On Monday, I moved the pop-ups to the play area in the Center for Discovery. I put the pop-ups on toddler's eye level, and got rid of the stools. Starting Tuesday, I continued my observation in this new location. Because of Thanksgiving Day, it was a little quiet week.
The children in the play area were mostly babies and toddlers. There are plenty of toys to play with. They roamed around here freely with their caregiver's supervision. The caregivers were encouraged to introduce their children to my pop-ups. The kids' interaction time with the pop-ups was a lot longer than when the pop-ups were displayed on the first location. Quite a few kids kept coming back over and over. As I expected, I witnessed some rough handling, but no one was determined to destroy the pop-ups as I feared. What surprised me was the condition of the pop-ups. The pop-ups are in pristine condition after handled by almost 100 children.
Last 2 weeks has been such an incredible experience for me. I observed almost 100 children's interactions with the pop-ups for about total of 15 hours. I feel very lucky and grateful to be given the freedom by the library to do my research just the way I wanted. I gained so much confidence, positive feedback, and supports. It started as my personal project, but as a very satisfying result of the test, the Center for Discovery and I discussed on the possibilities of my soft pop-up sculptures, and working together to set my personal goal as well as theirs. My next step will be doing more research on resources, and start doodling new soft pop-up sculpture designs.
This is the location of the display wall we picked in the Center for Discovery. After storytime, people pass by here and the castle, and go to the play area, which is seen on the far right side in this picture.
On Monday, I installed the pop-ups. From Tuesday, I started observation. I realized that most of parents carry so many things on them that they couldn't hold their toddlers. Also, even when they were able to hold their kids, they had a difficulty holding them long enough. Most infants were in their strollers sleeping. The ways the kids handled the pop-ups were very acceptable, so I decided to lower the pop-ups.
I reinstalled the pop-ups to lower level on Wednesday. I continued my observations on Thursday and Saturday. I also, started filming the interactions.
So far, my total observation time is about 8 hours. I was there from when the people started coming out of the storytime room. A little over 60 children interacted with the pop-ups. The ages were mostly 2-5 years old. There were a few kids frequently revisiting the display. There are no advertisement or signs about the display. There were some verbal directing once in a while to some parents to encourage their children to open the pop-ups, but not a whole lot. Without directing them, some people noticed, and some didn't. It was interesting to see many children noticed the stools first, and then tried to find out what's up there, and then got curious about the pop-ups. Most kids spent a few seconds on each, total of no more than a minute. The parents were in hurry.
My pop-ups are holding up very nicely. I have more confidence about the durability of the pop-ups and the way the children interact with them now. This week, I'm going to relocate the pop-ups to the play area. In this area, the kids play hard with toys. The parents less supervise their kids here. I'm going to mount the pop-ups much lower, and remove the stools, so that the toddlers can have easy access.
I have a great passion for pop-ups. I have always wanted to have an interactive public installation with pop-ups, but the durability was a big challenge. I came up with an idea of making the pop-ups out of felt and fabric, and made some pieces years ago, but never had a chance to test them out in public. A few weeks ago, I finally contacted Center for Discovery in Columbus main library. Center for Discovery is the children's area in the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. It is one of the greatest places to be for children in Columbus, and it has steady traffic. I've got permission from the library to temporarily install the pop-ups and observe children's interactions with them.
Last Friday was my first meeting with the staff . Every single person I've met there was incredibly nice, and very enthusiastic about my idea. I wasn't sure on many things before, but brilliant ideas were pouring in from everyone. We picked a wall spot
to display. We decided to put them up high, so the caregivers have to lift their infants and toddlers. We think the children will surely be supervised that way. For small children, we are thinking to put a stool below each piece, so that they can independently access the pop-ups. I'm hoping that small children are a little easier to reason with than babies. Another idea we came up with was to decorate the wall to create a context for the pop-ups. Since they are windows, I had an idea of making the wall as a room. I'm also going to put a little sign under each pop-up, saying "please be gentle."
I'm going to be working on this project for at least 7 days starting this week. I'm planning to observe the children's behaviors
on that installation, how many interactions and how long on each, and of course the condition of the pop-ups. I was so nervous at first, and then got too excited at the end, I completely forgot to take pictures of the area,or the meeting. Hopefully, I'll have some good photos to share with you next time.