July 30th, 2013

Last week I booked a time slot at the Laser Cutting Cafe to try out having some of my paper cut work fabricated into other materials. I took two files with me to experiment with and came away with some very lovely results.

Since my previous visit to the Cafe, Derek (the owner) had acquired an even larger laser cutter than the previous two he has on site. It has a larger bed and a more powerful laser, and this is the machine I worked with.

Untitled

Here you can see the file of my artwork on-screen. To create it I scanned the original, cleaned it up in Photoshop and then converted it into an outline using Illustrator. The highlighted bit indicates the area where the laser is currently positioned as it cuts.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

I created two version of this piece using different materials. One is cut into an 8″ x 8″ wood cradle panel, and the other is etched into the surface of a piece of white mat board. I sized the artwork smaller than the original and I think some of the pieces that make up the word were a bit too tiny for the laser so there is some fine detail missing. Overall though, it is amazing to see this work translated into other materials.

Untitled

The second artwork file I brought with me was the one I most wanted to see. I scanned one of the repeating crescent paper cut designs I’d created last year for the culture crawl, and chose a piece of 20″ x 12″ bamboo board to cut it into.

Untitled

Untitled

Watching the laser cutter reproduce something I’d made by hand was pretty weird but exciting. It took about half an hour to complete because the design is so intricate, and the material is fairly thick.

Untitled

The finished piece is fantastic and so very beautiful. It smells a lot like a campfire, even days later.

Untitled

Untitled

I am so pleased with this experiment because it confirms a few ideas I’ve had around translating much of my work into other more durable materials than paper. The possibilities are endless.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 at 10:02 am and is filed under Experimentation, Process. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Translating Paper Cut Work Into Laser Cut Designs”

Catherine Says:

This turned out great! I love your work and it was great to meet you at the Laser Cutter Cafe. I can’t wait to see all the things you do with the laser cutters.

Rachael Says:

Thanks Catherine. It was great to meet you there as well. I hope we run into one another again soon.

Kai Says:

I love how your paper cut designs have translated so well to the different materials! Excited to see what you develop with this new medium, yes, the possibilities are endless! esp. with home accessories and such :)

Rachael Says:

I’m so glad the Laser Cutter Cafe came to Chinatown and is open to the public. I’m not sure I would have otherwise taken the opportunity to try out laser cutting. It has opened up so many possibilities for me.

m.a.tateishi Says:

I’m so glad you detailed this interesting process. I saw a photo of your lasercut, and I immediately thought of the great stencil possibilities for my art, so I’ll have to check this out.

Rachael Says:

If you want to check out the Laser Cutter Cafe you should go as soon as possible. He’s only in the space temporarily, and the last day is August 6th. I’m hoping to go one more time before he leaves, and I’m not sure where Derek will set up next.