My final class of the semester at the University of the Arts involved two classes covering the construction and thematic possibilities involved in creating a carousel book. Students spent one session learning a traditional method of folding three accordion books. These were then tabbed together to create this three-dimensional book form which can be read lengthwise or pulled into a circle (hence the name). Students then began to compose text and imagery into their books during the second class. Most finished a couple pages plan to finish the entire book by their final critique with Frances Osugi.
I love teaching how to streamline the production of artist’s books, but rarely get to teach this class because many book artists don’t make multiples. However, the seven book artists who attended the my production class at the Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut, were primed for this workshop–most had a lot of bookmaking experience on which to draw.
We produced an accordion book involving twelve various additions and reproduction techniques, and at the same time made jigs and templates for making more copies. Sadly, we only were able to produce one copy within the class time, but I will reorganize future classes to allow more time for multiples. The class also involved discussions on why to produce multiples, how many to produce, how to price the resulting work, and how to organize one’s workspace to maximize your efforts. Everyone was pleased to walk away with a sample production and lots of information on how to proceed with their bookmaking editions.
Many people don’t realize that fiber arts involve paper, too. There is a long history of papers created from all types of plant fibers, from flax to cotton to Japanese gampi and kozo (mulberry). Thus, I was not surprised to get an email from the Potomac Fibers Group in Maryland inviting me to give a presentation and class on paper engineering. This past Saturday was a full day. I gave a lecture on the history of pop-ups in the morning, and a mini class session for 21 students in the afternoon. Participants are shown here, smiling at the end of the day with completed pop-ups in hand. Thanks to everyone who attended.
The Virginia Center for the Book is a vibrant space in Charlottesville, Virginia, with letterpress and binding equipment available for use by its membership. They host a variety of shows, workshops, and other activities involving the book arts. This past weekend I taught a two-day pop-up class there with especially creative results. I’m always delighted when teaching basic pop-ups forms to find new interpretations for them, and these students excelled in coming up with interesting designs. Plus, they were a boisterous group, which made the class especially fun!
I just spent two days working with the Lab School teachers at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Lab School is an innovative new middle school program which incorporates lessons in science, technology, engineering and math concepts within hands-on projects. On Monday, all the teachers tried their hand at building an in-line motor with two handmade solenoids hooked up to a small 6-volt battery. On Tuesday I taught basic pop-up construction techniques, and we added electrical circuits and LED lights to the artwork. The most exciting event was when one of the teachers, Robert Munsey, completed a working 3-D printed rotary motor. To see a short video of the completed motor, click here. Also, a student project with Robbie’s motor lifting a washer.
Four full days of classes at Pittsburgh’s Studio at Contemporary Craft yielded lots of creative projects, from architectural pop-ups and spirals to carousel and tunnel books. Two days were devoted exclusively to pop-up constructions, and eight students worked their way through numerous structures, from simple cut-and-fold pop-ups to non-adhesive props and V-folds. The next class was a two-day workshop, one day devoted to carousel books and one to tunnel books. Everyone left with finished models of both structures. Aside from that, I had fun exploring Pittsburgh’s downtown strip full of ethnic food markets and specialty boutiques. Thanks to Leslie Wright for being such an enthusiastic and wonderful host!
My weekend started with a jaunty private workshop at Olivia’s beautifully-appointed apartment and studio in Pikesville, Maryland. Olivia, Meg, and Paula, all artists in their own right, spent the day with me honing their paper engineering skills and creating a pile of pop-up models. Olivia provided us with a wonderful lunch, and we ended the session with a “class” portrait of their completed works.
On the agenda for the next day was the Hagerstown, Maryland, Literacy Festival where I was one of some 15 authors signing books in the public library. A group of four teens was a highlight, wearing their favorite works of fiction, singing “These Books are Made for Walking.”
Immediately after Hagerstown, I drove to the Howard County Fairgrounds where the Sheep and Wool Festival was in full swing. I managed to get there in time for the border collie sheep herding event, and my husband Henry joined me for a walk through the pens to see the sheep, buy a broom for our farmhouse porch, and purchase seeds for the garden.
This unusual combination of events made for an exciting weekend, ending with the planting of kale and beets at the farm.