Learning the Art of Pop-Up Cards

Since returning from Japan, I’ve been moving and struggling with my next steps. I most definitely have been making steps and progress, but I’ve also felt underwhelmed. The impatient part of me that wants things to just click into place has struggled with the part of me that just wants life to move already, no matter what the pace.  I know, I know…first world problems. In other countries, people are struggling to eat and survive, and yet here I sit, trying to survive as well. A different journey, by all means, but still an attempt to keep surviving.

Given my recent frame of mind, I decided to do what I do best when uncertainty, confusion, and impatience take shape- I signed up for a class.  I had been considering a few classes to be honest. There was a course on natural dyes for paper and book arts at the NY’s The Center for Book Arts. There was also a class at a Letter Press Studio in Brooklyn that taking would also set you up for using the studio and machines for personal projects.  Then there was the course I did end up taking yesterday, “Pop- Up Card Workshop: Paper Engineering” with Sara Marie Miller. I’m sure there were a few other classes I had in mind, but I don’t recall them now, and the reality is that I had been eying the Pop-Up Card making class since I saw the first offering back in March. I went with my instinct and took the class my eyes had first found interesting, although if I had an endless supply of money, I’d have taken them all.

I’m glad I went with my first choice. Yesterday, afternoon I spent three hours with eight lovely ladies ranging in age and levels of paper knowledge. When asked to share two details about myself, I shared that I went to Japan to study Washi making and I own a stationery company, the ladies ooohed and ahhhed and asked for details.  Naturally, I freely shared, but I was interested in them as well. There comes a point when you have over-shared your experiences and it becomes boring even to yourself to keep sharing. Of course, I can replay my time in Japan to myself many times, but the time for me to share that period with others is coming to close. (Please note that doesn’t discredit a book, should a deal ever come my way!)

One woman in the group is headed to Italy to studying Italian paper binding and book conservation. She found my time in Japan extremely interesting. And because of that, I couldn’t not share with her. Our instructor, Sara, also found my trip to Japan fascinating. She told me after the class, that what I did was incredibly brave, but especially because I did it to make my stationery business different.   Either way, I was awed by these women. I was also awed by how many of them were looking for creative outlets and are invested in arts and creating art. Art really is an amazing way to change the world. To leave your mark somewhere in the world.  I hope that I can stay connected to the instructor, Sara, and even a few of the ladies in the class. 


Over the course of the three hours, we learned several techniques in pop-up card making (pull tabs, one-sheet of paper pop-up cards, layers, rotators, and “v lifters”) and there are still so many other techniques to learn, but I’m excited that I’ve got some basics under my belt now and can honestly say I’m excited to start working with pop-up art. I’m not sure how I can tie these into wedding invitations (since that seems to be my bread and butter as of late), but I’m excited to see how I can add these elements into my pieces and how customers respond to having more dynamic pieces.  Stay tuned for future posts where I delve into this more in connection to my art.

As for the class itself. It was great! I was tired because I didn’t sleep so well the night before and catching the bus yesterday morning from Teaneck to NYC proved to be arduous, but it was worth every minute. It was so nice to play with paper in a way I don’t regularly. It was also nice to just be creative and learn something new.

Oh, and about 3rd Ward, I didn’t take a tour of the full facility, but from walking around it to get to the studio space and rest room, I decided it is definitely a cool space. I plan to consider more class options there and should I find myself back in NYC to get a membership that allows me to use space at the facility to do work. If you happen to be in NYC and are looking for a studio option with some flexibility, I encourage you to consider 3rd Ward. The vibe is interesting and inspiring.

Below is a picture of the first pop-up card I made in class. To many, it appears pornographic, I promise it is not. It’s a zigzag line with eyes. I call this the inner monster, because if my anxiety about next steps had a face and a look, it would look like this guy:


 What it will look like in the future, has yet to be determined, but I’ll update you when I know.


Published by

s2 stationery & designs

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

Share your differences

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s