Book Arts

I attended a lecture at Loyola University by Paul Johnson last Thursday. I heard about Paul from my book artist colleagues, Jenny O’Grady and Jodi Hoover.


From the Loyola site: “Paul Johnson is a successful pop-up book artist with work in such collections as the Tate Gallery, London; the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York; and the National Gallery, Washington DC. Dr. Johnson has an international reputation for his pioneering work in developing literacy through the book arts. He has written books on making art books, and he loves to teach children how to make books.”


Paul insists that art has been on the decline since the middle ages, and he draws inspiration from medieval architecture, especially cathedrals.  Paul likes to take nursery rhymes and fairy tales and mash them together – stories like “Jack and the Beanstalk meets Goldilocks” or “Mother Hubbard and the Three Pigs.” Or, even, stories from the bible.  Then, he makes pop-up books.


All of his books can be disassembled and placed flat to be carried in a suitcase. He does not use glue, nor does he fold the paper. He uses joints to connect the elements:


He started making these books after he turned 40, and is now 72-ish. He leaves Britain to travel the world, teaching his methods and staying with other book artists.






Paul’s books are astonishing – not only for their detail and engineering, but also the cleverness of how he reworks classic stories into new ones.

On Saturday, Leezle and I were lucky enough to attend a 3 hour workshop with Paul. We learned some folding techniques, and we made some pop-ups.







Paul had a dry sense of humor and was a delightful presenter. He sells his work – both, the original books and editions. They are lovely and worth owning.

Death Salon – Mütter Museum


I’m very excited to say that I’ll be part of The Dark Artisans’ Bazaar at this year’s Death Salon, which takes place at the Mütter Museum! I’ll have a table with a lot of art and some new surprises. The Death Salon will take place on October 5 & 6, 2015.

The Mütter is located at:
19 S 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

As of this writing, tickets are still available.



It was a big trip – the first time I’ve tried having a table somewhere. The introvert in me still enjoyed every moment.


At last, I had Caitlin Doughty write a haiku for me in my copy of Smoke Gets in your Eyes


There were murder ballads at night. And lots of DEATH BANGS. And, speaking of which, I FINALLY got to have a real life, in person meeting with my pal and fellow Order member Sarah Troop (Nourishing Death and Death and the Maiden, etc.).


The museum itself is fascinating, as is the history of the founder. I had a private tour of the bone room and wet specimen room, and while it’s not a huge place, I want to go back and study the exhibits. There is a great Vesalius exhibit, the wall of 139 skulls and the Soap Lady. A huge amount to read and study.


I love the talks, the people and the Museum. I am very grateful I had the chance to be a part of this.