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The Book Keeper

I have finally finished a project very close to my heart. An artwork for my amazing Mum. She has always encouraged my passions and gave me every opportunity to visit galleries, museums and attend art classes.

It was only fitting that I made a work for her to say thank you. So in November 2013 I began working on 'The Book Keeper'. I finally finished it in March 2015!

I've had many people ask how I get from an idea to the final pop-up work. So, I have added a few photos of my processes and methods below. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into the very insular world that is my art studio.

Making a Pop Up Artwork

I had a pretty clear idea in my head of what I wanted to make. I began with making the individual books. They needed to be able to collapse so I made them with two parts: the white for the illusion of pages and the coloured part to look like a book cover. The next part I worked on was the bookshelf and its' books. This was a long process! Firstly, I needed to design one that would fold up without damaging any other aspect of the pop-up plus, I also needed the books on the shelves to collapse. Once the design for the shelf was chosen I set about making the books for it. Initially, each shelf of books was made as one single piece. As I added the coloured paper (to look like book spines) I needed to individually separate each book as they were designed to sit at different lengths like actual books on a shelf.

I also made the base for my book from white card. It was made to the actual size I intended the work to be as I needed to be conscious of pop-up aspects folding beyond this. It did limit the work to the edge of the paper but it also meant I didn't create unnecessary negative space in the work I would then need to fill.

My next step was to design the floor. I already had a rough idea for this and set about drawing and finalising my colour palette for it. Once my design was final I began cutting each colour block out of paper.

Each piece was then glued down into the design onto a cream paper and then glued into the final artwork.

Now it was time to make my figure. I always make templates of each pop-up part in my books. These are usually made with plain card while I test the engineering and design aspect of the pop-up. Once I have my template I take it apart and make it again with better quality paper. The final figure of my Mum was made with 13 separate pieces.

The last big aspect of the piece before I begin putting it together was the back panels. Working with watercolours, I set up panels of paper and slowly built up the intensity I desired. The side panels were made as separate pieces to help strengthen the core of the work.

I had intended to also add a layer of some old embossings I had made years ago from a linocut I had made. They were to add to the effect of being up above the clouds - and the staircase of books was to add an element of the fantastical.

Once they were finished I began the slow process of gluing it all together. Above is a photo of the piece before the figure and books have been added and how it looks folded. At this point I normally make the book cover for the work from scratch to match the size of the work.

The final process was stragetically placing and gluing each individual book one by one and handpainting the title on. I hope you enjoyed this little window into my work and processes.

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Anne Kucera

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