A Christmas full of Pop-ups

No, we are not taking The Thistle Bindery down the road of a pop-up store. Instead the pop-up I am talking about here is much smaller, much more intricate and very much more appealing.

Workshop Group Photos

Group Photos for December Workshops

In the past one month, the bindery successfully conducted two English Case Binding and one German Bradel Binding workshop for more than 30 participants. It was a bountiful month, with an extra amount of donation going towards our charity beneficiary. More importantly, the workshops were also conducted in Dec, the month of Christmas. Hence came the idea of creating Christmas pop-up elements within the book.

The inspiration for this series of pop-up workshops arose from a workshop conducted by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud during the Singapore Writers Festival in Nov 2014. The duo are graduates of the École supérieure des arts décoratifs in Strasburg, France. Since their school days, the duo had been creating pop-up books. In fact, one of the school assignment was modified and improved to become their first published book, Popville.

From City (their school assignment) to working prototype and finally published as Popville

From City (their school assignment) to working prototype and finally published as Popville

It was through Popville that I knew their works. The use of strong primary colours and simple geometric shapes told the story of how a rural church and its surroundings were surrounded gradually but irrevocably through urbanisation.

3 Pop-Up Books from the duo that I have

3 Pop-Up Books from the duo that I have

Since then, I obtained their later books such as Under The Sea and Wake Up Sloth, which highlighted marine conservation and deforestation respectively. Again, the use of simple graphic and a straightforward storyline were effective tools in creating awareness for complex global issues.

Intrigued by pop-ups, I decided to explore how pop-up elements could be incorporated into my bookbinding workshops. Much of the credit goes to Ai Ling and Kenji, past participants of my workshops and now able assistants in these three workshops. Ai Ling even created one of the three pop-up models we taught in the workshops. She taught us the simple but elegant Christmas Tree pop-up on end papers which uses the multiple V-cuts and valley folds to create a multi-tier tree.

A basic V-cut popup that is made into a multi-tiered Christmas Tree!

A basic V-cut popup that is made into a multi-tiered Christmas Tree!

In the other two workshops, I shared the symmetrical Christmas Tree which stands up when the book is open flat. The tree, supported on two V-shaped flaps, could also support several “gift boxes” attached to it. When opened, the elements rise up in a cascading form.

The standing Christmas Tree held up by a V-shape flap pasted onto the base

The standing Christmas Tree held up by a V-shape flap pasted onto the base

The last pop-up technique explored was the creation of a floating platform on which flat ornaments can be made to stand. The illusion is created using two collapsible hollow square tubes along the valley of the section. When opened, the adjoining tubes and platform (or magic carpet) lifts up and supports the decoration.

Creating a Floating Christmas Tree Pop-Up

Creating a Floating Christmas Tree Pop-Up

Definitely, devising the additional pop-up elements for the bookbinding workshops took extra time and repeat experiments, but the end results and the appreciative comments from participants more than made up for effort spent! More pictures of what we did during the workshops can be found at my facebook page, fb.com/thethistlebindery

Before leaving you with a warm “MERRY CHRISTMAS”, let’s take a look at this video from one of my favourite rare book dealer and his amazing collection of pop-up books, some even come with movable elements!

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