Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few studio artists to help them incorporate digital fabrication processes into their work, and it’s always fascinating to gain some insight into how they map various concepts from “traditional” studio arts to things like laser cutting and 3D printing.  This morning I had the opportunity to work with Mark Boguski (Professor of Ceramics and Ceramic Sculpture, Sacramento City College) on the laser cutter workflow.  I showed Mark the gallery of stenciled images created by our Making Social Change students, and after talking about things like abstraction, legibility, resolution, and the minimum detail required to communicate a particular image, we set out to create a multi-layer stencil.  Mark chose a famous image of Pete Townshend of The Who as his subject, and we used the stellar tools at stencilcreator.org to create the necessary *.svg files.  I showed Mark how to prepare the files for laser cutting using Adobe Illustrator, which mostly involves setting the lines to be cut to pure red (RGB 255,0,0), and setting the strokes to .001 (which would be “hairline” in most other software programs).

Some photos from our session…

All five images cut:

All Five Layers Cut

Spray paint colors chosen:

Five Colors Selected

Establishing a reference point:

Establishing a Reference

Spraying a layer:

Mark Painting

Finished image:



5 Layer Stencil of Pete Townshend

Mark and I learned a lot about the process, and there are some tweaks to be made, but it’s a great v1 prototype, and I’m eager to share it with our MSC students.

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