fish and tunnel books

Trade School workshop at FARM:shop, Dalston

Last Thursday I had the privilege to teach at the London branch of an International project based on the exchange of knowledge, called Trade School.

“Trade School is an alternative learning space that runs on barter. Anyone can teach a class, and students can sign up for classes by agreeing to bring barter items that the teacher requests.”

Thrilled by this idea, I decided to offer a workshop about what I enjoy doing most – three-dimentional books – and I picked the tunnel book, a simple version of pop up structure, based on multiple illustrated levels linked together by folded paper.

Edward Gorey, Tunnel Calamity, 1984

Andrea Deszo, Living Inside, 2009

I decided to introduce the class with some images of traditional tunnel books, together with contemporary works that amaze and inspire me, such as Edward Gorey’s Tunnel Calamity and Andrea Deszo’s “drawings in space”.

one of my examples: a found image repeated on different levels creates a cave-like surreal environment

one of my examples: looking at the scene through the peep-hole, the eye can only focus on one element at a time: this enhances the perception of depht

I also prepared some small examples to show the class the visual potential of such an easy structure.

Trade School London is hosted by FARM:shop, a working farm organized on the  floors and the back garden of a block in the middle of Dalston, East London.

A massive homemade organic cookie welcomed me to this peculiar space whose smell dragged me back to when, as a child, I used to explore my great aunt Giannina’s garden: infact, big basins full of fish and plants occupy the front room of the place. Lightly transported into sweet and sour Proustian memories, I set up the table with tools and found images, and taught my audience how to create imaginary worlds out of simple pieces of paper.

I couldn’t expect more enthusiastic, interesting and nice people to attend the course: each person interpreted the brief with their personal taste and this led to results that were very different from each others.

one of the works created during the workshop, Monty Python style

another book from the workshop: the peep-hole reveals a surreal world

a postmodern metropolitan landscape

A great experience worth repeating, under the wise eyes of Tilapia fish and the discreet chats of Lettuce sprouts.

tilapia fish


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