March 29, 2010

President Obama buys Star Wars Pop-Up book

During a recent visit to a bookstore in Iowa, President Obama bought a copy of Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy for his press secretary, Robert Gibbs (who chose it for his son).

Asked by the Official Star Wars blog about the visit, Matthew Reinhart says, "What can I say? He’s got taste! Seriously, its a tremendous honor & delight for this humble pop-up book maker. Just goes to show you how universal Star Wars really is!"

Read more at the following links:

Official Star Wars Blog

Yahoo! News

NYTimes Blog

Happy 1st Birthday, Lillian

Among the exciting things that happened this past weekend, my niece Lillian Elizabeth Aynes turned one year old! Pink was definitely the color of the day. Hardly pop-up news, but since she's my ONLY niece, I have to brag. I can pretty much guarantee she'll be the model for many characters in upcoming pop-up books, so I guess that makes this news of her special day news-worthy to the paper engineering world, right?

XO Matthew

March 25, 2010

Beyond the Text

I had the privilege to attend the opening reception to a wonderful artist book exhibit last night and the Grolier Club. The inventive book artist, Shawn Sheehy invited me to join him at the event where we met up with the always cheery, Ed Hutchins and Ellen Rubin, the popuplady. The gallery was packed wall to wall with artists, book collectors and book lovers but I was able to squeeze off one photo of Sheehy next to his work.

"Beyond the Text: Artists’ Books from the Collection of Robert J. Ruben," includes over 60 examples of accordion books, codices, scrolls, box books, pop-ups and tunnel books, in every variety of mixed media. Some are by artists of international renown, others by new artists forging their creative paths. Some of the books have previously known texts, others new texts or no texts at all, and the subject matter ranges from political, argumentative, ironic, lyrical, to tragic.

In speaking with the very pleasant Dr. Robert J. Ruben, I learned that this show represents about ten percent of his notable collection, which he has been amassing since he picked up his first artist book in 1952. Ruben has two intellectual centers to his life: medicine and books. A leader in the medical field of Otolaryngology, Ruben has also been an ardent student and collector of artists' books for twenty-five years, and a similar exhibition of his artists' books, "Beyond the Text", was held at Adelphi University a few years ago.

This exhibition is accompanied by an impressive catalog with beautiful full-page color illustrations of each book. The catalog is a joint effort of the art historian, Yvonne Korshak, PhD and the collector, Robert Ruben, MD and is available for purchase at the venue. The show will be on exhibit at the Grolier Club, Second Floor Gallery, 47 East 60th Street, NY, NY, 10022, from March 25th through May 28th, 2010, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm. The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public so you have no excuse not to see it for yourself.


Art of the Arduino

This Saturday at NYCResistor we are hosting an art show of pieces that use the Arduino, a customizable microprocessor that lets you incorporate electronics into basically anything you can dream up.

One of the pieces in the show is by artist Edith Kollath, titled "thinking i'd last forever". They are books that breathe! Bre made this video a while back for another show that she was in:

Things - Edith Kollath Creates Books that Breathe from Bre Pettis on Vimeo.

So cool! I can't wait for the show on Saturday!

Edith's website:


Fashion follows function

I am not too aware of the fashion world as a whole, but I do like good design no matter what avenue it is on. Check out these cool 'bike to work' pants, with built in reflectors so you can bike safer on your way home at night. Any time something can fulfill two or more functions in one object it gets my vote.

You might own another pair of pants after these, but you only have one skull.

Ride safe,

Folded Spring

I usually take a stroll through SoHo to get to work in the morning. I absolutely love passing all the window displays with a cup of coffee in hand. The other morning I saw that Kate's Paperie had put up giant paper flowers in their windows (If you're in the city, definitely check them out on Spring St)! They really are stunning pieces of work. Check out my photo below of one of the windows.

Also, on Kate's Paperie website you can download a template and make a wonderful paper daisy!


March 23, 2010

Gods & Heroes in the Washington Post

This review appeared on Sunday, March 21, 2010 in The Washington Post:

By Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart
Candlewick. $29.99, ages 5 and up

From initial startle to final analysis ("How did they do that?"), a well-made pop-up book is all about surprise; it's a further astonishment when the text is worth reading. Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart have dedicated "Gods and Heroes" to "all the educators who have supported our work over the years," and they have crafted concise and lively versions of many of the world's ancient myths and legends. But the ingenious paper structures that emerge from every spread and collapse back again are the big draw. First up -- literally -- is the Egyptian god Horus, whose falcon head extends over the top of the book and whose long human-like legs extend below. On the same spread, smaller and tucked away in corners, are no fewer than four other 3-D scenes, and this is a typical page in this exuberant book. In addition to the Egyptian pantheon, Sabuda and Reinhart pay tribute to such luminaries as the Greek gods, goddesses and heroes, Gilgamesh, the Norse "masters of battle" (including Odin with his flaming red beard and bright purple garment), the Polynesian volcano goddess Pele, China's Heavenly Grandfather, and the Aztec Empire's plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl. They all loomed large for centuries, and now they pop up in a big way.

-Abby McGanney Nolan


I like odd things, even more so when they are made out of paper. This should not be too surprising by now. So I was really pleased when I came across these little oddities shown here.

These rubber band-activated paper toys come in four bizarre flavors, which I have dubbed clown, devil, yokel and shrew. I’m guessing these are not the original monikers nor the first stereotypes little boys and girls clamber after at the toy store. I’m also guessing they are from the 1970’s based on the artwork and original packaging.

In some ways, the box is even better than the toys. I don’t know if I’m more scared by the heavy lidded children or the “new-astonishing” pop-up Pop-ettes. Needless to say, I could find no information on these little critters or the manufacturer on the Internet, but maybe that is just as well. I can’t imagine these being a big seller or that many sets survived the ages. Which is a pity as there must have been a second “animals” version with the coveted tiger Pop-ette. So in the interest of posterity I introduce you and the rest of the web to these unique pop-up toys. “They snap! They Pop! They Chatter!” boasts the packaging for these four puppets. These Pop-ettes do more than that…they totally freak me out, and I love them for it.


6 Easy Pieces

I picked this book up the other day and I've been reading it in every spare moment I get:

Feynman was a pretty crazy guy! When I was younger I read his autobiography, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" and it definitely changed some of the ways I look at the world and approach problem solving.

"Six Easy Pieces" is amazing! Feynman's discussion about atoms, the electromagnetic field and energy is actually pretty easy to understand (as the title would lead you to believe) and he provides plenty of analogies to help you visualize the concepts. I haven't gotten to the chapter on the theory of gravitation yet but I can't wait!


The Collector - Continued

Last year, I had posted about my Kidrobot Dunny collection and I have acquired one of my favorites! This little magical guy is from the company Shawnimals. Definitely check out their website. They have created an entire world of characters-- including a map of the world! The best land is Moustachio Territory (well, in my opinion). Enjoy exploring Shawnimals!


Sesame Street

If they had this when I was watching Sesame Street I'd be a rocket scientist by now.

Its the lovely Feist making her famous song 1,2,3,4 adaptable to cognitive learning skills and counting monsters. As well as imprinting herself on the impressionable minds of the next generation.

Plop the kids down in front of the old computer and enjoy!


March 15, 2010

Interviews on

from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 13, 2010:

What inspires you?

Robert: I think that inspiration comes from the experiences of my everyday life. I’ll read about something or someone and say “wouldn’t that make a wonderful book?” I’m also inspired by other authors and artists like Matthew Reinhart. Since we work together in the same studio, sometimes I’ll see him make an amazing piece of art and I’ll get so excited and inspired that I have to get right back to work creating!

Matthew: Everything around me —whether the gargoyles on buildings, food packaging in the grocery store or even good music.

How much do you love your job?

Robert: I am thankful every day to have such a wonderful, fun, challenging job. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

Matthew: Very much—wouldn’t trade it for anything."

Read the rest of the interview here!

One of our good friends in the pop-up collecting world, Adie Pena, was also interviewed:

"Adie, who runs PLW, an advertising firm based in Makati, has been collecting pop-up books for about 18 years now. “It all started in 1987 when I came across a pop-up print ad of the famous San Francisco Transamerica Building in Time magazine. It simply blew my mind. Here was a child’s medium that actually made my heart skip a beat.”

Continue reading here!

March 11, 2010

Soon to be Spring

Spring is just around the corner, or so I am told, and it's never too early to see the blooms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. But if you're like me and it's still too cold to hang around outside, you can always enjoy the garden's inside attractions: artist Emilie Clark's new show 'My Garden Pets' is having an open reception on Sunday, March 14th from 1 - 3 pm. These cool water colors show a neat cross-section of any garden's seedy underbelly.

The show is open until the 31st of May. (And there is a rumor the garden is free on weekdays during the winter but you didn't hear it from me.)

Stay warm,

Thomas Allen

I don’t write fan letters often. In fact, I can count them on one finger. Yet, a few months ago, I visited Foley Gallery in Chelsea for the latest exhibit from Thomas Allen. I was so blown away by his latest and (final!?!) series that I had to let him know how much I appreciated the art. He mentioned that his creations are inspired by pop-ups so I thought it only fitting to take a piece of his full circle and make a pop-up out of one of his images.

Allen is one of my favorite artists and it’s not hard to see why I’m head over heels for his work. He cuts and manipulates old pulp book covers into arresting compositions and then photographs them with selective focusing and great lighting. I first learned about his work when the studio received a copy of the great Uncovered book from Aperture in 2007, and I have been following the artist ever since.

The cut paper…the dime-store detective novels…the clever arrangements…it’s like the work is genetically engineered to appeal to many of my diverging interests. I cannot wait to see what Thomas Allen decides to do next!


Paper Artist Charles Clary

I recently found out about this artist from an article on Wired's website so I looked him up. Charles Clary's work is slightly similar to Jen Stark's, in that he uses layers of cut-outs in paper to show depth in his pieces. However, his shapes are more organic, and extremely mesmerizing!

Can you believe it's hand-cut?

MANY more pictures of Charles's work can be found on his blog:


Maira Kalman

In one of the design blogs I follow, I found out about this exhibition at the Julie Saul Gallery in NYC. The exhibition is of Maira Kalman whom I am not familiar with... though it seems that I may have seen her work before. She has illustrated many New Yorker covers, children's books, and even backgrounds for theater! I'm going to visit this exhibition of her work that is mainly in gouache and of her travels.


March 9, 2010

Gods & Heroes in the Boston Globe

Sunday, March 7 2010:

"I, along with the rest of the children’s book world, have long been an admirer of the exquisite paper-engineered books of Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda. To call them pop-ups is a gross understatement of their intricate complexity and art. From “Alice in Wonderland’’ to winter scenes to encyclopedias of dinosaurs, Reinhart and Sabuda have created some of this century’s most marvelous books. But “Encyclopedia Mythologica: Gods and Heroes’’ may well be their best work yet."

Read the rest of the review here!

Printing with Paper, Not Ink

There has been a lot of talk among my friends about 3D printing lately, especially since some fellow members at NYCResistor have a company called Makerbot which sells a DIY kit for a 3D plastic printer you can build yourself.

But now a company has made one that uses paper as its raw material instead of plastic! Check out the examples of what it can do around 2:03 in this video:

More info at Mcor Technologies' website:


Posters are Not Dead

Heads of State are a great design duo. Just like one of my previous posts on Jolby, Heads of State are a true collaboration. One of the designers lives on the West Coast, while the other lives in the East. They produce some of the best music posters out there, in my humble opinion. Check them out here:


Jim Tierney

I received a letter from a former student that recently graduated from Pratt Institute. This is pretty rare as I can barely get my current students to contact me. Dylan was a welcome addition to my paper engineering course and brought an enthusiasm to the class that matched his ambitious designs. It looks like his zeal continues to this day when he shared a link to an amazing book cover designer.

Jim Tierney is currently an illustration student at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. For his senior thesis he has reimagined the book design of four famous Jules Verne tales. Each of the titles utilizes a different material or technique that compliments the theme of the book. Some have volvelles or pull tabs, while others employ clever diecut or transparent overlays. Check out his blog for some great close-ups of the covers, bookwraps and endpapers. There is even a great video that I first saw at Faceout Books that shows these books in action.

No need to wish Jim luck as I am positive he will find many commissions for his beautiful book designs now that he is graduating. I just hope Dylan and the rest of my students keep me posted when a publisher picks these up and I can get my own copy to display on my shelves.


Double Vision

Check out these stereoscopes of life in late 19th century Meiji-period Japan. Photographer T. Enami (1859-1929) captured these images that show many different scenes of daily life in the towns and countryside.

The 3D quality of the animation of these images together makes the people look move contemporary in a way that old black and white photos fall short.