Tools, processes, products.

There’s a stark difference between product and process, yet tools are what connects the two. On a day-to-day basis, I use tools to create a physical product. Pliers, scissors a laser cutter and a pen are the physical, tangible tools used in the creation of my work. Their use and purpose is specific, and don’t necessarily allow for flexibility in the way that they operate. Pliers are used as pliers – they don’t specifically take a creative role.

However it is more the ‘robotic’ tools that I use which is where possibilities are greater, and creativity is expanded. Things such as a computer, and softwares such as Photoshop, CoreIDraw, Premiere Pro and Illustrator. With these, my skill level and confidence are much lower, but this is because my practice in these areas is relatively new, and still growing.

An example of a digital artefact where I have brought together both of these types of “tools” has been in Lazy Susan Studio, an online store where I create my own handmade, laser cut jewellery from repurposed wood, and promote/sell it via multiple online media channels. The tangible process of assembling these products with pliers is straightforward and simple. These technical skills are things which have been developing since I was young, playing around with dad’s tools in the shed to make little childhood projects. But the more challenging part of this project has been learning to use the software for design.

So far, I have used these tools and processes to create a product with a tangible, product based artefact, with not so much focus on creative process but more on the creation of a product to be sold.

This semester in MEDA301 I hope to expand my already existing skills by pushing the use of the laser cutter beyond what I am accustomed to. That is, looking at ways the laser cutter can be used to create artistic pieces with a conceptual message, as well as the variation in materials that might be used in this process.

One artist who I have found inspiration in is Gabrial Schama. Working within the medium of plywood, which is what I have been doing, Schama creates intricate designs working in multiple layers with the laser cutter. As Schama explains, “the formal qualities of my artwork tend to emerge from the particularities and structural limitations of layered plywood and paper”. Originally working with layered paper, Schama explains that he “worked simply for the experience of pushing up against the boundaries of what seemed possible within the simple set of rules from which all my cut paper work flowed: cut, glue, stack, repeat, until finished”.

The experimentation with a laser cutter and the software Illustrator enabled him to push this artwork beyond the limits of soft paper. He explains that his work is more of an aesthetic purpose rather than a conceptual one, yet he feels as though is a kind of homage to the “ancient, continuous line of craftsmen, who have adorned the fabrics, facades and structures of civilisation for thousands of years”.


Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

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