Primary Tools & Materials:
xacto knife, washi tape
Additional Tools & Materials: card stock, light table, camera
Today's study combined cutting by hand with advanced paper and materials - in this case, patterned washi tape. This study was also important, not because the resulting letterform is particularly interesting, but because I've started to change the way I'm approaching these materials and how I combine them.
My thesis advisors have challenged me to think more critically about what these studies accomplish, and how they work. I should be spending more time thinking about the materials - what their behaviors and capabilities are, and how I can best demonstrate those characteristics through these studies. Let the materials dictate the form, rather than imagining a form and working backwards (which I must admit I have done several times so far). So today I considered my materials. The xacto blade allows me to cut very precisely by hand, but not perfectly. So if I'm building a letterform using an xacto to cut, it should be angular and not too curved, because I can't control the curve with the knife as easily as I could if I were die cutting it. Washi tape is essentially patterned masking tape that's waxy and easy to remove or reposition. I had two rolls on hand in different widths, so I decided to try both.
I printed three letter Zs backwards onto some cardstock, so I could apply washi to the the clean side and cut it out on the back. For the first study, I wanted to press the idea that washi is patterned. Luckily, I found that my pink washi was designed to repeat when strips are laid side to side. Using my light table, I placed my first letter Z (image 2 and 3 in the typeface Barmeno) face up so I could place the tape onto the letter evenly and see where the edges were. Then I flipped it over and cut out the letter in reverse. The resulting letter was therefore very true to the original font's form, but slightly dimensional. It really became more about pattern than anything else. I thought that wasn't quite compelling enough, so I moved on to my second letter Z.
In the second Z (image 4 and 5, in Baskerville Bold), I wanted to emphasize the semi-transparent nature of the striped silver and white tape. I decided to layer it twice, rotating it 90 degrees down the center stroke, but not at the top and bottom. This also happened fairly organically, which is why the pattern overly is less than perfect.
Lastly, I wanted to use the thinner, pink washi tape and attempt to wrap the entire letter (in AW Conqueror Slab Light) with one, uncut length of tape. I gave it my best, but I just couldn't find that magic starting angle to begin wrapping, and ultimately gave up and started trimming it and restarting it when needed. One thing that was interesting was the different patterns that emerged from the tape being overlapped at varying places.
When I set them up to take photos, I stacked them for a moment to prepare my work area. That's when I noticed that the individual forms lined up in interesting ways, which was sort of a fluke - there is infinite variation in the angle of the diagonal stroke in the Z, and I hadn't chosen these fonts with that in mind. So my final, "cover" image for this study - is a letter made from two forms intertwined. It doesn't necessarily illustrate the characteristics of cutting by hand or wrapping with washi tape, but it did create a new, interesting letterform that I hadn't anticipated coming out of this study.