Carol Barton lecture at UVM Special Collections

I have been one busy monkey.

As I mentioned in this post, Carol Barton was coming to Vermont. Well, she’s come and gone – hence the busy monkey.

I had the best time. I am exhausted, but feeling very fulfilled. I will be writing a series of posts through the week about my experiences with Carol.

First let me say that I was very excited about the pop-up sign that I made for Carol. Unfortunately, I arrived at the airport 5 minutes after the flight arrival time – I was not able to have her come off the plane and see her name in boingy letters. I found her in baggage claim. I greeted her and handed her the sign, explaining my original intentions. Not as dramatic. Meh.

On Friday, Carol and I did some touristy Vermont things – Ben & Jerry’s tour, eating cheese samples at the Cabot Cheese Annex, (the new Tuscan Hand-Rubbed Cheddar is amazing!) lunch at Al’s French Frys, and walking on Church Street.

We then headed over to the Special Collections Department of the Bailey/Howe Library at the University of Vermont for Carol’s lecture: The History of Pop-Up and Movable Books. The library set up a nice display of both handmade (in a case) and commercial pop-ups (these could be handled).

Display of pop-up books at University of Vermont

Carol discussed how moveable books have had long history in medical texts. She showed slides of pages of human bodies where you’d lift a flap and see one’s inner organs. Or you could peel away the skin and muscle to see bone. There was also one that showed the birthing process from start to finish. I would have never imagined that such things existed.

Carol has spent a lot of time visually documenting moveable books/pop-up texts – including ones that are no longer accessible by the public. She ended the slide show by pulling out a copy of The Lookout, which she opened up while we were still sitting in the dark. Seeing it lit up in the dark was pretty cool.

Carol Barton lecture at the University of Vermont

Carol showed images from a plant in China where pop-ups are constructed (they manufacture her instruction manuals) and talked about how she was conscious about employee working conditions when choosing a manufacturer. The room the employees work in is immaculate (much cleaner than my studio). She said that she’s spent time in the factory and eaten in the cafeteria with the employees – this particular plant treats its employees well and pays them fairly. All of the gluing of pop-ups is done by hand – there are no machines putting those pieces together. It really gives you a new perspective on those intricate Robert Sabuda books, doesn’t it?

Overall, I’d say the lecture was a success – 40 people came and they seemed to enjoy themselves. The Special Collections department is interested in collaborating with the Book Arts Guild of Vermont for future lectures, which should be a great partnership.

Carol Barton signing book at the University of Vermont

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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