and a cut here, and a cut there

so.  for my third installation project, i’m working with text.  oh.  i suppose that’s been my game all along, hasn’t it?  this time, however, i’m working with it as a 3d material.  you all know from one of my last posts that i’m slightly obsessed with papercutting, paper crafting, paper everything.  i decided to try my own hand at cut paper, so i went out to my local utrecht (thank you 10% student discount), purchased a swivel x-acto knife and fancy cutting board, grabbed a roll of white easel paper and headed on home to my kitchen table work space.

this will be super easy, right?  i so naively thought to myself.  after my first few tries and the first few pangs of a cramped hand, however, i started to get a good rhythm.  and then it just started to click.  and then it started to look gorgeous.  i mean, i don’t mean to toot my own horn, but the result is just fascinating – the paper ends up looking/feeling like lace, and the shadows that the lines create are lovely, ephemeral, delicate.  it’s the shadows that i’m after, actually, in the final piece, but really, i couldn’t have been more pleased with the visual in general.

the only thing that slightly irks me is the presence of the graphite on the paper.  i could not for the life of me figure out how i could cut out my writing without a guide right there on the paper (if i had a light table, it might be a different story).  does anyone have suggestions for the future?  fortunately, since the actual installation piece will be much larger and i just so happen to go to a pretty sweet art school, there are tools/machines like fancy laser and plotter cutters that will cut the shapes out for me, so i won’t have to worry about the graphite on the final piece.  but in the meantime, with x-acto in hand, i’d like to come up with a way of getting this desired effect without the guide… and i have a feeling that erasing it post-cutting would just tear the thing into pieces.

i also love what happens to these discarded pieces of the papercut – they’re so sweet, like tiny waves floating suspended on their own.  i’ll continue sharing the stages to this final project, and i hope you enjoy the process as much as i do!

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2 thoughts on “and a cut here, and a cut there

  1. Ben KARLIN says:

    Without a light table that large, hmm. Have you looked at the way traditional Chinese papercuts are made? The pattern is laid down over the sheets to be cut through, then the knife is held upright — completely perpendicular to the paper stack’s surface — as it cuts through all of the sheets. The traditional designs are complex but small compared to your work. Still, using a low-tack spray adhesive to hold the pattern and the product pieces in contact without shifting might work. Otherwise, pushpins inserted through the two sheets in areas that will be waste could be effective. What do you think?

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