Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quote book

This was a birthday gift for a huge fan of the radio show/book/movie Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. There is one quote per each of the eight pages, arranged so that when the book is closed the words form a ‘word cloud’. The pages are laser-cut and etched acrylic plastic and are sewn with waxed linen thread using the same method as in my previously posted book. I wanted to create a gradient of sorts using paint in the etched letters, fading from white to black. It mostly worked the way I wanted it to.

Let me just say, photographing this thing was a nightmare. First, smudges! Ack! And then the waxed thread left marks all over the surfaces. Plus having to dodge the reflection made taking pictures super fun. Not. Anyway, I really like the possibilities of laser-etched acrylic…but if I ever do clear again, I will be using non-waxed thread for sure, and waiting to peel the backing off until the very last minute! (Scratches seemed to come out of nowhere.)

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obscure word book: volume 1, light edition

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For a while now I’ve been wanting to create a project using obscure or old-fashioned English words. I just wasn’t sure how I would do it. Enter the fabrication lab and the laser cutter! I decided to create a ‘book’ of laser cut and etched acrylic plastic sheets, sewn together with one of Keith A Smith’s techniques. Though the bind looks ok, I think I might have to redo it with a modified version. There just aren’t enough pages for the design to look right.

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First I sketched the designs on paper, then digitized them in Illustrator. The darker the color, the deeper the laser will etch the plastic. It was similar to the thought process behind intaglio printmaking – the darkest colors will be the lightest, and the lightest colors the darkest. It took a a couple of tries to find the right setting for the laser, but I was fairly happy with the second run.

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I tried a couple of different colors of acrylic paint, but settled on white and a shimmery gold. I smeared the paint into the etched lines and gradients, then wiped (or scrubbed, if it had dried) off the excess paint.

obscure-light-5“lucubrate” – to work diligently by artificial light

obscure-light-6“ignivomous” – vomiting fire

obscure-light-7“fulgent” – shining brilliantly, radiant, gleaming

obscure-light-8“ascian” – a person or thing without shadow

obscure-light-9“clinquant” – glittering, showy, dressed in tinsel

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Finished size: 6 in x 4 in (15.24 cm x 10.16 cm). I’m planning several more ‘volumes’ of obscure terms. If you’re curious about where I found these words, check out this book: Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words.

Fab Lab Fun

What happens when a type designer-artist is let loose in a fabrication lab? With a laser cutter? Well, all kinds of crazy stuff gets created!

The Fab Lab in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Oh how many more hours I could spend there!
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While I was in grad school, I worked on a project I called ‘experimental graphemes‘ that I modeled after Jessica Hische’s ‘daily drop cap’. Once a day I posted an elaborately drawn letter to this blog. Since I’m still obsessed with letters (I *am* a type designer, after all) I decided to digitize the letters and etch them to small pieces of wood, roughly the size of playing cards. And I decided to use Fontlab instead of Illustrator for the letters. Which may have been a little nuts, but hey…I learned some tricks and got better at using Fontlab in general!

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It was so neat to watch the laser cutter do its thing. It etched the letters in a linear fashion, but none of us could figure out why it took the route it did in cutting the letters out…etched letters-2

Finished! My plan (in my free time) is to sand the letters and then color them with water colors. But there’s no telling when that will happen.etched letters-3

More Fab Lab Swag! In addition to the 26 letters etched on wood, I also etched 4 on plastic, made coasters, two ipad stands, a wooden box with a ‘living hinge’, etched two plaques and created a piece of art using recycled plexiglass circles. My friend’s comment at the end of the day was “with great planning comes lots of goodies”!
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