Crankie

As I get older I get crankier.
By that, I mean more interested in small theaters with moving panoramas- also known as Crankie Boxes.
Like picture books, they tell stories through images as well as words.

Moving panoramas were popular in the mid 19th century and they ranged in size from small to enormous.

Last October I went with Mare Blocker to a Crankie Fest at the NW Puppet Center. I liked the show so much I went back the next night. Mare and I were both inspired to make crankie boxes of our own.

For information on all things crankie there is an invaluable website – The Crankie Factory. It includes history, videos, instructions on how to make a crankie box and the scrolls. Thank you Sue Truman. thecrankiefactory.com

On the Crankie Factory Website were miniature crankies made by Paul Fleischman. Here is a movie. What a wonderful surprise! I have had the privilege of illustrating three of Paul’s books. It is a small and crankie world.

The shows at the Crankie Fest were a combination of moving panoramas and shadow theaters. My niece Zoe visited in October and we experimented with shadow theaters in cardboard boxes.

Zoe’s Haunted Hat Shop

my witch in the woods

I asked artist and woodworker Michael Zitka if he would build me a real wooden Crankie Box, following the instructions on the Crankie Factory website. A few weeks ago he delivered it. These are the innards.

I cut out a piece of cardboard to show the outside shape and our cat Ruby approved. Mike then cut it out of wood.

The Crankie is now named, painted and ready for the curtain to go up. Here is the front of Teatro Paprika:

and the sides:

I have the cart and am ready to put a horse in front – I need to get crankin’!

painting by Tatiana Mavrena

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………p.s. On Thursday March 12th Margaret Chodos-Irvine and I will be celebrating our new book Where Lily Isn’t at the Secret Garden Bookstore , 2214 NW Market St. in Ballard. Please join us there at 6:30, and bring an anecdote to share about a pet you love or have loved. Thanks.

 

22 responses to “Crankie

  1. I love this so much!!
    And want to be part of your Cranky
    Team

  2. I do hope we get to see the Show! What a delightful project.

  3. What fun! I hope we get to see a crankie show.

  4. What a beautiful stage! You could go on the road with your Crankie Theatre.
    Karen

  5. So much fun! A crankie show seems like such a draw to children’s neighborhoods in summertime, much like the lure of the kamishibai man!

    • I just looked up Kamishibai. I had never heard of this Japanese street theater/paper play. I need to find out more about it! Thanks for bringing this up.

      >

  6. Your crankie is gorgeous! Loved learning about crankies. Fabulous post, thank you!

  7. I just love what comes out of you, Julie Paschkis. Yes, I do.

  8. Oh Julie, You have taken me to the magic land of my heart. I wish I had known about Crankie Fest. Oh my gosh, what a delight. As I cut silhouettes I must explore making a box and beginning a project. My mind is “turning”. What a treasure. I hope you will make a video of your production. It will be marvelous. Thank you. Thank you…now I must explore more.

  9. So much deliciousness here ❤

  10. Marjorie Masel

    You always come up up with a new delightful venture! M2

    On Fri, Feb 28, 2020 at 6:43 AM Books Around The Table wrote:

    > Julie Paschkis posted: “As I get older I get crankier. By that, I mean > more interested in small theaters with moving panoramas- also known as > Crankie Boxes. Like picture books, they tell stories through images as well > as words. Moving panoramas were popular in the mid 1” >

  11. What a delight for the eyes and soul!!!!!!!!!

  12. A wonderful post, Julie – thanks so much for the links and for the photos of your very own Crankie theater. It’s BEAUTIFUL. Hope I can get down to see a show at the Folklife Festival (and maybe a JULIE Paprika Theater show!)

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