We had the honor to interview pop-up book collector Ulrich Tietz. Ulrich is 71 years old and a retired teacher from Germany with a very impressive collection of over 2000 (classic) pop-up books. He is married and has two grown-up sons.
BPUB – How did you become interested in collecting pop-up books?
UT – It has to do with the art in the 1960’s, in particulary the Op Art. Since then I’m interested in optic toys, optic illusions, 3D images, flip books, caleidoscopes etc. Above all I’m excited by the way three-dimensional effects can be achieved just by using a two-dimensional material like paper.
BPUB – What’s the first pop-up book you bought?
UT – On february 17th 1983, around 8:30 AM a college showed me, during a lesson, the book ‘Pension zum ewigen Frieden’ (Haunted House) by Jan Pienkowski and she whispered “Do you know something like this?” I did not and bought the book. So I got the virus.
BPUB –Who’s your favorite pop-up book author or paper engineer?
UT – Vojtěch Kubašta (1914-1992) was an illustrator and book artist from Czechoslovakia (the term ‘paper engineer’ did not yet exist at the time). He made over 120 movable objects, among them a lot of fairy tales, about 15 different nativity scenes, also city panorama’s, DIY sheets, block puzzles and many other things. He is my favorite because he developed simple but original and effective paper techniques. Striking in his illustrations are the details, full of humor and love, without being kitsch. For example, among the visitors of little baby Jesus (shepards, Czech visitors, three wise men) he has hidden a modern Santa Claus.
BPUB – How many books are there in your collection?
UT – Over the years I collected about 2400 books. But I don’t like mention that, because I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m a collector on his way to a spot in the Guinnes Book of Records. Other aspects are far more important to me: I used to make pop-up books with my students frequently, curated five book exhibitions, gave lectures and organised meetings with collectors. Furthermore I write articles for the magazine of the international The Movable Book Society. Since two years I have interesting contacts with literary scholars of the Bochum University, who are researching pop-up books.
BPUB – Anything else you would like to share with us?
UT – It’s important to me to be in contact with other collectors, most are from The Netherlands. We meet several times a year. It started in 1996 and has led us to some nice friendships. I have the wish, for the people in the field of pop-ups and movables, to get more and better connected.
Special thanks to Maaike van der Meulen