Artist Statement – Contort.




Definition: To twist or bend out of the normal shape.


The properties of wood and Valchromat have been modified to create a flexible material through the empirical experimentation of the laser cutting process. These light boxes utilise the idea of concealment and exposure through the exploration of illuminated adjustable forms. Metal leaf adds desirability to the objects and creates a traditional contrast to the newer technologies and materials used.  The traditional and contemporary have been juxtaposed to achieve bespoke precision.


Wood has a memory and so ‘knows’ its previous history. By turning the boxes I go against this memory and the different ways of hanging create alternative bends and bows. This enables the many possibilities of hanging these objects.


The influence of shadow and light within these objects began during a study trip to Marrakech where the patternation of traditional decorative lights allow a small object to create a pattern of shadows that are able to fill a room. The chosen colours reflect the different luminosity light brings on dull and sunny days in comparison to the brightness of natural light found in Marrakech.


Evaluative Statement.

After a slow start to the year I feel that I have turned things around due to time pressures and the need to make something, rather than wanting to impress myself. I have focused more in these two terms to ensure I would have work ready for the show. I chose to focus on laser cutting my work because I find that I have more skills with this process in terms of creating three-dimensional objects than creating objects by hand.


I feel that the choice to work in Valchromat and to outsource laser cutting has really improved the quality and finish of my work as I have a more professional product. This has also meant my work has become more commercialised and I have been able to give a name to my style of working – bespoke precision. I feel that this really defines what I am making and the style in which I make it, I am using software and equipment that ensures the preciseness of my work but also incorporating hand finishing elements.


I feel I have learnt a lot about time management this year, more in terms of the time spent making objects than getting work completed on time, as I already was able to do this. I have also learnt to take a more professional approach to my work through purchasing materials and getting my work laser cut.

Preparing for assessment.


I have put all of my supporting work on the floor beneath my final exhibition ready to be assessed on Monday afternoon. I have separated subject and field work. Subject is focused on the research and development of my work and is on the left hand side. Field is everything I have done in preparation for the final show and is placed on the right hand side.

Putting up the show.




Hanging the light boxes was quite a simple process, but took a lot of time as I had to measure the distance from the top and sides of the boxes to hang them in line with one another. It took about three hours in total to get everything in its final position as I had to move a couple of the boxes as there were some spaces that were crowded and others that were a bit too empty.

I managed to get each of the cables to reach the extension leads that were put on the floor except for the cabling for the large green box. This is because the cables were cut slightly shorter than I had asked the electrician to cut them to, I managed to solve this problem by feeding the cables above the board and using wire tacks to keep them in place.

I like the layout of the boxes as they do not follow a pattern, and are still placed evenly across the boards. The cabling is more crowded on the right hand side, which is unfortunate but was unavoidable without re assessing the placement of the boxes.

Planning to hang.



Before I placed my work on the wall I felt it was necessary to place each of them on to the floor to work out the spacing between them. This is to make sure that the space does not look too cramped and to allow for the wiring to hang from each object. I started with the grey box in the middle, as this has to be placed in front of the hole that has been cut. After I was satisfied with the placement I masking taped around the outside of the boxes as a plan of where they will be put. To hang the boxes I will simply measure between the tape lines and create pencil lines on the board to work out from the central box.

Fitting the perspex sections.






After cutting the panels and glueing in the wooden and Valchromat pieces I decided to peel back a small piece of the protective film to check if they lined up with the living hinge sections on the front of the boxes. Unfortunately they did not line up perfectly, they were a couple of millimetres out. To fix this I went back into the files I made for these parts and drew new lines that would cut off the excess material. I then opened up the files on the laser cutter and cut the old size out in card and placed the perspex sheet into the cuts that were made. I then removed the old file and left only the line to trim the perspex before going cutting again. I then checked them against the light boxes and they fit. It was a nerve wracking few hours to find a solution, but the pieces are now practically perfect with their alignment.

Finishing the wood.




I have begun to use wood oils to add a finished look to my work. I had to do a lot of sanding to remove the burn marks on the wood from the laser, so, I have had to meticulously “dust” the pieces using a cloth as the dust really gets stuck in the living hinge design. Oiling is a lot simpler, I have put it onto the wood with a sponge brush so that there are no brush marks or bristles left behind. They have then been left over night to dry and absorb the oil before i rub them down with another cloth.


I left these pieces to dry in workshop space in the evening and unfortunately came in early the next morning to find that my work had been played with after I had left. This has caused a breakage – the small green box you can see in the picture had the hinge snapped almost clean off.

Fitting the lighting components.




When designing the boxes with self supporting hinges I always wanted to use LED tape that would run around the sides of the boxes to give an even illuminance. The neatest way of installing this is to solder these little connections to the end of a length of LED tape, this will then fit into a connection with a 12 volt DC plug at the end.

The wood is too thick for the fitting to be screwed into the holes which I measured before adding to the laser cut files. So the section where the fitting is has been routed out (I am not allowed to use this equipment myself, so I have had no control over the size of the routed section). The MDF piece was, unfortunately, cut before these components were sourced, so the hole is slightly too big (by chance it was almost the right size!). For this one the component has been fixed into the hole using Araldite, which got a bit messy as the technician decided to use a heat gun to speed up the setting of the glue, but instead melted it. I have now managed to gently chisel off most of the glue.

Supporting the gilding.





The gilded panels need to be raised from the back of the light boxes to enable them to be hung using nails. To do this I have used off cut pieces from the hinges to make runners for the false backs to sit on. I have simply used PVA to put the strips in place and PVA to attach the panels. The runners will not be seen, so I felt that it would be appropriate to recycle waste material.






After picking up the laser cut material from Bespoke Laser UK I have had to put the pieces together quite rapidly as I was not able to pick them up as early as I had hoped. Because of this I managed to put together six boxes in a day, which is a record I have not managed to beat. Although working at speed my work still maintained a high quality.