August 21, 2008

Breaking and/or Popping

So, I may not have been old enough to appreciate this late 80's dance craze, breaking and popping, BUT after watching this retro infomercial, I am now obsessed!  Though I've tried to hunt the entire set of books down, I have had little luck.  Maybe soon I'll be able to land one (hint, hint).  After all, even us pop-up experts need to learn the safe way to break and pop!

- JT

Nuts over the Nutcracker

Our beloved former fellow designer, Patricia Fry has crafted a delightful pop-up book adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker.  Patricia worked in the NYC studio a few years ago before moving to Europe.  Now in Switzerland, she is continuing to create paper engineered marvels in paper and I had a chance to interview her and learn about her experiences with The Nutcracker and life in the land of cheese and chocolate.  Patricia has many good things to share (nine pages of things!) so follow this link at to see a new face in the field of pop-up publishing.

- Kyle

Shelby’s First Pop-ups

When my friend Jess told me about the paper-engineering class she was taking, I was very excited about it and signed up for it the next chance I got!For our first assignment, I had only learned the two basic pop-up mechanisms: the layer and the v-fold, but I wanted to go all-out. Little did I know how much work my idea would turn out to be!

The pop-up is a 30-piece orchestra, about to play their first note. All of the tiny musicians move their arms to position when the card opens – at least, they used to! Only a few of them still work now.

This picture shows the size of the orchestra in comparison to an x-acto knife. My fingers sure were hurting after I finished! 

There are 9 violins, 3 cellos, 4 french horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, 2 clarinets, 2 piccolos, 1 tuba, 1 piano, 1 harp, 1 percussionist and 1 conductor – phew!

Our final assignment in the class was to make a color pop-up of a place. I chose to make the Mayan ruins in Palenque, Mexico.

I looked at lots of pictures to get the placement and appearance of the buildings as close to the real thing as I could!

Playing The Building

This weekend I went to the "Playing the Building", a sound installation by David Byrne formerly of the music group the talking heads. You go in this creepy old ferry terminal and get to play an old pipe organ that is hooked up to a building, and the building makes the noise and becomes a giant musical instrument. It's really cool. It's only open for one more weekend and its free! If you are in NYC I suggest you go see it. Go here for more info!

- SA

August 1, 2008

Confessions of an Origami Lover

My friends all know that if I get my hands on anything foldable -
napkins, receipts, tickets, anything - I'm bound at some point to
start making it into origami. I suppose it's kind of a creepy habit
(like that guy in Blade Runner) but I can't seem to
help myself anymore, I love folding!

A great origami resource on the internet is the website run by paper
folding professional Joseph Wu. He has galleries of some amazing
origami models, as well as a large collection of diagrams for anyone
to try their hand at paper folding. You can also find links to many
more resources in his links section.

Another good site is - there you can find lots of
diagrams for models you can try making at home!

- Shelby

You can make a v-fold - the Arizpe way

A regular 'V' fold is pretty easy to make. You just fold your paper in half and line it up on top of the gutter. Angle 'A' is the same as angle 'B'.

But to make an asymmetrical V fold is a little more difficult. I don't really understand it myself but here is a diagram that I find helpful.

Angle 'A' is not equal to angle 'B'.
You can make angle 'B' what ever you want.
To find angle 'A' just find the distance form the V fold to the gutter, angle 'D', then double it.

Then you have angle 'A'.


Dinosaurs are alive in Madison Square Garden.

The studio took a field trip this Thursday morning to see living dinosaurs in New York City - or as close as we're going to get to them! Walking With Dinosaurs, the wildly popular BBC television series inspired this traveling show of gigantic, life-sized dinosaur puppets - and we loved it. I think our group was the only one in the whole stadium without at least one person below the age of ten years old - but who cares?! Nothing beats watching dinosaurs (even if they aren't real) battle it out for survival. Check it out here.

- Everyone at the S & R Studio