pop-up book resumes

instagram always manages to make things look a zillion times nicer. my goal this morning was to get the pop-up looking as good in real life as it does in this shot

instagram always manages to make things look a zillion times nicer. my goal this morning was to get the pop-up looking as good in real life as it does in this shot

Last October I was asked to work on a pop-up book. So I took on what I believed to be a challenge, not only because of the technical aspect of it but the subject matter itself: the migration of Palestinians to Kuwait in the early 50s, and its footprint on Kuwaiti society. I like to think of myself as an unrestricted artist, and here I was faced with a subject matter that I didn’t necessarily care to draw or paint, even though I’m a huge proponent of the Palestinian cause and was once married to a Palestinian man. My children are half-Palestinian. But I just don’t work like that. I tried to interview different Palestinians who had been here since that time (I even spoke to the first Palestinian born in Kuwait!), but that didn’t yield me the anecdotes that I wanted-whimsical, poignant, funny.

So a week ago, I was having lunch with my in-laws and I commented on how it had been really difficult to get some good stories. At the table, my sister-in-law Faten started telling me stories about her father, Ammo Mahmoud, and everything started to fall into place. From being befuddled and upset about the book for the prior few weeks, I finally knew exactly what I wanted to do. And this here is the beginning. Hopefully, if I get the OK on these first pages, everything else will be smooth sailing and  I’ll be over the moon. I’m a little over the moon now.

some of my notes from speaking to faten about ammo mahmoud. i have also heard many of his stories firsthand

some of my notes from speaking to faten about ammo mahmoud. i have also heard many of his stories firsthand

the most important thing i did yesterday was set myself up. this is the closest thing i've ever gotten to a laboratory

the most important thing i did yesterday was set myself up. this is the closest thing i’ve ever gotten to a laboratory

the measuring is a pain

the measuring is a pain

helping me with the pop-ups are these two books: one red dot by david a. carter and pop-up aesop by john harris and calef brown. i've also been learning from robert sabuda. not personally, unfortunately. but he has an amazingly helpful (and generous) website

helping me with the pop-ups are these two books: ‘one red dot’ by david a. carter and ‘pop-up aesop’ by john harris and calef brown. i’ve also been learning from robert sabuda. not personally, unfortunately. but he has an extremely helpful (and generous) website

the first panel for my 'tree of keys' pop-up. also the easiest one!

the first panel for my ‘tree of keys’ pop-up. also the easiest one!

two panels. so far so good

two panels. so far so good

it started going wonky after the second

it started going wonky after the second

cherished keys

cherished keys

a little write-up leading to the tree

a little write-up leading to the tree

ripe fruit

ripe fruit

i'm very happy with it. a serendipitous moment is when I got the paper dirty so remedied it with the keys on the 'ground'

i’m very happy with it. a serendipitous moment is when I got the paper dirty so remedied it with the keys on the ‘ground’

finally i got it done this morning. i woke at 3:30 and as expected, the first thing to pop into my head is this pop-up

finally i got it done this morning. i woke at 3:30 and as expected, the first thing to pop into my head was this pop-up

7 Comments on “pop-up book resumes

      • No doubt about it you are equal to the task. Just beautiful actually; the lines of each hand curving so elegantly. Are the keys symbolic of the keys to the City of David. There’s much controversy in Silwah I see. Very disturbing but we are chipping away. The trouble is, with Netanyahu et al, I fear for Palestine should the world turn further against Israel and Israeli Jews. And if the US should by some miracle turn also, what then? The price may be too high but having said that, “resettlement” cannot continue.

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        • When Palestinians were forced to leave their homes in ’48 and then again in ’67, many of them kept their keys in hope that they would return soon. Of course we know now that this would never happen. So the key has become an important symbol of ownership and belonging. And a hope for return.

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