I didn’t think these would take so long to design and create.
I thought I was starting with something easy. My endgame plan is to make flip books that show hypotrochoids, aka spirograph shapes. I thought that starting with something as straight forward as a straight line wouldn’t take long. These books show variations of the equation of a line (y=mx+b). Four books, one to show changes in b, one to show changes in x, and two to show changes in m. This process has been anything but fast and easy.
I didn’t count on there being so many decisions to make. I didn’t count on having to make so many revisions. I had to learn a whole lot more about the graphics program that I’m using.
I am ready to finish up this project.
I have loved every second of working on these books.
This is a short post because I hope to finish up these books in two days, and to post PDF’s for Do-It-Yourself flip books, so that anyone can make them.
Today I sent three packages of my of work out into the world via the United States Postal Service. There’s something I like about putting art in the mail. Fortunately, the post office works both ways. Sometimes I receive art in the mail. Thinking about this made me want to write about some of the comings and goings to and from my mailbox.
The most recent piece of art I received in the mail was from Esther and Dikko and Georgia and Polly at Purgatory Pie Press. This card was hand set by Dikko Faust with AlphaBlox. The card is printed on a gold paper. It shimmers and glows and catches the light in unexpected ways. I am very happy to have this building-block like number card here at my desk.
During the holiday season Joan, a woman I’ve known since high school sent me this handmade card. Although Joan and I had mutual friends in high school, she and I never specifically made a connection. She happened to marry someone I who I consider a dear friend, and, although he and I don’t communicate directly much anymore, Joan and I have gotten into this rhythm of sending each other a hand-made card every year. It’s a tradition that makes me very happy. Every card she sends me is more lyrical and charming than the last. It’s always a wonderous surprise to open the envelope that carries her designs to me.
Occasionally I will get knock-your-socks off card from Ed Hutchins. His envelopes are also distinctive and memorable. This was a card was one that he made for the WCC Art Club–can’t remember what that organization is, but he was telling me about it, then he sent me the card. I am grateful to have anything that Ed sends me, but this pop-up is a sight to behold. While folding and unfolding the card, the words THANK and YOU pivot in opposite directions, either fanning open, or nesting into each other as the card closes. Not counting the planes of the base of the paper, there are five popping up planes in this card.
This lovely little dancing book came to me from Hedi Kyle a few years ago. The sash extending from her waist says “spin wheel reel twirl swivel swirl pirouette”. I keep her hanging up high where she stays safe, but close enough that I can enjoy her presence. Sometimes she seems to glow.
This set of books was sent today, from me to Tammy in Saskatoon, Sk Canada. Tammy teaches elementary school, and, from what I can gather, she runs a bookmaking club, and has been doing this for years. Her last note to me made reference to her bookmaking club that was meeting today at lunchtime. I don’t know Tammy, except through this blog, and it pleases me to be able to send her and her students these books.
Last picture. These two packages went out today, one to Minnesota, the other to Texas. Can flip-books be in Beta? These books are going out to teachers who have expressed a willingness to look them over and, hopefully, be able to give me some feedback on how students respond to them. This is the first time that I have asked for a collaborative interface with my books from people I don’t actually know. I’m really interested in seeing how this goes. I have a good feeling about it, and I hope that I can find more ways to do this kind of exchange in the future.
Some of best things that come to me from afar don’t come through the postal service, nor can I even touch them. What I am thinking about now is a comment that was left here a few weeks ago. Iris wrote to me saying about my blog: ” It is sent and used recently to a refugee school in Indonesia, founded last year by friend from Afghanistan, refugees themselves. They made books with the youngest kids in an instant and are happy to be informed and taught.” What a gift it was to hear this!
Tomorrow I travel up to Bolton Landing to work on planning out projects with teachers and students, pre-k through seventh grade. These collaborations are the best.
“A pop-up needs a fold:” this is what I say whenever I begin showing a class how to make a pop-up. Ha! Turns out I was wrong! Paul Johnson’s show at the North Main Gallery in Salem N.Y. has authoritatively proven me to be completely mistaken. Throughout this generous celebration of structurally engineered books there is not a fold, in or out of sight.
This is not a show of books with pages that turn to reveal a sequence of cleverly folded and glued structures that seem to magically jump off the page. Instead, in many cases, the books themselves begin as appearing rather flat, then they simply explode into space. And it’s not folds or glues that are responsible for these feats. It’s …
…hinges. Well bust my britches, I never thought about creating non-folded hinges for pop-ups The roof piece above is joined together by making opposing slits in two separate pieces of paper. Johnson also makes good use of piano hinges -this link is a piano-hinge-tutorial by Wendy Southin- as well as dovetail joints, which I have to say I have never seen a bookbinder use in paper engineering.
It was not just a few books here, but rather a plethora of book structures and book sculptures, each one as unusual as inventive as any I’ve seen. Now I know I haven’t stepped back here and given you much of the big picture: that’s more than I can process for one post. The overall look of the show is stunning, as is each book in the show. But those photos will have to wait for a later post. It’s the details that I am so intrigued with today.
This show, it’s quite a ride. Up until October 4.
Oh, and if you are an educator and you are wondering if this is the same Paul Johnson who writes prolific amounts about Literacy and Book Arts, yes, this is him.
I had planned that this post be about the Paul Johnson show, but I won’t be able to get in to photograph it just yet. Instead I’ve decided to seize the moment and write about this great back-to-school project that Gail DePace did with her 2nd graders a few years ago. Gail and I worked together many times, and I see my influence in these books, but Gail (now retired) was an inspired teacher in her own right, and just took off with any of the skills that she picked up from me. What she did here was make a template of a young person, which each student personalized in their own likeness. With some simple folding the students created a pocket, which was glued on to the front of the book and which held the little self.
For the body of the book I’m fairly sure that Gail started out with a somewhat large sheet of paper, probably 11 inch x 17 inch (A3). The folds are based on the Origami Pamphlet folds. That cut away window in the middle makes a place for a secret picture, which is only revealed with when the book is set up in a certain way. Like this…
Here the book is set up so you can peek into the lives of the author.
Here’s the bird’s eye view of the book. Have you noticed the bit of framing that is done around some of the little drawings? This is accomplished by providing each student with just one square post-it, which they mount, temporarily, in their book, then color around it, thus masking off what’s beneath.
As lovely as this structure is, it’s the content that makes them so fabulous. Student wrote about their family, about their favorite place to be (which was illustrated inside the window) and what they like and dislike.
Then they ended the book with hopes for the future.