Paul Johnson, “Mystery Garden”

Front view

Spine view

Open book


Paul Johnson (Cheshire, England)

Mystery Garden
Unique pop-up carousel book
28 x 35 x 50 cm open
28 x 35 x 35 cm closed

This unique carousel pop-up book is made from over two hundred single sections joined with dovetail hinges and interlocking units. There are no folds and so no spring action or paper fatigue. The accordion design swings into a circle so that the final spread touches the open back cover.

The window covers are joined to the sculptural spine with paper piano hinges. As the whole book has hollow covers it is extremely light in weight.

Various weights of Saunders Waterford watercolour paper are dyed with industrial textile dyes. These are overlaid with watercolour brushwork, pen line work and gold inlays. The whole process from dying the paper, through paper engineering to the final construction takes about one month (200 hours).

Japanese multi-woodblock printing — especially the work of Hokusai — inspires its concept and design as well as Japanese gardens and tea houses. The meditative text meandering through the book is a reflection on the garden as a place of refuge and delight. It draws on ornamental gardens through the ages from those in medieval monasteries to those associated with 17th Century Persian palaces.