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Our project is SWELL: the art of Judy Millar, a pop-up book for children.

Actually, we are creating an artwork for children that is a pop-up art book! We hope it will be the first art work/art book in many children's lives. Although we suspect many parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles will be buying copies for themselves too. 

"We", the people making the book, are the artist Judy Millar, writer Trish Gribben and paper engineer Phillip Fickling. You may have heard of us.

Judy Millar is the artist who represented New Zealand in 2009 at the Art Biennale in Venice; she has studios in Berlin and Auckland. Trish Gribben has written for children ever since her Pyjamas Don't Matter days; her last art book for young people was BLAST! Pat Hanly the painter and his protests. Phillip Fickling, born in Seattle and now resident in Auckland, has "popped", folded and made paper works out of all kinds of figures, from hobbits to characters from Star Wars.

We have been working together on this book for more than a year. Judy has made new paintings especially for the book, Trish has written a poem and text, and Phillip has found new kinds of folds to make it all tumble and swirl in radical new ways.

Lopdell House Gallery (soon to reopen as Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in Titirangi, Auckland) is supporting us as the publisher.

We want to make this book special. It is a labour of love that will be expensive to produce. So NOW we're asking for help with the printing costs, to keep the book within reach of families.

Of course, being a "pop-up" means that each book will be handmade! With original art by Judy Millar, these books really will be a work of art.

If we meet our BOOSTED target of $7800, we'll be able to cover most of our printing costs. If we raise any more than that, then we can also donate copies of SWELL to art teachers in low-decile schools. So please give generously and tell all your friends.

Judy Millar's gallerists in Sydney, Zurich, Berlin and Auckland are so excited about SWELL they're supporting the project by advance purchasing 200 books each. But we still need a little more to get it off to the printers.

Please BOOST us. Every dollar will help.

Video thanks to Black Box Productions.



  • SWELL ahoy!


    Dear BOOSTED Friend,

    and Generous Donor to SWELL, the Art of Judy Millar.

    SWELL – The Art of Judy Millar in pop-up is coming your way on the high seas! The shipment of the book by Trish Gribben, Judy Millar and Paper Engineer Phillip Fickling is finally on its way, expected to land in Auckland in December.

    SWELL will be officially launched at Te Uru (Waitakere’s new contemporary gallery) at 3pm on Sunday afternoon, December 7. Of course you are ALL invited to be there.

    SWELL will retail for $49.90 but we would like to offer our BOOSTED donors a 20% discount -- $40, plus packing and post. If you come to the launch at Te Uru and plan to buy your copies of SWELL there, please just tell us you are a BOOSTED supporter. Or you can order a copy from the Te Uru website – just tell us you’re a SWELL Friend so we can give you a discount.

    You will be pleased to know we had a mock-up copy of SWELL at the Storylines Free Family Day at the Aotea Centre on August 31 and hundreds of children reacted with real delight and enthusiasm. Later it was shown at the Going West Books and Writers Festival and, again, “ooh” “aaaah” was the common reaction. We know your children are going to love it.

    Thank you all again. We are still heartened by your generosity.

    Love, the SWELL team.

    SWELL ahoy!
  • Dear BOOSTED Friends


    Once again, we want to say: "Thank you, thank you." You have all helped make our pop-up dreams come true!

    Now that our BOOSTED campaign is over, we're very happy to report that SWELL is safely underway with the printers in China and we hope to have a full-colour printed "dummy" for checking every detail by the end of this month.

    Once our Paper Engineer, Phil Fickling, gives it the thumbs up, production will go into full swing. It is expected to take about 50 days to make our 2000 hand-made copies. Then we have to be patient as the books are shipped down to New Zealand, taking up to four weeks. Lopdell House Gallery, our publisher, is metamorphosing into Te Uru and moving into its new gallery next to its old building in Titirangi during Spring, and the books will be due, say, mid-November, so we are planning a pre-Christmas launch in Te Uru by early December. We want to make sure Judy Millar will be back in New Zealand after all her commitments in Europe.

    You will be the first to know when we set the date. Our next update will be an invitation, and an order form so you can tick off your list all the children you want to make happy for Christmas --- or just your young-at-heart friends who love art.

    SWELL will be an art work like no other that has ever popped-up in New Zealand! We will keep in touch.

    Best best regards, the SWELL team, Trish, Judy, Phillip and Te Uru.

  • One day left... last chance to get on board


    Hooray and Hallelujah!

    We are thrilled and excited by the response. We look forward to keeping all you generous donors in touch with our progress, especially when the books are available.

    Thank you all.

  • Seven days left


    WOW! There are so many generous people out there. Thank you ALL so much. The extra donations that have come in will certainly help us to get our fabulous SWELL pop-up into some low decile schools and that makes us extra happy. We only have seven days left to add as many schools as we can through your generosity.

    Our exciting news is that the mock-up and disk with Phillip's brilliant design plans have arrived safely in China and the presses will soon start rolling to get the colour printing underway before all 2000 books are assembled BY HAND. The estimate is that the books will leave the printers in late August. Then we have to be patient as they are shipped down to New Zealand, and that can take about six weeks.

    Of course all you generous donors will be the first to know our launch date and how to order copies of SWELL. It won't be hard to decide on Christmas presents for the kids of all ages in your life this year!

    Image: Here are Phillip, Judy and Trish having fun designing the book - Judy is holding a cut-out of a paintbrush and you can catch a glimpse of the 'white book' version of one of the pop-ups in the foreground on the right 

    Seven days left
  • So close!


    Gosh, we can hardly believe how generous everybody has been in helping BOOST our SWELL project. At the time of writing, we’ve just reached 99% of our target, so barely more than a hundred dollars to go. Make sure your friends contribute too – we just need a bit more to get across the line and release the funding.

    An extra special surprise last week was receiving presents from BOOSTED’s first birthday party. Three people at the party were given $200, which they could donate to their choice of BOOSTED campaign – two of the recipients chose SWELL!

    Don’t forget that any money raised above our initial target will help fund the donation of SWELL to low decile primary schools. On average, every $8 above our target will get another book donated, depending on if they’re in Auckland, the North Island or South Island. So an extra $2000 will get books into all 250 decile one schools in New Zealand. Any more and we’ll start giving them to decile two schools.

    We know that getting young minds enthused about art and reading at such an early age will last a lifetime. Art teachers who have seen the mock-up of SWELL love it and can’t wait to use it with their children. (To say nothing of parents and grandparents!) So please tell everyone you know to help BOOST SWELL.

    Thank you everyone out there – Trish, Judy, Phillip and Te Uru

    Image: Judy Millar’s Giraffe-Bottle-Gun at the 2009 Venice Biennale of Art, which has been recreated as one of the pop-ups in Swell (see below)

    So close!
  • Giraffe-Bottle-Gun


    Thank you, thank you to all who have donated so far. It is a thrill to get your vote of confidence (and your generous dollars). We really are hoping the BOOSTED fund will push us well over the target so we can distribute SWELL to art teachers in low decile schools. It is going to be a stunning introduction to art for many children. The memory of Phillip’s pop-ups will be there for life!

    With BOOSTED donors’ support, the mock-up and disk will soon be on their way to China with all of Phillip’s plans for the printer to get the pop-ups perfect. Of course, there isn’t the slightest room for error in the printing and hand-making, otherwise the pop-ups would not work. It’s easy to understand our expensive production costs.

    As we show the mock-up around to different people, there is one question that always crops up: “Why did Judy Millar call her work in Venice ‘Giraffe-Bottle-Gun?’” Judy says the answer is easy: because of the shapes. When people saw the giant blow-ups of her brush strokes that were installed in the little round La Maddelena Church in Venice for the Art Biennale in 2009, they would comment: “I love the giraffe.” Or “Great gun.” Or “The bottle looks good.” The names stuck. Simple as that.

    Below you can see the pop-up that represents Judy’s Giraffe-Bottle-Gun in its ancient church setting. It is not a literal reproduction but the pop-up magically captures the SWELL of the work, breaking down the boundaries of walls and frames. This video will take you there.

    Hint: when you see the finished book, you’ll see that Judy has painted her own map of Venice for the background to that pop-up—that’s a fun thing to discover with a child.

  • Introducing the Paper Engineer


    We’re so thrilled that the Boosted campaign for Swell is off to such a flying start with a third of our target met in just the first few days, so thanks to everyone who has donated. We’ve still got a long way to go so please tell your friends to get involved too.

    Many of you will already know the work of Judy Millar and Trish Gribben but might not be so familiar with paper engineer, Phillip Fickling. Phillip has been designing and building paper models for as long as he can remember. “I started out making flying saucers out of paper plates,” he says. “Submarines out of refrigerator boxes. Scuba tanks from round Quaker Oats cartons.

    “Of course, when Star Wars came out it changed my life! For years I was on a mission to re-create every spacecraft design out of paper... Little did I know that 30+ years later I would be asked to design and illustrate the Star Wars Mega Model book! And they even paid me to do it — the icing on the cake!”

    There’s a great article about Phillip on the Hibiscus Matters website and you can keep up with his projects on Facebook. We think his unique interest in geometry and spatial imagery is a great match for the directions Judy’s work has taken in recent years, and the collaboration with Trish and Judy has been a new direction for him.

    "It was an enriching experience working with such a dedicated and focused artist as Judy, and a real boost to my spirit to work with such a talented and enthusiastic personality as Trish. When we would all meet at Trish's bach at Anawhata, the creative sparks would fly. We might have unwittingly conjured the wild weather that always seemed to batter the little bach whenever we were present!"

    We’ve been proudly showing our final mock-up of the book to anyone interested. An art teacher who works with primary-age children is "bowled over" by SWELL. "Wow! Art and paper engineering together! My kids will love it. Especially the boys. I can't wait to get it in my classroom."

    Don’t forget, every dollar we make above our target will go towards donating books to low-decile schools. We really want to get it out to as many people as we can, so please give generously and share the link with your friends.

    Image: Trish looks on as Judy and Phillip play with paper

    Introducing the Paper Engineer