February 28, 2011

Whats Popped Up: Childrens Literary Salon

I love going to the library and peruse shelf after shelf of treasured (and sometimes forgotten) books. And few libraries are as impressive as the main branch of the New York Public Library. In this increasingly digital age, I am pleased to see that the library can continue to be a focal point for research and community involvement.

To that end, I am pleased to participate in this month’s Children’s Literature Salon at Children's Center in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street. The Children’s Literary Salon is a monthly gathering of adults who are fans of children’s literature. Professionals, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, teachers, and anyone else interested in the field are welcome to attend our meetings. The Literary Salon provides a rotating series of talks with professionals in the field, and great conversation. This program is for adults only and is a first come, first seated event.

The clever paper engineer, Sam Ita will be sharing the microphone with me as we discuss all things pop-up. Elizabeth Bird will make sure we don’t stray too far off topic and moderate the informal hour-long. So, if you are in Manhattan this Saturday, March 5th, please join us in room 84. The event will begin at 2 pm and you can find directions to the event here.


Word of the Day: Sylvan

Sylvan \SIL-vuhn\ adjective

1. Of or pertaining to woods or forest regions.
2. Living or located in a wood or forest.
3. Abounding in forests or trees; wooded.

Sylvan derives from Latin silva, sylva, "a wood or grove".

February 24, 2011

Vintage Movable Review: Space Shuttle Action Book

Vic Duppa-Whyte was out of this world. He was a gifted paper engineer in England that created some of the most inventive pop-up designs in the 1980’s. In fact, David Carter and other folks that worked with him through Intervisual Books noted that Vic’s creations were so advanced at the time that they could not be produced. Luckily, there is a half dozen titles were released that bare his name. All of them are amazing. Today we check out the The Space Shuttle Action Book from 1983. Published by Random House and produced by Carvajal in Columbia, this introduction to the space shuttle houses many inventive pop-ups.

The NASA space shuttle program had just begun when the book came out and Vic does a great job right out of the gate with creating the excitement of exploration of space. As we open the first page, one pulls a tab and the anticipation builds with a four second countdown before the rockets fire and the pop-up shuttle lifting off the page. Another clever construction is a pop-up cockpit complete with functional joystick that changes the forward view as the shuttle tilts left or right with the aid of a single black thread.

The space shuttle program may be ending this year, due to soaring costs and privatized ventures, but this book will continue to send me to the moon for years to come.


Word of the Day: Slugabed

Slugabed \SLUGH-uh-bed\ noun

1. One who stays in bed until a late hour; a sluggard

Origin: Slugabed is from slug, "sluggard" + abed, "in bed".

February 23, 2011

Weekly Beast: African Naked Mole Rat

This bizarre rodent from Africa proves once again that truth is stranger than fiction!  The hairless, eyeless appearance which these digging mammals have developed to adapt to their environment creates a mixed reaction of disgust and curiosity in those who first view them.  But even more strange then how they look is how they live.  Though mammals, naked mole rats are cold-blooded and unable to regulate their own body temperatures internally.  For rodents they live to an extremely old age, sometimes up to 28 years!  Most unusually is the fact that all naked mole rat babies are produced by one rat queen and three or four males.  The rest of the colony members do not reproduce and act as workers like ants or bees!


History Lesson: Mardi Gras

On February 27, 1827 a group of students donned masks and costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana.  This marked the beginning of Mardi Gras celebrations in the city.

The celebration of Carnival (which is the weeks between the Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday) spread from Rome across Europe and then was later carried over to the Americas.  French settlers brought the tradition of Mardi Gras to Louisiana at the end of the 17th century, but Spanish governors of the province later banned Mardi Gras.

In 1833, and rich plantation owner by the name of Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville rasied money to fund an official Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Thus began well organized and over the top floats, parades, and costumes.

Word of the Day: Peregrination

Peregrination  \pehr-uh-gruh-NAY-shun\ noun

1. A traveling from place to place; a wandering.

Origin: Peregrination  comes from Latin peregrinatio, from peregrinari, "to stay or travel in foreign countries," from peregre, "in a foreign country, abroad," from per, "through" + ager, "land".

February 22, 2011

Word of the Day: Bailiwick

Bailiwick \BAY-luh-wik\ noun

1. A person's specific area of knowledge, authority, interest, skill, or work.
2. The office or district of a bailiff.

Bailiwick comes from Middle English baillifwick, from bailif, "bailiff" (ultimately from Latin bajulus, "porter, carrier") + wik, "town", from Old English wic, from Latin vicus, "village".

Artist Watch: Josh Cochran

Illustrator Josh Cochran uses gorgeous color, rhythmic texture, and a unique line that is at once both confident and observing to create imaginative scenes.  His style is reminiscent of mid-century illustration but bold color and a fresh sensibility make each piece feel very current.  Josh's work has appeared in magazines  such as GQ, Fortune, Newsweek, Runner's World, and Wired.  His many clients include Nike, Pepsi, MTV, and United Airlines.


February 21, 2011

What’s Popped Up: Magic Circus Tour

Gérard Lo Monaco is a busy man. We got a sneak peek at some of his new titles a month ago when the 3rd Salon took place in Paris. I was eager to get my hands on his work and lo and behold we have a copy of The Magic Circus Tour before us today. The carousel book was released at the end of 2010 by the always inventive and playful Helium Editions in France. (The same folks who brought us Popville and 10 Little Penguins.) The five-sectioned book depicts some fun and familiar scenes of the circus and employs a paper engineering twist by rotating some characters upon opening. Check out the publisher’s blog for more photos and more information.

Besides being one of the artistic directors at Helium Editions, Lo Monaco is also a principal designer at Les Associés réunis, which designs colorful novelty and graphic books for children and adults. And by the looks of things there are many more great titles to come.


What's Popped Up: ACD Sleeve

ACD Sleeve does some really great and different packaging for CDs.  I found them through thedieline.com (another awesome website for packaging).  Check out the photo below of 2 cds popping out of the case!

And you can see it all in action here too:

Word of the Day: Gaucherie

Gaucherie \goh-shuh-REE\ noun

1.  A socially awkward or tactless act.
2.  Lack of tact; boorishness; awkwardness.

Origin: Gaucherie comes from the French, from gauche, "lefthanded; awkward," from Old French, from gauchir, "to turn aside, to swerve, to walk clumsily."

February 18, 2011

Listen Up: Radiohead

Happy Friday! And a joyous one indeed as Radiohead has released their much-anticipated album The King of Limbs a day early. Mavericks in musical distribution as well as song structures, the lads from Abingdon are offering the first Newspaper Album that comprises of a CD, two vinyl records, a digital download and over 600 pieces of artwork. I am always impressed with their output and feel that this new offering will be quite the winner. Listen up to ‘lotus flower’ for your self to decide. I am excited to hear all the tracks and if you are interested you can buy the album here.

~ Kyle

Word of the Day: Consanguineous

Consanguineous \kon-san(g)-GWIN-ee-us\ adjective

1. Of the same blood; related by birth; descended from the same parent or ancestor.

Origin: Consanguineous is from Latin consanguineus, from com-, con- "with, together" + sanguineus, from sanuis, sanguin-, "blood." The noun form is consanguinity, "relationship by blood, or close relation or connection".

February 17, 2011

Vintage Movable Review: Deering Mowers Movable

Another simple wheel mechanism on display today comes from a fun advertisement for Deering brand mowers and binders. William Deering boasts of inventing “the most complete and perfect line of harvest machinery in the world.” The six-inch square promotional shows a genteel competitor offering to sell a front-geared binder to a farmer who curtly replies “No Siree, The Deering All-Steel Binder is the best. You may skedaddle.” Then with a flick of the wheel the salesman is booted in the keister before the family dog chases him off the property. Looks like Deering wasn’t pulling any punches (or kicks) when it came to promoting his new machines. The card is credited to the color chromolithography firm of Sackett, Wilhelm & Bertzig of New York and I date the card to about 1888, based on other newspaper advertisements. Now, I too must skedaddle.


Word of the Day: Obfuscate

Obfuscate \OB-fuh-skeyt, ob-FUHS-keyt\ verb

1. To confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
2.  To make obscure or unclear
3.  To darken

Origin:  Late Latin obfuscātus (past participle of obfuscāre to darken), equivalent to Latin ob- + fusc (dark) + -ātus (-ate)

February 16, 2011

History Lesson: King Tutankhamen's coffin is found

On February 16th, 1923 archaeologist Howard Carter entered the sealed burial chamber of King Tutankhamen.  Carter and his team entered the interior chambers of the tomb on November 26, 1922 and found that the treasures and artifacts had remained untouched for more than 3,000 years!  But it wasn't until February 16th that he and Lord Carnarvon laid eyes on King Tutankhamen's coffin.

Word of the Day: Weal

Weal \WEEL\ noun
1.  Well-being, prosperity, or happiness.
2.  A raised mark on the surface of the body produced by a blow.
3.  (Obsolete) the state or body politic

Weal shares the Old English root wela with welfare and a host of other English words.  The ultimate source in Proto-Indo-European is wel-, which is also the ancestor of words related to will.


February 15, 2011

Artist Watch: Rob Ryan

Rob Ryan does some really amazing paper cut artwork.  Some with a laser and others are hand cut.  His pieces are very inspiring since we work with paper, x-acto blades, and glue here in the studio.  Check out more of his incredible work here: http://www.misterrob.co.uk/

Word of the Day: Saccade

Saccade \sa-KAHD\ noun

1.  The movement of the eye when it makes a sudden change, as in reading.
2.  The act of checking a horse quickly with a single strong pull of the reins.

Origin:  Saccade originally refers to horsemanship and begins as the Middle French saquer "to pull violently."

February 14, 2011

What’s Popped Up: Brooke’s Broken Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day! One of my favorite fine artists that work with pop-ups is Colette Fu. She is known for her large scale pop-ups that deal with various themes like Chinese ethnic groups, food and consumerism and haunted locations. In fact, she currently has an exhibition of her recent series “Haunted Philly” at The Athenaeum of Philadelphia until March 18th.

Last year, Colette travelled to California to collaborate with Duck Studios to create a series of charming pop-up inspired commercials for the Children's Medical Center in Texas. On February 5th the International Animated Film Society held the 38th Annual Annie Awards for excellence in animation. It was announced that "Brooke's Broken Heart" won for best animated TV commercial. Enjoy this heartwarming video today.


Word of the Day: Verisimilitude

Verisimilitude \ver-uh-suh-MIL-uh-tood\ noun

1. The appearance of truth; the quality of seeming to be true.
2. Something that has the appearance of being true of real.

Origin: Verisimilitude comes from Latin verisimilitudo, from verisimilis, from verus "true" + similis "like, resembling, similar." The adjective form is verisimilar.

February 10, 2011

Vintage Movable Review: Valentine Chalkboard Girl

I am a sucker for Valentine’s Day. The declarations of love, the flowers, the candy, the cards. There are many fine examples of pop-up and movable Valentine cards and love tokens. One of my favorite examples is a design I received a few years ago that was created at the turn of the century in Germany. A child stands facing a chalkboard and with the turn of the wheel they scrawl a message across the board. As the viewer continues to turn the wheel along the edge of the card the child erases the words and then starts again. A charmingly simple mechanism sharing a modest message – I love it.


Listen Up: Seven Nation Army

'Seven Nation Army' is a rocking song and also a great music video.  I love that the video takes cues from Russian Constructivism (an art movement in 1913-1940s) and uses the triangle motif along with the objects breaking the triangle boundaries.  What also makes this music video successful is the timing.  How the triangles and objects come to the front in sync with the drum beats and guitar-- as the song gets louder and faster the triangles come to the front faster.  Check out the video below:

And you can find out more about the White Stripes here!

Word of the Day: Skulduggery

Skulduggery \skul-DUG-uh-ree\ noun

1. Devious, dishonest, or unscrupulous behavior or activity; also: an instance thereof.

Origin: The origin of skulduggery is unkown.

February 9, 2011

History Lesson: The Beatles Arrive

The Beatles made their first trip to the United States on February 7th, 1964.  Thus "Beatlemania" also arrived in the states-- they were greeted by 3,000 screaming fans and just about started a riot at the airport.  The Beatles had just had their first number 1 hit six days earlier with "I Want to Hold Your Hand".  Two days after arriving in New York City, the band appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show where it is estimated that 40 percent of the U.S. population tuned in to watch!

Word of the Day: Adamant

Adamant \AD-uh-muhnt\ adjective

1. Not capable of being swayed by pleas, appeals, or reason; not susceptible to persuasion; unyielding.

Origin: Adamant derives from Greek adamas, adamant-, "unconquerable; the hardest metal; diamond".

February 8, 2011

This Week 2/7-11/11 At the Pop-Up Studio NYC...

Hello intrepid pop-up fans!

Been a while since I've updated you on our current projects - top secret stuff for now, but here's a little peek...

Been under some very tight deadlines, which we barely made, but now it's time to catch up. More news on this book project soon, which will be released in the Fall 2011. Fun stuff to be sure!

Now onto the next project... no time to stop now!

XO - Matthew

Weekly Beast: The Tuatara

Sometimes called a "living fossil" the Tuatara is a very rare reptile that lives only in New Zealand. It is fascinating for many reasons. First, though it looks like a lizard it is from a different group called Sphenodontia which are related to both snakes and lizards. Second, they have two rows of teeth on top that close over a single row of teeth on the bottom. No other living species on earth has this strange tooth configuration! Third and perhaps most intriguing the tuatara has a third eye on top of its head. It's function is not really known but it is theorized that it uses this eye to sense the position of the sun for navigation and/or to absorb sunlight to form vitamin D. The tuatara along with many other species native to the secluded islands of New Zealand was nearly wiped out when human travelers arrived bringing new diseases and new animals, especially Rattus exulans the Polynesian Rat.

Artist of the Day: Alex Katz

Alex Katz is an influential painter who is often associated with the Pop art movement. A frequent subject of his work has been his wife Ada. Katz is known for his bold, precise, brush strokes and graphic treatment of space.

Though flatness is usually an element of his paintings his subjects are rendered with keen observation and often warm familiarity.

- Will V.

Word of the Day: Foofaraw

Foofaraw \FOO-fuh-raw\ noun

1. Excessive or flashy ornamentation or decoration.
2. A fuss over a matter of little importance.

Origin: Foofaraw is perhaps from Spanish fanfarrón, " a braggart".

February 4, 2011

Word of the Day: Chichi

Chichi \SHEE-shee\ adjective

1. Affectedly trendy

Origin: From the French word that literally means "curl of false hair"; used figuratively in the phrases faire des chichis, "to have affected manners, to make a fuss"; and gens á chichis, "affected, snobbish people".  Sometimes spelled "chi-chi".

Listen Up: Vampire Weekend 'Cousins'

The video for 'Cousins' by Vampire Weekend has a special place in my NYC memories;  I actually saw them filming this video in Chinatown!  At the time I had no idea what it was or who it was that was doing the video shoot as I walked on by.  And then months later, I saw the video and recognized the alley, the track that was laid down, and the big painted bulls eye!  To see more of their off beat videos, check out Vampire Weekend's site!

February 3, 2011

Word of the Day: Satori

Satori \suh-TOHR-ee\ noun

1. In Zen Buddhism, the state of sudden indescribable intuitive enlightenment.

Origin: Satori is a term from Zen Buddhism that derives from the Japanese word meaning "to awaken"

Vintage Movable Review: Ha-Ha Farm

I learned about Carlyle Leech when I came across the 1943 release of the Hide and Seek Riddle Book a while back. Carlyle was a children’s book creator that was most prolific in the 1940’s. In 1944, he teamed up with his wife, Thirma, to create Ha-Ha Farm, which is advertised as an animated laughing animal book. That is exactly what we get here. I must confess that I purchased this more for the disarming illustrations than the mechanics. The format is a tried and true pairing of rhyming verse and movable element. In this case, a popular farm animal is caused to “laugh” at the swing of a single pivot rocker tab. I wish there was a sequel called Ha-Ha Safari, so I could see the hyena in action. My favorite farm animal is the cow that rolls the whites of her eyes when uttering a jolly “Moo” as if she was reminded of the classic joke. Q: “Why do cows wear bells?” A: “Because their horns don’t work.”

Looks like new generations can get in on the fun because the Laughing Elephant published a reprint of the book in 2009. No joke.


History Lesson: Groundhog Day

On February 2nd in 1887, Groundhog Day is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  Groundhog Day has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog.  German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition but with groundhogs, which are plentiful in the Keystone State.

The holiday is similar to the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter.  The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be.  In Scotland the tradition may also derive from an English poem:

As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop

According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.  And this year, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow!  Hooray for an early Spring!

February 2, 2011

DIY Pop Up: Valentine's Pop Up Card

With Groundhog day almost done (hooray early Spring!) and Valentine's Day around the corner, why not stop over to matthewreinhart.com and make your valentine a pop-up card?  Click here to go directly to the Valentine Day card.

*As a reminder, when you click the images to download to print out, choose the "save link as" option and make sure it's a pdf.  Also you can choose to "open link in new window" and print from there.  This way you will print out the correct size card and pieces.

Artist Watch: Brian Dettmer

I don't remember how or when I stumbled upon Brian Dettmer's work, but that is besides the point.  His work consists of books that he cuts away at.  I love the the process to get to the finished piece-- he seals the edges of the book and then cuts away page by page revealing images or words/phrases that are of interest.  Dettmer says on his website "...Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose alternate histories and memories."  Check out his amazing work here.

Word of the Day: Camarilla

Camarilla \kam-uh-RIL-uh; -REE-uh\ noun

1. A group of secret and often scheming advisers, as of a king; a cabal or clique.

Origin: Camarilla comes from Spanish, literally, "a small room," from Late Latin camera, "chamber" ("vault; arched roof" in Latin), from Greek kamara, "vault".