Project 2, while it may be over for me, my process will continue.
Project 2 gave me an opportunity to create a dedication to my late uncle David. He was a wood sculptor, he would carve grand tiki-totems. Utilizing the laser cutter allows me to engrave wood with depictions of some of his carvings. I chose specifically to engrave a photo of a family of tigers standing tall next to each other. I learned better how to use Illustrator through applying different image trace filters to the actual photograph of the tigers to then break them up into basic colors and shapes. I did not want the engraving to be as detailed as the photo, nor did I want to capture the photo. I wanted to depict the tiger’s shapes, specifically the strokes and arches my uncle had carved himself. I also learned how to mask which is a very important and powerful tool to take advantage of. I chose to break the tigers into 3 different shades of the grey scale. White, black, and grey. The laser cutter interpreted these different levels of the grey scale to be 3 different depths of engraving. The issue though with how my piece came out was that the grey and black were not that different. Even though they seemed far apart and that the contrasted enough, according to the computer it was much closer to black than white. Because of this any portion of my image traced and masked tigers that was black and grey almost ended up blurring together. For example, the tiger’s stripes do not very much contrast with the tiger’s regular fur.
Going back to what I said before, my process hasn’t ended yet. I want this dedication to eventually be a gift to my father when I go to see him in Toronto in December, and I want it to be a lot bigger. 18x24in would be a size I am happy with. I would like the wood to be about 1 inch thick, have rounded edges and corners on the front side, and be stained a mahogany color.
I will have to be very careful with certain parts of my project. One of many is how I draw contrast between the three tigers. If I choose to overlay them again, then I will have to make sure that some of them have some sort of outline or border to draw them in front of/behind one another. Otherwise they would merge together into a blob. Secondly, I may not be able to rely on the black-grey-white method of engraving. The difference in depth from white to black is only maybe 4 millimeters, and that is hardly taking advantage of the 1 inch thick piece of wood I hope to be working with.
The importance of project 2 was not in the piece I produced but the door it opened for me into new creative applications I am capable of taking advantage of to produce meaningful results in my personal life.