On display through June 2013
Special Collections Reading Room
Pop-up books have become a familiar sight in bookstores, libraries and personal collections. Walker Library’s Special Collections department currently holds more than 400 examples of movable and pop-up books, many of which date to the 19th century. For this exhibit, 31 titles have been pulled out of the collection to highlight the work of the artists and paper engineers who specialize in the design and construction of pop-ups. Unfortunately, we don’t know the names of all the designers associated with these books but we can still appreciate their creativity and imagination.
Most pop-up books, even those that look very complex, are based on a few structures and the movement created by opening up a folded page. The aim of this exhibition is to describe and illustrate some of the basic building blocks in the paper engineer’s arsenal. V-folds, floating layers, scenery flats, boxes and pivots are just some of the components which can be used on their own or in combination to create a wide array of pop-up illustrations.
Anyone wanting to create a pop-up must first master the mechanics, but creativity and quality craftsmanship give pop-ups their “wow” factor. The paper engineer is primarily responsible for the success or failure of a project but many people are involved along the way including assemblers who fold and glue each pop-up into place. In a world increasingly dominated by electronic books and e-readers, pop-up books give us an opportunity to appreciate craftsmanship and the visionary eye of an artist.
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