Laser Cutting

IMG_1370I decided that considering I was exploring multiple ways to print and represent information and imagery I should also look into using the laser cutter to create effects on surfaces. The laser cutter can be used to cut in four different ways: it can cut entirely through the material, it can engrave onto the surface, it can provide a ‘kiss cut’ effect (a less deep version of engraving), and can raster which creates a shaded-like effect by drawing multiple lines up and down an image.

You can cut various materials using the laser such as acrylic, wood, some metals, and various card and papers. You can’t use any reflective material as this would allow the laser to reflect back up from the surface of the material and damage the equipment.

There are various steps that need to be followed before cutting out an image. The line work in your image has to be set as the corresponding colour to cut in the right mode. The laser itself must be focussed properly against the material, the laser must locate the material using the bottom left and top right corner of the material. The material being cut must also be inputted before sending to cut.

This induction didn’t really allow for me to practice using the machine with my own work at all so I am hoping to go in with some type I am working on this week to cut out some stencils.

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Foiling

 

Foiling involves applying a layer of (in this case metallic) embellishment to patterns and designs. During the induction we were shown how to apply a metallic surface finish to various images we had created on either paper or fabric.

One of the methods allowed you to simply lay the metallic foil sheet over a photocopied image and then apply heat, this allowed the foil to stick to the carbon in the photocopied image and so leave a shiny decorative surface.

Another method involved using the screens that I have previously used during screen printing to apply a layer of glue-like substance to a sheet of paper and a piece of fabric. The foil was then apply to these mediums using the same method of the heat press.

The method using the photocopying seemed to be much more reliable (as long as your photocopier is reliable) as it allowed for much less human error in comparison to the other method using the screens which can be less consistent.

The technique would be excellent for both representing an image in itself and also adding features to an existing image. Some subtle additions could be to use the colourless, transparent foil sheeting to add almost hidden detail to an image.

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Lino Printing

Linocut printing involves cutting away specific amounts of the surface of lino using a gouge or chisel to leave various textures and varying lines. The image is create as a mirror image of the image you intend on printing as the final outcome.

We were shown some examples of images that can be created using this technique which could inspire us and show us ways to achieve various finishes.

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In the Blenheim Walk workshop you can use two different types of lino. One is a newer lino, the older is slightly more difficult to use as it is hessian-backed which makes it more brittle and so can leave a less smooth-finished edge.

We were given an induction on using the newer, more sturdy material as an introduction to the process. I went in with little idea of what the outcomes could be and so was unsure of an image to create. I decided to simply experiment with the tools and create an image using different sized gouges to get to grips with the equipment.

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I built up an initial image and printed using a grey paint. Applying different amounts of paint leaves a different effect. I also reprinted the image over the top but upside down. I then cut away more of the lino to create a new pattern and printed this over the top using a green paint.

IMG_2589IMG_2588IMG_2590I much preferred the image that I created after the second round of cutting as there was more detail and a more varied style of cuts in the lino creating a more interesting final image. I enjoy the process but think that my lack of illustration skills may hold me back if pursuing this field much deeper. However I do hope to use basic linocut techniques and combining them with other printing techniques.