Archive for February, 2009

Paper ‘Cutting Edge’

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

The ‘Wonder Cabinet’ event last weekend was very cool and showcased some of freshest ventures in the arts and sciences. I came away from it with a new favorite artist in Tara Donovan and a deeper appreciation of the origins and effects of kindergarten as presented by Norman Brosterman. But the main attraction for me was the tag-team talk about the intersections of paper folding and conductive materials.

Matt Shlian and Max Shtein (there’s a vaudeville shtick potential in this pairing) did not disappoint as they discussed new paper engineering concepts in the renewable energy field with their collaboration on flexible solar cell designs. Matt also showed us the work of a few other paper folders who covered the spectrum- from a microscopic stent for closed arteries, to huge emergency shelters and everything in between.

Shlian Visit

I was lucky enough to have Matt visit my pop-up class this week to present his work in person. (He even came prepared with the actual paper models for everyone to handle after the slideshow!) Since he is the only other known teacher of paper engineering at the university level I was eager to have him at our critique of my student’s second pop-up assignment. It is always great to get a fresh pair of eyes on the work and Matt was able to get the kids very engaged in discussing their pop-ups. It was a real pleasure hosting him.

It was great to finally meet him in person, and I know we can expect some very interesting things from this guy in the future. So keep an eye on Matt Shlian.

– Kyle

Wonder Cabinet

Friday, February 20th, 2009

There is a great event happening in Manhattan this Saturday, February 21, at the Cantor Film Center on the NYU campus.

Wonder Cabinet Header

The theme of the day will be ‘Wonder Cabinet’ which harkens back to a time before staid museums enticed the masses and eccentric people displayed their personal collections of rarities and oddities. Inside those display cases of old; one could find scientific specimens mixed with theatrical props, objects with fascinating descriptions that defied proper explanation and various items that blurred the line between fact and fiction. It is this commingling of science and art that is the central thread of the eight talks to be given on Saturday. I am most excited for a presentation wedged between literary heavyweight, Jonathan Lethem and innovative director, Bob Sabiston by an interesting paper engineer named Matt Shlian.

Matt is taking a break from his work in Michigan with Max Shtein where they are finding how complex designs in paper can be reduced to the nanoscale or incorporated into tomorrow’s energy saving materials. When he is not exploring the intersection of paper folding and protein folding, Matt can be found teaching a class on paper engineering in one of the only other university courses in the country.

‘Wonder Cabinet’ is curated by Lawrence Weschler and hosted by The New York Institute for the Humanities and the Humanities Initiative. This all day affair is free and open to the public, so stop by if you are in the neighborhood.

More detailed information including directions, a detailed schedule and presenter bios can be found here.

– Kyle

Popup Workshop 2.0

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Shawn Sheehy just tipped me off to a fun free pop-up design program called Popup Workshop. The creator is a woman named Sue Hendrix who developed this software as part of her doctoral work at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her bio shares that her current work is in the area of children’s technology and focuses on tools to help children design their own pop-up books and cards, and on effects on spatial and mathematical reasoning in this activity.
Sue combines a simple interface where you design your pop-up card with a wonderful 3D viewer where you can test your virtual card to see how it will perform. Now don’t think that the Popup Workshop is just for kids as I downloaded the software, dove into the Pop-Up Editor and printed and built my little “frog” face in under ten minutes.


Click here to go to the Popup Workshop webpage and learn how you too can develop your own masterpieces.

– Kyle

And the Grammy goes to…

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

This Sunday the 51st Grammy Awards will air on CBS. I will be keeping close tabs on this year’s celebration and it’s not just in the hopes that Radiohead will be recognized for their tremendous album and innovative video for ‘House of Cards.’ I will be rooting for fellow paper engineer, Renee Jablow, who is in the running for “Best Recording Package” this year for her beautiful CD packaging design for ‘Summer Rains’ by The Ditty Bops.


I met Renee years ago when I tried begging for a job from her at Intervisual Books. Nowadays she is a freelance designer in California where she can be found creating interesting dimensional products and movable books like last year’s collaboration on “Birdscapes: A Pop-Up Celebration of Bird Songs in Stereo Sound.” Let’s cross our collective fingers and hope that Renee will be bringing home a mini gramophone this weekend!

– Kyle

It’s The Thought That Counts

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

I was able to catch one of my favorite artists last week during the closing days of a month long exhibit at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery in Chelsea last week. Peter Callesen is no stranger to the folks here at the studio. We have received many email forwards regarding his marvelous work in the years past and even featured him on Robert’s website a while back.


This show, titled ‘Folded Thoughts’, focused on less than a dozen recent works, all of which almost carried a dream like quality. One of my favorites new pieces is ‘Five Forgotten Thoughts’ where the paper that was cut out to create the cloud shapes in negative space were used to form the intricately molded brains. This more intimate work (and an amazing apple representation) really stole the show from the more eye-catching skeleton formed on a life-sized scale. Decide for yourself when you check out the slideshow from the Perry Rubenstein Gallery and keep up to date with the Peter Callesen to see if he is coming to a gallery near you.

– Kyle