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2016 MBS Conference review

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We would like to welcome Charlotte Johnson as a guest writer. Charlotte is a charter member of the Movable Book Society and retired academic librarian. She and her husband both are book artists and collectors. She wrote a review about the Movable Book Society conference and also made pictures of the winners and their work. A great insight into a weekend that was all about movables and pop-ups.

A Quick Review of the 2016 Movable Book Society Conference

By book artist and movable book collector Charlotte Johnson, Edwardsville, IL, USA

This year’s biennial MBS conference was held in Boston, Massachusetts from September 15-17. As usual, it started with a Thursday evening registration, networking reception and a welcome from MBS Board Members Ann Montanaro and Shawn Sheehy and the co-sponsor’s Ticknor Society President Marie Oedel. An open mic period followed the banquet, allowing participants a chance to talk about various projects and upcoming events.

Friday’s program was kicked off by a video presentation by Olli Johnson titled, All Aboard!!! The Good Ship Ollipop!. This theater artist, musician and aspiring paper engineer put herself inside a variety of popup books and set the mood for the day. Darin Murphy, Head of the Fine Arts Library at Tufts University, then moderated a panel discussing Collection Development of Movable Books in Libraries. Librarians Rachel Resnick (Massachusetts College of Art and Design), Stanley Cushing (Boston Athenaeum), Laresse Hall (Massachusetts Institute of Technology & Rhode Island School of Design) shared their professional insights, while book artist, Laura Davidson, explained how she presented her work to libraries.

Entrepreneur Wombi Rose’s presentation, Inside Lovepop Cards, described the process involved in the creation of his laser-cut greeting card company, including his experience selling his ideas on television’s Shark Tank program. This was followed by a slideshow by Phil Weinerskirch on early movable books, such as Leonhard Thurneysser’s Archidoxa created in the form of an astrolabe in 1575.

From left to right: Graham Patten, Nick Danish and Shawn Sheehy

Following lunch, Laura Davidson presented her work and described her creative process, from idea to creation to presentation in Drawing from Experience. Next, book artist and proprietor of Naughty Dog Press, Emily Martin, presented The History of Tunnel Books. Kevin Steele, a graphic designer and book artist from Indiana University, led the conference’s hands-on project, the creation of Flicker Books before attendees headed off to see book exhibits at the Boston Public Library and the Boston Athenaeum prior to a wine and cheese reception at Bromer Booksellers.

Saturday’s continental breakfast was followed by the continuation of the conference’s silent auction. Ann Montanaro Staples then presided over the MBS’s business meeting. Suggestions were sought for newsletter articles, marketing ideas from Indexer and future conference sites.

Denise Price, the author, illustrator, paper engineer and publisher of Freedom Trail: Pop Up Book of Boston described her “Love Letter to the City of Boston” and invited attendees to join the Freedom Trail tour on Sunday morning. The conference’s keynote address, Working Sculpturally and Mechanically with Paper, was delivered by artist/designer Matt Salian, the founder of the Initiative Artist Studio. He described his use of paper engineering skills, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Michigan, to explain various scientific principles and shared many of his fascinating paperworks.

Photo credits: Charlotte Johnson

Book collectors and MBS founders, Ellen G.K. Rubin and Ann Montanaro Staples, shared The Origins of Movable Paper: An 800 Year History of Paper Engineering. The afternoon sessions started with a panel session called, Publishing Trade Pop-Up Books: Present and Future, by directors, Chris Paul and Kim Lanza, and editor Andrea Tempa of Candlewick Press. Paper engineer, Kyle Olmon, next shared Movable Books That Move Me: A Survey of Contemporary Pop-up Artists and artist, designer and paper programmer, Kelli Anderson, presented The Hidden Talents of Everyday Things describing her creations, This Book is a Camera and This Book is a Planetarium.

The silent auction, which ended at noon, raised approximately US $4,500 for MBS scholarships. The room was quickly transformed for book sales, swaps and signings that led into the evening’s reception and banquet. Jean-Paul and Denice finished off the scheduled conference sessions with A Video Introduction to BestPopupBooks inviting everyone to use their new website devoted to commercial pop-up books.

Before everyone said goodbye for another two years, the following 2016 award winners were announced: Emerging Engineer Nicholas Danish for Waterbirds of Michigan, Book Artist Graham Patten for Call Me Trimtab, and Meggendorfer Prize Winner Shawn Sheehy for Welcome to the Neighborhood.

Many of those staying for another day were able to enjoy Sunday’s Freedom Trail Tour in the morning and Jie Qi’s Light-up Card Workshop in the afternoon.

Watch our video reviews, discover books on our ranking lists, find the best pop-up books for kids and much more! We will also keep you updated on new pop-up book releases.

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