We recently caught up with Barton as she prepared to make the trip to Nashville for her exhibit opening.
How would you describe the experience of reading a pop-up book?
Pop-ups are theatrical in their surprise, movement, and dynamic presence. They are small, hand-held magic acts, appearing and disappearing across the page with the verve of actors making stage entrances and exits, telling dimensional stories.
What is your favorite pop-up book?
It's hard to name a favorite pop-up book, there are so many I enjoy. However, The Pop-Up Book of Nightmares and The Pop-Up Book of Phobias come to mind. These books by paper engineer Matthew Rhinehart are fun, edgy, and utilize the pop-up structures beautifully. Of course, Robert Sabuda's books are incredible for their engineering. And Jan Pienkowsky's Haunted House is a sentimental favorite because it was the first pop-up book I bought for my collection. I was in Paris at the time, so that first copy is actually imprinted in French.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from varied sources: reading, historical references, functional objects (furniture, jewelry and kinetic toys), architecture, and other artists' books. The book is a flexible framework for these influences, and I enjoy mixing media and resources.
How do pop-up books teach young readers?
Kids often are led to believe there is only one right way to answer a question. This may be true on a multi-choice test, but in the creative sciences and the arts there are usually many approaches to a problem, and answers come from a sequence of trial-and-error steps. Figuring out how to build, alter and develop new pop-up forms reinforces the trial-and-error technique of discovery and invention, a critical element in any design process. For students struggling with written and verbal communication or with English as a second language, the fun of making pop-ups can break down communication barriers and lead to improved literacy and conversation abilities.