Primary Tools & Materials:
CARVING/SHAPING, LASER CUTTER
Additional Tools & Materials: Adobe Illustrator, laser cutter software, hand carving tools, camera
This is another combination where I'm blending the digital and analog version of the same process. To make this W, I first engraved, then cut the letter out of several kinds of wood using a laser cutter. The engravings were mistakes; I had intended to completely cut each letter out - but these test cuts are an unavoidable step in the process of using a laster cutter.
Looking at the cut letters - both the positive and negative shapes, I was surprised how consistent the cuts were. I knew laser cutting was precise but it didn't expect for these cuts to be as identical as they turned out to be. This allowed me to think of them in terms of building and merging shapes, working with positive and negative space or the combination of both. In one case, I rotated the small square of wood 90 degrees before I cut into it, so that the grain was perpendicular to the other two cuts. This gave me the ability to mix and match the negative and positive shapes, because the identical cuts fit together like a glove. In image 7 and 8 you can see the slight but effective contrast created by combining the negative and positive shapes from two pieces of wood with different grain directions.
The cover image I chose for this study is seen in number one - and I chose it because it was the most literal and visible combination of carving or shaping by hand and cutting by machine. In image two - you can see the bottom layer of wood in image one, which was one of the test cuts from the laser cutter that only ended up engraving the wood. I used this shallow cut as a guide to carve out a rough texture by hand. Then I placed the machine cut negative letter over the hand cut positive letter to create depth and a more defined contrast between the letter's rough, hand cut texture and the smooth texture of the wood around it. While some of the other images were more compelling, they stretched what I defined as carving or shaping - they were more within the category of building.