Friday, December 19, 2014

Three Dimensions out of Two: Eye-popping, Mind-blowing Paper Engineering

Julie Chen’s Cat’s Cradle, 2013, edition of 50 (photo: Sibila Savage)

Book Review

Three Dimensions out of Two: Eye-popping, Mind-blowing Paper Engineering

Pop-ups are intrinsically magical. As children, they offer us a peek into other worlds; as adults, we associate them with the wonder of childhood and exploring the multiple layers of narrative and illustration. When we’re first introduced to them, their complexity is both incomprehensible and inspiring. This book allows the reader to make sense of the magic inside pop-ups and teaches you how to construct everything from the simplest to the most complex structures.

Spread featuring Peter Apian’s Libro dela Cosmographia, 1548 (photo: J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester)

Spread featuring Masahiro Chatani’s Infinity

Author Helen Hiebert is an accomplished paper artist with an active studio practice and several books under her belt, so those of you who know her work will see an entirely new aspect of it here. Those of you who don’t know her work are in for a treat, as this book is the perfect place to start. The brief introduction provides a surprising history of the medium before diving right into its contemporary role. Chapter one outlines the basics of cutting, scoring, folding, and popping, complete with vocab and easy anatomical analyses of pop-up dynamics. Chapter two offers up fifteen projects to play with, and refreshingly clear diagrams, templates, and concise descriptions walk you through step by step. Even for those whose comfort zone ends with 2-D designs (I speak from experience), this book makes the 3-D realm eminently approachable. Hiebert then brings in expert paper engineers from around the globe and highlights their work and insights in the third-chapter gallery of 25 artists plus directory. With over 22 pages of templates and additional online and off-line resources, the book is a perfect combination of how-to instructions plus oh-wow images.

Step-by-step diagrams and templates

One of the 15 projects from chapter 2

As smartphones, tablets, and other digital technologies get us hooked with smooth reveals and animated interpretations of old book technologies, pop-up paper maintains its unique advantage: 3-D details can profoundly inform 2-D content when seen side by side, and there’s nothing like getting your hands moving in a book to then let it move your heart and mind. With their unfurling and unfolding, the transformations made possible by pop-up paper designs are the ultimate, original interactive technology.

Creating the rotating paper mechanism known as a volvelle

Playing with Pop-ups is an ideal book for art students, creative types, design professionals, and anyone with an interest in creating children’s books—or engaging books for people of any age. This is a book for makers.

Reviewed by Alta Price

• Flexibound, 144 Pages
• ISBN: 9781592539086
• Quarry Books
• 250 color photos
• 8.75 x 10.25 inches
• Published: Spring 2014
• List Price: $24.99

Shelby Arnold’s Tunnel Book

Elod Beregszaszi’s Corbusier Villa, 2012 (photo: Elod Beregszaszi)

Peter Dahmen’s Peacock, 2010

Featured Artists and Paper Engineers
Sam Ita
Jie Qi

No comments: