Category Archives: Art and History

Illuminated Paper Sculptures

As paper enthusiasts, we are always looking around the web for exciting new ways to use our favorite medium. We recently came across this beautiful example while perusing one of our favorite art & design blogs: This is Colossal. These gorgeous silhouette sculptures (created by two artists called Hari & Deepti) are layered light boxes that consist of intricately hand cut paper and are back-lit with LED lights to create a dramatic effect that brings the whole composition to life.

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Be sure to watch the video here to get a fascinating time lapse view into the painstaking (though ultimately rewarding) process:

If you are as inspired by this great work as we are, be sure to contact us for your next 3D paper project and let’s see what we can come up with together!

The Flight of 300 Paper Doves

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Each year, an enormous yet delicate mobile is assembled by St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, Connecticut. The Pentecost Dove Mobile, designed by the late Roger H. James, “fills the chancel, rotates with the breeze, and symbolizes the Holy Spirit.” In a yearly tradition that began almost 15 years ago, parishioners gather to fold, thread and hang each of the 300-350 paper doves that adorn the mobile.

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The mobile’s designer, Roger H. James, was an engineer at Pratt and Whitney with masters degrees in mechanical engineering and computer science. He was a member of St. John’s for over 15 years and a very talented person who enjoyed organ repair, sailing and sailboat repair and Change Ringing of handbells. Today, Roger’s original sketches and engineering drawings are kept by his wife Darlene and two sons, who are also engineers. The drawings remain a symbol of the expertise and craftsmanship that went into creating the mobile.

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The design is rooted in balance. For the 300 dove version, a main support bar divides the mobile into two sections. Each section is then divided again three more times. This grid allows for 32 corners where strings of 4-5 doves can be hung using thread. Additional strings of doves are also added at the centers of the smaller bars to bring the total number to between 300 and 350. When the mobile is raised, it moves and spins slowly with the natural airflow to provide an amazing scene where the doves take flight on their own.

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The families of St. John’s continue to provide a new collection of doves each spring. The doves are hand folded using detailed instructions that are distributed with the paper squares weeks before construction. On the evening of the raising, everyone gathers with their doves to thread them together and suspend them from the frame. The mobile is raised for Pentecost (roughly 5 weeks after Easter) and remains airborne through Labor Day.

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Above, Roger’s granddaughter Katherine (shown top-right) contributes to the mobile. Roger (shown bottom-right overseeing dove assembly) also designed a larger mobile for Trinity Episcopal Church in Hartford, Connecticut in 2002. The large mobile (shown left) contained 500 paper doves, which when flying in formation actually numbered enough to set off the fire alarm within the church. Since his death, his plans have been shared with Episcopal churches in both Connecticut and Virginia, and the mobiles continue as great legacy which brings people together for creativity, community and worship.

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? The food is good but there’s no atmosphere… 

In honor of today’s full moon on Friday the 13th, we’ve raided our book collection and client portfolio to gather up some of our favorite space-themed pop-ups…


“Tip + Top on the Moon” by Vojtech Kubasta, 1965

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Back in 1965, when landing on the moon was still just a distant dream, Czechoslovakian artist, architect and book designer Vojtech Kubasta was already taking people there. His works were the subject of an exhibition at the Grolier Club in New York this past spring.


Evolution
by Raymond Hawkey, 1987

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You can’t timeline human history without concluding in space. Breaking the bonds of earth still remains one of mankind’s greatest achievements. The classic book details how we got there and what may be to come.


Sonoma State University / NASA SlideShow, 2008

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Do you know what a Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope is? We didn’t, but this SlideShow we created for SSU / NASA certainly peaked our interest. These interactive cards were commissioned to commemorate the launch of the telescope at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in 2008.


The Space Shuttle Action Book by Patrick Moore, 1983

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The shuttle program may have come to an end, but there’s no denying it was one of our most progressive periods in space exploration. This book features some of the most detailed Space Shuttle pop-ups that any enthusiast could ask for.


Star Trek: Giant in The Universe
, 1977

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No space collection is complete without an icon of science fiction history. Sorry Star Wars fans, but we’ve chosen to highlight the 1977 Star Trek book Giant in The Universe. It’s a great example of mystical pop-ups combined with space and imagination.

If you’re looking some great space themed cards we’ve done with our clients, check out the Software/Technology section of our Custom Gallery.

Top 3 Misconceptions About Paper

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When you live, work and play with paper, you end up hearing a lot of misconceptions about it. To help set the record straight, we’d like to share the top three that we encounter.

1. Paper is a dying medium.

True, digital is taking over many parts of life. Books, newspapers and magazines are changing format and gaining the letter “e” as a prefix. But as long as touch is still one of the five basic senses we know people will still want tactile things to hold, interact with and share. Objects pop-open on our screens everyday with little amazement or recollection. When it happens artfully with the paper in your hands, that experience is not easily forgotten.

2. Using paper is bad for the environment.

Every medium has its pros and cons. Do you know what’s in the battery of that smartphone, or how much energy is consumed by a server farm? Paper is one of the most recycled materials and the push for sustainable paper has never been stronger. Conservation isn’t about preventing progress, but rather using resources responsibly. That is why we continuously engineer our products to be efficient and lasting.

3. Paper is plain and unimaginative.

We see each piece of paper as a blank canvas. It’s a starting point for a world of creativity with a million different directions to go. It can become anything, and anything is possible. There’s nothing better than giving that sheet life by transforming it into something that naturally draws curiosity. If we’ve done our job well you won’t be thinking of that original sheet of paper, but we’ll know that’s where it all started.

To us, this is what paper is really about. When you need something captivating that stays in your audience’s hands, don’t overlook the power of paper.

Smithsonian X 3D

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At any given time, the Smithsonian Institution can only display about 1% of their complete collection to the public. Many of their artifacts are often fragile and irreplaceable, meaning they can only be experienced from limited perspectives in controlled environments.

So how do you display these items to people around the world? How do you share locations like archeological dig sites, or educate on cosmic events occurring in space?

Here in the digital age the solution is 3D modeling. That’s why the Smithsonian has introduced Smithsonian X 3D, a beta version of the 3D software that allows everyone to experience some of the greatest exhibits of science and history. There’s already a sampling of items that can be previewed by clicking Browse Models on their site.

Whether it’s unique museum artifacts or intricate 3D paper products, 3D models help further exploration and understanding. A single model can be shared with an infinite audience without the expense of physical samples or in person handling. Motion can be incorporated to demonstrate functionality. Colors can be changed to provide alternate appearances. The options are limitless.

To learn more about Smithsonian X 3D, check out this video. To see what we’ve been up to with 3D modeling, check out our BrandStand Business Card demo.

“Where Playing with Paper is Serious Business”

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“Where Playing with Paper is Serious Business.”

Yes, it’s our tagline, and we take it seriously. That’s why we’ve spent decades drawing, plotting, folding and engineering paper to turn it into practical messaging tools for business. Our inspiration comes from origami, the centuries-old Japanese traditional craft combining art and science.

Check out the 2009 documentary film, “Between the Folds” from PBS – this is paper folding like you’ve never seen or imagined it before. The film shows a handful of individuals around the world who truly play with paper and in doing so create wondrous art.

If you like our 3-dimensional pop-up cards, you’ll love this film. To view the complete documentary, visit http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/between-the-folds/

A Call to “Action”

We’ve taken the marketing term literally, and produced a brand new stop motion movie inspired by the magic behind our unique Pop-Up products.

Featuring the BrandStand and BrandStand Business Card, this film shares some of what it takes to design and produce these memorable marketing pieces: An idea that comes to life with a mix of talent, creativity and of course, magic.

There’s no need for 3D glasses here – we provide the real deal! So grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy your look inside our wonderful world of paper.