Saturday, November 20, 2010
Makin' it on your own
I’d like to share a not-too-terribly deep revelation that I just had. In this world of ours, you can essentially do two things*: buy stuff or make stuff. (Or buy stuff to make stuff, or make stuff to buy stuff. Is that four things? No, I think that’s still just two.)
Even though China has been trending more and more to the “buy stuff” end of the scale, one would have to say that, in general, it’s still closer to the “making stuff” end of the scale than the United States. (Look at the labels on your stuff, all you Americans out there reading this...)
From the “buying stuff to make stuff” category comes these examples of Chinese kids’ papercraft books. Papercraft, in case you didn’t know, is the craft of punching out patterns from stiff cardstock to fold and glue three dimensional objects. In the days before it was decreed all children should be entertained by Things on Screens, it was quite common in the States, and is now making a bit of a comeback in the certain sectors of the internet, and a few cool parts of the art world as well.
I don’t know the history of papercraft here in China, but it’s certainly alive and well now. Go to any bookstore or news stand, and you’ll find several books that will help the young artist fold their own missile-heavy futuristic vehicles. Or dollhouse furniture. With, aside from fold and cut animals like our friend the zebra above, not too much in between. (Did I mention that heavily gendered toys are common here as well? My favorite was the build-it-yourself hand gernade that Zekey put together last spring. I told him it was a radio...)
(*Yeah, yeah, I guess you can destroy stuff as well, so that makes three things. But that’s probably the subject of another post...)
Posted by Dave