Upcycling – Part 2

by maggie

The plot thickens. Or maybe it’s just the overall level of confusion and wilful ignorance.


And the blocks keep getting bigger. These two are 25cm a side. that’s why they don’t fit on the scanner so much. The red squiggle is another part of the maelstrom mentioned in last weeks post. I cut the circles on the back of the ply in about 40mins at the beginning of the class. I didn’t clear out all the wood in the centre which has left those marks. Next time i’ll be a bit more clever about using them.

I thought long and hard about the size, placement and proportion of the circles in relation to the whole block. And just happened to choose a squiggle that completely misses two of the pebbles – this time.

Hopefully next week i’ll have some blocks at the dimensions I originally requested.

The laser cutter is a mixed blessing i’ve found. On one hand you open the top of the box and take out your plate with out having to make your arm muscles tired doing your own cutting. On the other hand you have to work the digital files hard and make all sorts of decisions while staring at a computer screen rather than over a trial print.

I was interested in learning about the capacity of the laser cutter on two levels.

A) I have some text to print for the spring green edition and thought that the laser cutter would be a good alternative to photo etching and,

B) I was curious about reproducing the fine lines and happenstance of my collages. Unfortunately after 2hours of photoshop i decided that wasn’t going to happen any time soon and the Maelstrom elements became by plan b (or was that e).

And for your morbid curiosity here are some of the files that were rejected.


Originally red and black pebbles on a grey ground. I managed to kill the colour but not make anything very crisp with the background.


I have lots of pieces of paper like this; folded and painted on the back. Where the paper is damaged the colour comes through. this one had more damage in the bottom left quarter so was darker there and a challenge to manipulate with out everything vanishing from right of  centre.

It’s been useful writing these posts and thinking about making plate from images by pasting a copy onto the block – real old skool.


And then this poor file has been tortured well past it’s natural state. Originally pink marks on a green ground, it’s been inverted to make white cracks against a black and green body with pink veins running though. Photoshop is not the answer to all our problems – unfortunately

So if I had the patience and the facilities to work through every line in an image to make it suitable for the laser cutter I realised I could also cut up and rearrange that image, like a jigsaw. And that’s something i will be discussing next week. And here are some previous posts to remind myself what i’ve already managed to achieve.