To wrap up 2019 and in honor of Westerly’s 350th anniversary, the creation of The Pop-Up Book of Westerly brings to life vibrant graphic colors and movable parts featuring the magnetic history and community spirit of Westerly. The pop-up book, an initial creation by Lisa Konicki, president of the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, has sparked such amazing interest that a second pop up is already in the works for the neighboring shore community of Stonington.
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“The response from the community has been tremendous,” says Lisa. “It exceeded our expectations.”
And when we were kids who didn’t love a good pop-up that thrilled with all the tabs to pull and surprise of what pops up, but interestingly the audience for early movable books in past historical centuries were adults, not children. A pop-up book is a book with three-dimensional pages, with the term movable book applied as an umbrella term for pop-up, transformations, tunnel books, volvelles, flaps, tabs, pull-downs, and more.
The first known movable book was created by Benedictine monk Matthew Paris in his Chronica Majora, which covers a period beginning in 1240. Paris attached volvelles (paper construction with rotating parts) onto some of the pages which were used by the monks to help calculate holy days. In fact, books with moveable parts had been almost always used in scholarly works. It wasn’t until the very late 18th century that these techniques were applied to books designed for entertainment for children.
The Pop-Up Book of Westerly and soon to be created Pop-Up Book of Stonington can be enjoyed by children and adults and pulls together a variety of what both communities offer for arts, education, and history. “It’s a culmination of what the Ocean Chamber of Commerce is about, education, revitalization, looking at all the elements and celebrates the history of our community,” says Lisa.
She had her first meeting to begin the process of putting together the Westerly pop-up book in April of 2019, approaching community members and organizations to tell them about the unique project. Than she went to work raising the money, obtaining sponsors, hiring the illustrator (Lisa Szaro), and working with other local artists, and the book went to print in October of 2019.
“I had never done a book like this,” says Lisa who produced and wrote the copy for the book. “I like artistic projects.” The Westerly Pop-Up Book is a special project of the Ocean Community Chamber Foundation with 100% of the profits benefitting and supporting charitable endeavors and revitalization efforts in the community.
The Pop-Up Book of Stonington will feature illustrations by local artist Susan Pfeifer-Scala and include the Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport as well as other popular and historic Stonington and Mystic landmarks. Lisa hopes that the book will be completed by August or September of this year.
Come out to see the making of The Pop-Up Book! January 12 / 2 p.m. / Free /La Grua Center in Stonington (32 Water Street). Sneak preview of Stonington artwork, learn all about how the book was made, behind the scenes video and presentation.