Archive for January, 2011

What’s Popped Up: Pop-up CD packaging

Monday, January 31st, 2011

I missed out on not one but two limited edition pop-up CD packaging recently.  David A. Carter created one of his signature sculptural pop-ups for the popular band, Coldplay.  Hand assembled in London by David Pelham and signed by the band, the special Coldplay’s Christmas Lights CD is a coveted item around the world (like Wonka’s Golden Ticket) as only a handful were rumored to exist.

A few weeks later Sally Blakemore and her afro/gypsy/fusion band called ShonaSlovakia hosted a CD release party in Santa Fe, NM where 100 copies of the pop-up CD packaging was sold in short order.  Sally assured that more copies of the CD will be available soon but will not have the limited pop-up of the band.

Now the fine music offered by both bands is reason enough to purchase the new CDs, but in this digital age I sure will miss the physical connection with the playful pop-ups.


Vintage Movable Review: Stairs

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Back in 1981, an architect from Amsterdam created a sparse pop-up book called StairsRein Jansma, trained as an artist and set designer, and studied biology before heading into the world of architecture.  His contemplations on stepped structures sit quietly on the page and the designs seemed to draw inspiration from his varied background.

Produced by Joost Elffers Books in New York and assembled in Singapore, Stairs must have been a refreshing change of pace from the other more colorful or explosive pop-up books of that era.  While it is more likely to find this title on an architect’s shelf (which I did) then a child’s room, this it one book that I like to come back to every once in awhile and thumb through in search of transendance.


What’s Popped Up: Pearle Pop-up Ads

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of commercial pop-up advertisements made for the screen. One of my most favorite campaigns comes from Belgium. Pearle Optics wished to make a giant pop-up ad and didn’t want to resort to CG or digital tricks, so they turned to the wonderful paper engineer Kees Moerbeek.

Moerbeek and the crew were able to make one of the largest functional pop-ups that I am aware of and it took a forklift to bring in the book! There are three short commercials and a “making of” video that are all in Dutch but don’t worry as they are easy to follow and have a universal charm.


Vintage Movable Review: El Hombre

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Some of the earliest movable books were medical textbooks.  These encyclopedic affairs gave an overview of medical ailments and current remedies.  Often times these books made their way into country doctor offices or medical schools.  While the focus and illustrations varied, the format was invariably similar.  A human figure was represented on a flap that could be peeled open to review the musculature level, giving way to the skeletal composition and allowing the view to work down to individual organs.  These flaps are colorfully termed ‘fugitive sheets’ as they tend to break off at the crease and disappear from the book.

Today we get to see a fine example of this type of medical movable book with El Hombre. This Spanish edition was published in Madrid by Bailly-Bailliere in 1884.  The tall folio contains 16 pages of text and one figure that the reader can dissect with a flick of the wrist.  The illustration depicts a dashing mustachioed man that appears to be neutered in keeping with the morals of the era.  Considering this was a medical book meant for physical education I am surprised that we are faced with a slick looking Ken doll without even a fig leave for modesty.  I wonder what happened when there were medical issues that were not “covered” in El Hombre.


What’s Popped Up: Snowflakes

Monday, January 17th, 2011

It’s cold here in New York and we have had our fair share of snow so far this season.  While it is widely known that I am no fan of the cold, I do love snowflakes (on an individual basis only).  I don’t love them as much as Wilson A. Bentley, who made it a singular goal to photographs as many unique snow crystals he could get his mitts on.  Bentley’s images are fascinating and diverse and I treasure his many collections, so you can imagine my excitement when I learned that there was a new pop-up book inspired by his work.

Snowflakes: A Pop-up Book was released by Jumping Jack Press, an imprint of Up With Paper.  (Check out the excellent video of the book here.)  The seven spread book was written by Jennifer Chushcoff, with illustration and paper engineering by Yevgeniya Yeretskaya.  Each page explodes in a three-dimensional sparkling winter scene complete with contemplative prose and tidbits about “Snowflake” Bentley. I had the good fortune to meet Ms. Yeretskaya shortly after her book’s release.  After showing the lovely constructions she also shared her appreciation for Bentley’s work.  I’ll let this promising young paper engineer have the last word. “It was wonderful to explore the beauty and the science behind these unique individual pieces of art known as snowflakes. I hope that I’ve succeeded in conveying the wonder and awe of the season through to the pop-up pages of this book, and that anyone who opens it will share in the magic that lies within.”


Vintage Movable Review: Turtle and Her Friends

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

While Vojtech Kubasta is my favorite illustrator to come out of Czechoslovakia in the 1960’s he is by no means the only artist I admire from that era.  Rudolph Lukes was an illustrator for the country’s publishing giant, Artia Prague.  His color palette and design aesthetic are decidedly of the time and I find a certain charm in his depiction of animals.  On display today is Turtle and Her Friends that was printed for Golden Press in 1968.  We are all familiar with Golden Books and their ubiquitous gold spines lining most children’s bookshelves, but they did venture into a limited pop-up venture.

Lukes is restricted to only four spreads and the compositions are quieter than his contemporaries.  I don’t know if it’s the simplicity and directness of the pop-ups or nostalgia for my youth, but the work always stands out to me when I see it in collections. It is unclear who paper engineered the pop-ups, but many of his titles are quite similar and I would not be surprised if Lukes was in fact the paper engineer.  If anyone can shed some light of the life of Rudolph Lukes I would be very appreciative.


What’s Popped Up: Keeping Portland Weird Part 3

Monday, January 10th, 2011

We continue on our rundown of day two at the Movable Book Society 8th Biennial Conference. Artists, Ilisha Helfman & Joe Freedman took to the podium for a lively presentation on the diverse works that they create in their studio located in downtown Portland.

Armed with a laser cutter and an active imagination, Joe and Ilisha gave us a virtual tour of their downtown Portland storefront and workshop called LeafPDX. They moved effortlessly between collapsible dioramas and expanding tunnel books, elaborately staged theatres and highly patterned houses. Inside the paper doll houses, miniature furniture displayed even smaller objects like intricate buttons. Joe shared the many diecut books, movable cards and volvelles that they had designed and produced for themselves and various clients. Ilisha talked about her love of textiles and design that was evident in her NYT blog which showcases imagined wardrobe from magazine clippings. Not to mention her passion for teaching workshops in “jazzknitting”. They finished their presentation with explanations of the antique optical toys that their company has updated with contemporary themes and constructions.

Once the slideshow was finished, the pair moved into the workshop portion of the day and led the large group through a step-by-step assembly of a meticulously prepared tunnel book kit of Portland, Oregon. With the aid of a few floating volunteers, members of conference constructed their own keepsake as Joe and Ilisha moved from table to table to offer advice and accept praises. In time, all the tabs were inserted and all the panels placed in the correct order and it was time to say goodbye to Joe Freedman and Ilisha Helfman. But not before we say hello to “Ole Million Face”.


Vintage Movable Review: The Lion’s Den

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

In the early 1880’s, The New York publisher, McLoughlin Bros. issued ten dioramas “each presenting the appearance of a showy childs book” or so states the advertisement.  They called it the Little Showman’s Series with four representations of the seasons and the remaining six single spread pop-up books depicting various scenes.  Today we are able to view a much loved copy of The Lion’s Den. A previous owner had pried the original bars off in hopes to free the captive lion and then took pencil in hand to embellish some of the text.  Luckily, this pop-up cleaned up pretty well for us to enjoy.  I really enjoy how the imagery pairs with the verses and will let the Brothers McLoughlin have the last word.  “Each of these little Shows is perfect in itself…”


What’s Popped Up: 3rd Salon of Pop-up Books

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Happy New Year!  Recently, Thibaut Brunessaux & Jacques Desse of La Boutique du Livre Animé in Paris posted photos from their epic 3rd Salon of Pop-up Books that was held on the evening of December 2nd.

The video invitation was created by Gérard Lo Monaco.

I wish I could have attended as it seems every paper engineer in France was in attendance.  Here is a list of the participants:

Marion Bataille :   ABC3D

Bernard Duisit et Joëlle Jolivet : 10 p’tits pingouins

G. Lo Monaco et Bernard Duisit : Le Prince de Motordu

G. Lo Monaco et Joëlle Jolivet : Moby Dick

Gérard Lo Monaco : Le Magique Circus

Jean-Charles Trebbi : L’Art de la découpe, nouvelle édition deL’Art du pli

Eric SingelinJeux t’aime , Pélénope fait du sport

Jean-Charles Rousseau et Jean-Hugues Malineau : Tout Toutou

Gaëlle PelachaudAmsterdam Théâtre miniature, Vienne Théâtre d’illusion

Philippe Huger (UG) : Novopolis , L’incroyable encyclopédie

Olivier CharbonnelLe Petit théâtre d’ombres, Les trois petits cochons

Anouck Boisrobert et Louis RigaudPopville

Anne-Sophie Bauman : Kididoc

What a group!  All the books look amazing and I am very excited to see Joëlle Jolivet’s work in the 10 Little Penguins and Moby Dick in person.  Check out all the photos from the event here.