Thursday 12 June 2014

Playing with Pop-Ups, by Helen Hiebert

Playing with Pop-Ups

The Art of Dimensional, Moving Paper Designs

By Helen Hiebert

Quarry Books 2014

Paperback £16.99 UK, $24.99 US, $27.99 CAN

ISBN 978-1-59253-908-6

Star rating: ****


Pop-ups are the graduate school of papercrafting. They dazzle and entertain.  Also intimidate -  pop-ups are called “paper engineering” for a reason!  If you are a fledgling papercrafter, possibly even if you are more experienced, pop-up construction is the ultimate challenge and goal.  In this new book, the intriguing secrets of pop-up construction are revealed.  Plus, there’s lots of enticing background info to put you in the (unfolding) picture. (For instance, The Production of a Pop-Up spread is a fly-on-the-wall experience charting the production cycle of a pop-up book  -  from artist’s roughs to factory assembly.)

The author is Helen Hiebert, talented paper artiste and author of Playing with Paper. She networks with the best and the brightest in the papercraft world. For this book, she made a very shrewd call by assembling an ace team of contributors to provide the projects. The  term “pop up” is an umbrella term that covers many different types of interactive papercrafts. So, the format showcases the paper engineering skills in individual areas of expertise. In all, there are 15 projects by some of the world’s top paper engineers.

This book is full of delights. Amaze to the dissolving picture effects of volvelles (rotating discs). (Must try making a volvelle! I can see why they were so popular in the 19th century.) The slice-form Pop-Up City Skyline (Paul Johnson) will enchant you. The Carousel Pop-Up Book (Emily Martin) is like a miniature doll’s house and would make a fabulous gift for a child. The Pop-Up First Bank (Colette Fu) very cleverly combines pop-up paper engineering with a photographic image. You will also find a tunnel book, a yappy puppy finger puppet, and a pull-tab project. The book is not an  exhaustive examination of pop-up possibilities, but it does cover a good cross-section of paper engineering mechanisms.

At the back of the book is a spectacular Gallery section featuring the creations of  world famous paper engineers: Robert Sabuda, David Pelham, Carol Barton and more. Thrill to the amazing origamic architecture and feats of papercraft dering-do. 

The book does contain a template section, and some double-sided pages that are meant to be cut apart and assembled. I, for one, would have preferred more editorial content to the cuttable pages – because I have no intention of chopping up my lovely review copy.  The Resource section contains a tasty list of books on pop-ups that I intend to chase. Several unfamiliar titles (I thought I knew them all!).

This is a personal hobby horse: I do wish that the book had a look-in on digital papercrafting. Many hobbyist papercrafters are exploring digital pop-up design with their very own home cutting plotters and software. But this is an area that is often overlooked by paper artists. It is like the great art/craft divide. 

Playing with Pop-Ups would make a lovely gift for a papercrafter. Or, treat yourself. And check out the other titles in this excellent series: Playing with Paper, Playing with Books.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this title.

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