Pence Gallery: Take a peek at pop-up children’s books

By From page A9 | December 04, 2013


"Botticelli's Bed and Breakfast," written by Jan Pienkowski and illustrated by Roger Smith and Helen Balmer, is among the pop-up books on exhibit this month at the Pence Gallery. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

During December, the Pence is hosting “Pop Up! A Private Collection of 3D Children’s Books,” an excellent exhibit to visit with family and friends during the holidays.

Based on the collection of Maria Winkler, an artist and professor emeritus of art at Sacramento State, the display includes gorgeous examples of historic to contemporary pop-up books by many well-known book illustrators and authors. From rare stories showing Mickey Mouse and Little Orphan Annie from the 1930s, to a selection of new books celebrating the winter holidays, “Pop Up!” is proving a delight for audiences of all ages.

Inspired by her own early love for moveable books from her childhood, Winkler also continues to enjoy pop-up books for their connection to sculpture. In fact, several of them are displayed in a 360-degree format, such as a rare doll house book from the early 1960s. Another example includes a Victorian house decorated with famous figures from art, including a bathroom with a robed David sculpture.

To teach some of the simple paper-folding techniques associated with pop-up books, Winkler will lead a children’s workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the gallery, 212 D St. Parents are welcome to participate as well. The cost is $6 general or $4 for Pence members, and participants will can make several different holiday-themed pop-up cards, and decorate them for sending out just in time for the holidays.

After the workshop, pick up one of the 3D children’s books from Winkler’s collection for a gift. She has agreed to sell more than 150 pop-up books not on display to benefit the gallery. The subjects range from science and bugs to history and fairy tales.

For adults, we are hosting a Collector’s Talk with Winkler from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at which she will open many of the rare books in her collection not on display, as well as talk about the history of the pop-up book. It’s a fascinating topic, bridging such wide-ranging themes as printing technologies and advances in paper engineering, to a focus on children’s books as a distinct literary genre. This is a free talk, but space is limited, so come early.

For the final time, we’ll give visitors a chance to pick up a pop-up book from her collection, including many out-of-print works. For more information, visit our website, at www.pencegallery.org. This exhibit is sponsored by Dick and Joy Dorf, Daniel and Sarah Hrdy, Miep Palmer, Pamela Pearl, Lyn Lofland and Mary Leachman.


Upstairs at the Pence, the figurative sculpture of Victoria Rose Martin is on display through the end of the month in an exhibit titled “Beasties.” Martin’s colorful figures are often children, with rosy cheeks and charming appearances, who play at the darker side of life. Inspired by fairy tales and myths, her work is sometimes seen as linked to an animistic theme, where nature is all-powerful. Beautifully sculptured and posed, these children are part wild, and part angel.

Not to be overlooked is our annual Holiday Market sale in our Dowling Community Gallery, which continues through Dec. 24. Including arts and crafts by more than 30 local and regional artists, it is a great place to find affordable and unique gifts for family and friends. Members receive 10 percent off, and if a visitor buys an annual membership for another person, they will receive a one-time 15 percent-off coupon.

— Natalie Nelson is executive director and curator of the Pence Gallery. Her column is published monthly.

Natalie Nelson

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