What’s Popped Up: Keeping Portland Weird Part 3

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”.


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