Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stencil Terminology

Stencil technique in visual art is referred to as pochoir, e.g. Banksy.  When a paper-cut, stencil-like image is the artwork itself, it's known as scherenschnitte (scizzor-cut).  It's kirigami (paper-cut) when the cutwork is symmetrical, as in a paper snowflake. (Although I've seen asymmetrical kirigami.) Cutwork is usually used for the effect on fabrics, I've seen the term applied to jewelry also.  Openwork is a term I've seen used for jewelry and crochet. I have been using cutwork mesh up to this point for my work.  But the 3D animation folks are also using mesh. To be honest, right now I don't know what I should call my work.

When I design a cutwork mesh the challenge is to make the bridges the right size.  If the mesh is to do a job like hold a bar of soap, it has to have robust enough bridges, while still letting in lots of air so that the soap can dry out well.  If I design at one scale and then try to shrink the design, the bridges shrink, too, so I have to keep aware of what's happening. I make a test cut and see which bridges are problematic, then adjust the elements accordingly in Illustrator to make bigger bridges, or smaller holes. 2 mm or about 1/16" is about as small as I want a bridge to be.

I don't just design on Adobe Illustrator, sometimes I use TouchDraw on the iPad to design meshes. With TouchDraw, I mail the drawing file as a pdf which I can email to my main computer put it on a thumb drive and take it via sneakernet to my other PC which has Illustrator on it.  From Illustrator I export an SVG file which is the file format for Sure Cuts A Lot.  Sometimes I sing the Madelina Catelina song and juggle a few oranges while I'm at it.

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