Artist Profile: Shawn Sheehy

The first time I met Shawn Sheehy, we spent an hour or so together in the pop-up book section at Powells Books in Portland. It was fun to page through the collection of movable books, oohing and aahing in tandem with another pop-up enthusiast. 

Shawn Sheehy, Hesperana, 2010, handmade cotton/abaca paper

Shawn Sheehy, Hesperana, 2010, handmade cotton/abaca paper

Shawn makes incredible pop-up books, often using his own handmade papers. He created this frog, which actually hops forward when you pull the tab, for Hand Papermaking Magazine’s Handmade Paper in Motion Portfolio. 

Here are a few pop-up vegetables from Shawn’s most recent artists’ book, A Pop-Up Culinary Herbal (this is volume II of The Plant Lore of the 21st Century series). A Pop-Up Culinary Herbal puts ancient medicinal theory into modern practice. Using pre-scientific logic, it links vegetables and their curative properties with 21st-century ills—both societal and individual. Though the cures are fictions, some parts of each listing are true: each of the 12 cultivars is an authentic heirloom, the listing of constituents is accurate, and the nutritional value of each vegetable is verified by modern science.

Pumpkin, from A Pop-Up Culinary Herbal

Pumpkin, from A Pop-Up Culinary Herbal


Lima bean, from A Pop-Up Culinary Herbal

Lima bean, from A Pop-Up Culinary Herbal


Corn, from A Pop-Up Culinary Herbal

Corn, from A Pop-Up Culinary Herbal

You can take a workshop or hear Shawn talk about his work in several cities around the country in the coming months. And his work is featured in Playing With Paper as well as Playing With Pop-Ups. His bloodroot flower is one of the projects in Playing With Pop-Ups. Here it is in action:

What is your favorite pop-up book (artistic or how-to)? Feel free to share it in the link below.


Playing With Pop-Ups!

Pre-order my new book and receive your autographed copy plus a bonus project: all of the parts and instructions you need to create a pop-up dandelion card. And receive a discount on my new pop-up alphabet, Alpha Blocks, if you order a copy of each book. Offer expires May 1, 2014. Click here for details. Thank you!

Playing with Popups Final Cover

2 comments to Artist Profile: Shawn Sheehy

  • I enjoyed the Tucson Festival of Books this past weekend, and had the good fortune to attend a presentation by Robert Sabuda, one of my favorite paper engineers. (I love Shawn’s work too!! And he has also visited Tucson, and taught a weekend workshop here a few years back.)
    Anyway, Sabuda’s mostly white designs are some of my favorites, as is his Wizard of Oz, with the wonderful spinning tornado!
    Mary Ellen

  • Helen

    That’s wonderful Mary Ellen. I love Sabuda’s work too and got to interview him for Playing With Pop-Ups. He’s very kind and generous. I love the fact that he employs students from his alma mater, Pratt Institute, and the pop-ups keep coming!

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I’m Helen Hiebert!

THE SUNDAY PAPER brings you stories and examples of people doing exciting, innovative, and beautiful things with paper, as well as link to interesting paperfacts from around the globe. Read all about it here!

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