lady, who was excited to tell me about her upcoming Kubasta exhibit in January. I also stopped by the SLC based, Red Queen Books where Melissa Sanders showed us some very rare artist books and vintage movables, including a crazy pop-up cat calendar in the shape of a valise. While this was a smaller group of sellers, the books, posters and photos were equally impressive and I dug through my share of bins and book cases looking for treasures.
All in all, it was a great time and I must thank Larry Seidman for helping make it all possible. Now I have to start saving my pennies so I can afford some cool items at next year’s fairs.
Today we welcome the beginning of the Year of the Water Snake for the Chinese New Year! This is the biggest holiday of the year in many Asian countries and communities and is a time to be with family and friends to celebrate the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, as it is sometimes called. I have never been to China during the days long festivities but was able to follow some of the celebrations around the world here.
I have had the wonderful opportunity over the years to work with many excellent printers and pop-up manufacturers in Asia and I want to wish all of my Chinese colleagues joy and prosperity in the coming year or to put it another way: Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin), Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese), or 恭禧发财 (Simplified Chinese).
The wonderful paper artist, Colette Fu has designed a simple pop-up card that you can download from her blog and make to celebrate the holiday. (The images at the top of this post are from there.) While you are at her site, check out some of the interesting pop-up projects she has created over the years like ‘We are Tiger Dragon People’.
Happy CNY and look out for upcoming posts about China when I visit there for a pop-up production trip soon.
I have recently received a note from the wonderful folks at LEAFpdx, a wonderful design studio run by Joe Freedman and Ilisha Helfman in Portland, Oregon. They have recently sold out of there wonderful PrimoGraf Drawing Machine and now have a proposal for a new project. Check out their Kickstarter page to learn about their Hansel & Gretel shadow theater book. I am excited about this book project as it is designed in an accordion fold binding that allows it to be read as a book or stretched out and projected on the wall with the aid of a light. This is a fun way to interact with the book and Joe suggests that viewers can make up their own version of the story based on some simple text printed on each spread. When I was in Germany last year during the 200th anniversary of the publishing of Hansel and Gretel, I had the chance to read much of the stories (albeit in English, as mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut) in Berlin, nearby the grave site of the Brothers Grimm. This is when I learned about the long oral tradition of the Hansel & Gretel folktale and how it has evolved over the centuries. That is why LEAFpdx’s version of beautiful diecut images is so appropriate to bring a new generation’s perspective to the story.
Be sure to act now to join your fellow supporters to help make this shadow book a reality. They are halfway to their goal and need your help.
p.s. Amazingly enough, I have been reading another version of Hansel & Gretel lately, but this one is an app. (No, it’s not a dirty word around here, as I think there is room for everyone to share their stories in a variety of ways.) Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel by StoryToys is an interactive virtual 3-D pop-up book for young readers to engage with on mobile devices. While the LEAFpdx shadow book is a hands-on work of art that encourages your imagination, this little app is very straightforward and easy to follow the characters through the digital landscape. So we have gone from oral to written to projected to digitized and I have not even mention the two modern movie takes on this beloved Grimm’s tale that are in theaters right now.
It has been a very busy time for me as I wrapped up 2012 and since the Mayan Apocalypse or Fiscal Cliff did not destroy me, I have some time to share all the exciting news. Last month I had the pleasure to collaborate with artist, Scott Meadows on a great pop-up video project. Check it out “The Men’s Guide to Holiday Shopping” here on Vimeo. We had a great time creating a guide for gift shopping from a male perspective (but I think it is pretty universal truths here) and were able to incorporate some luxury items with pop-up paper elements. I really think this showcases the potential for movable paper mechanisms to help create impactful and innovative advertising and promotional pieces. This pop-up stuff isn’t just for kid’s books! If you think this is cool, then I hope to blow your mind with another advertising pop-up project that is coming along wonderfully. Stay tuned!
I was quite pleased to see that today’s Google Doodle was of Little Nemo by Winsor McCay. The interactive animated comic strip marks the 107th anniversary of Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland. As a child, my taste in comic books gravitated towards Marvel characters and D.C. saga including one of the death of Superman in 1992. Later as I immersed myself in the amazing world of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, I began to learn more about the history of the comic strip and the early geniuses like McCay. It was only last year when I was visiting the Picture Book Musuem in Troisdorf, Germany that I came across a comprehensive exhibition of McCay’s work. I cannot imagine what it was like for young readers to be swept up in the surreal dreamscapes of his comicstrips in the early 1900’s. Seeing the original inkings of Dream of a Rarebit Fiend and Little Nemo was very impressive as was viewing some of his propaganda animations from before WWI. At the Internet Archive, one can download and experience many years worth of the wonderful comics as well as many impressive animated films. Do yourself a favor and get acquainted with this legend.