I’ve just finished packaging the first 40 copies of my newest artists’ book, Alpha Blocks. Would you believe that this project began in 1986? I was studying abroad in Germany for a year and stumbled across the font Block Up in an old letraset catalog. I was captivated with the idea of bringing the two-dimensional font printed on paper to life, so I decided to render it in three dimensions.
When I took on the task of writing Playing With Pop-Ups about a year ago, I started thinking about the font Block Up again. And since I have been producing artists’ books for the past 10 years or so, it seemed like a good fit to publish Alpha Blocks.
But oh, the decisions! First of all, I had to figure out how to design the font! Since the learning curve on illustrator could have caused me to have a nervous breakdown, I decided to hire a graphic designer, a former intern, Leah Moch Uvodich. She did the design work (to specification for the laser cutter) and this is what one of two pages looked like:
Prior to starting the layouts, I had to choose the paper and figure out the color and size. I opted against handmade paper, since it can be finicky in the laser cutter (machine made paper is much more regular in thickness). I chose Fabriano Tiziano, in part because I am traveling to Fabriano this summer, but also because it was the right weight for the project. I bought parent sheets from Meiningers Art Supply in Denver and had them cut the sheets down to 12″ x 16″ (the size of the laser cutting machine) making sure that the grain ran in the right direction. I hired Alicia Bailey of Ravenpress Studio to laser cut the paper in four colors: moss green, charcoal gray, blue gray and white.
This is how I received the sheets, so you will understand why I spent a good part of the afternoon packaging them!
I purchased these cool plastic cases from MakePlayingCards.com, designed and printed a small colophon sheet with details about the card set, and we’re good to go!
I almost forgot to mention that one of my favorite things about paper sculpture is transforming a single sheet into a sculptural form without removing anything, but just through pure manipulation (folding, crumpling,etc). Only a couple of tiny pieces were removed to create this alphabet, such as the hole in the letter “A”.
I made this video (with the help of Zach Mahone) to show the folded letters. Half of the fun is making them pop up!
If you’re interested in acquiring a copy of Alpha Blocks, there’s a special offer available through May 1st. See below.
Playing With Pop-Ups!
Don’t forget to 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!