What types of papers and glues do you use?
The paper I use is either GF Smith, Daler Rowney or Claire Fontaine from a 180gsm to 250gsm, with a smooth surface and solid saturated colour. Reliable and consistent in colour, they cut really nicely.
Backing board is usually 380gm + to maintain rigidity.
Occasionally I will use other papers for a different texture or sheen/reflection, but I always stay away from laminated as it tends to blister and lift when cutting.
Aleenes High Tack-Glue – doesn’t saturate the paper too heavily so that it wrinkles, gives you just enough time for positioning, but not so long that you are stood there like a bit of lemon waiting for it to set.
What types of tools do you use?
My most prized tool is a butter knife that I nicked from the kitchen drawer. It has a soft blunt edge that is really good at making a precise crisp fold, without cutting through. A bone folder for heavier cards is also really useful.
Laser cutting is my go-to when I can. Currently running a desktop plotter machine, I would like to scale up to a flatbed plotter. A good scalpel and steel ruler are a must. Masking tape is also useful.
What types of software do you use?
Illustrator to export vector files, Photoshop and Snapseed for image editing. Recently I have been using the Concepts App on an iPad to try and speed up my work flow. I prefer to keep the software use to a minimum as there is a balance to be kept between digital and analogue. The process of folding is what I enjoy the most.
How did you get started?
Whilst studying for my MA in Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking I became obsessive about laser cutting and water jet cutting. Achieving the finest of cuts at just the right depth, without scorching … pure joy!
I was lucky enough to grow up in London. I’ve always really enjoyed patterns and shapes found in architecture, tickets, maps, graphic design … specifically I remember Bridget Riley’s Tate Britain Exhibition in 2003 and being invited to see The Gherkin not long after it opened (which is also just over the road from the Lloyds Building). These made a huge impression on me.
What’s your process?
Drawing the idea out or move modules around on a page to get a feel for the arrangement is where I tend to start. Usually something has caught my eye out and about and I have been mulling it over for a few days.
Keeping all dimensions divisible by two (even numbers preferred) is driven by the cutting area.
It always helps me to draw out the elements and cut outs in different colours, representing different layers for Illustrator and cutting. Before committing to a bulk cut, I will always work through the idea with small mock ups to make sure all the dimensions are correct.
Do you sell your work?
It is something I am looking into.
Building these pieces takes a while, taking up my spare time. Transporting them can be tricky as they can be fragile. Ideally I would prefer to sell through a gallery.
Once I have resolved the logistics … I will give it some more thought. If anyone has any experience or tips in this, I would be very grateful.