Ian had made the large box in April and I still had no idea whether I was going to be able to get a laser design to put in it, so I thought I’d crack on and at least make an embroidered layer. After the success of the text layer in the small box I decided to make the text as picot as a separate layer, as embroidery on net. Click on the gallery below to view how I went about it, more info in the captions
Making the final boxes
I knew I wouldn’t be able to make a lightbox of the quality I had envisaged, so I commissioned a local craftsman to construct it for me. Ian at Custom Woodwork in Cotgrave took on the challenge and accommodated multiple changes of plan after the Covid-19 lockdown.
He suggested we use a French Cleat hanging system, which means the heavier the item is the more securely it is held in place. The cleat is screwed to the wall and therefore easier to level before lifting the box into place.
The build quality of the boxes is fantastic and they work perfectly.
I’d been using the laser cutting facility at NTU, which had been great. Just before CV-19 lockdown, I’d cut my final design in light card and decided on a design for the engrave. Then… nothing was avilable for me to use. After a number of failed attempts to find someone to engrave the box pieces, I found Keith at Handytech. Keith has been a great ally, who picked up my prject with gusto and helped me find solutions to seemingly intractable problems. His laser wasn’t as big as the flat bed at uni, but he cut the large Charnia design from six individual pieces of card, which slotted back together perfectly. He also engraved the outside edge of the medium size box, again splitting my designs to make them fit in his machine.
I’ve been exhibiting in Karlsruhe, Germany for almost ten years now. I was invited to join a group exhibition by the GEDOK group in summer 2019. I showed two new lampshade designs, incorporating my laser cut design and LED lights. You can see the lampshades in the gallery below
The blue version had a holographic insert which distorted the lights inside, the gold was simply cut silk. This, combined with a large filament lightbulb, was really eyecatching. I found it distracting that you could see the inside, so if I were to repeat the design I would bond silk to both sides of the stiffening.
The blue lampshade twinkled (see the video below)
I was supposed to travel to Karlsruhe with the work and install it myself. However, I didn’t make it to Germany as my Mum had a stroke the weekend before I was due to leave. I decided to stay at home with her instead. Luckily my fellow artists were up for a challenge and put the whole display together for me. It meant I had to design some step by step instructions for putting the light together. They did a fantastic job!
I used the waste from the laser cut to make a wall art piece. See the gallery below for more information on how it worked
First LED light box
During late Spring 2019, I tried new ways of using lace and light in a way that satisfied some of my key words and followed my initial investigations into darkness and shadow.
I bought a wall mounted LED light box (think late night kebab shop illuminated menu board) to explore layering and shadow with a more controlled light source. I got very excited when I first set it up, hoping that lighting the lace from behind would reveal new ideas and shapes. To diffuse the lights I got some frosted polypropylene from Bonington shop and decided I wanted to have it curved. I draped some lace in front of it…
IT DID NOT LOOK GOOD...
I was SO disappointed. But I decided to try the lace behind the plastic. It blew my mind
The centre image shows the lace in front and behind. You can see that the lace behind the frosting is refracted and has an almost digital quality. As you move your perspective, you see the image break and almost glitch
Sailing the sea of #sketchbookwoes, I found myself spending a lot of time in the laser room with Sue Turton. After a basic intro into what the laser may be capable of, I was fascinated by what I could do, not just through cutting but using a low powered laser to engrave or etch on the surface of the material.
The university has a number of flatbed lasers for cutting but one large Grafixscan machine which can be used to engrave all kinds of materials. the construction of the machine meant the base material did not have to be totally flat or thin, and the Grafixscan was super fast, producing engraved samples in minutes or even seconds.
It could engrave areas from a jpeg or (which I preferred) lines of less that a millimetre from a vector file. These lines to me were as the bobbin thread in a lace machine, fine as hair. I imagined ways of using this to engrave a ‘net’ ground on which to embroider. As it happened I didn’t go down this line, but at least it gave me an avenue to investigate while I got my sketch on.