HO: A Digital Frottage

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    A Digital Frottage


Creation Year:



    Rubbing over a digitally produced wood block: graphite on handmade Japanese paper


    7.75" x 7.75"



Artist Statement:

    Moving from digital output to traditional art media and permanent, pleasing output raises several issues. In this piece, a homemade, three-axis milling machine and a plotter were used to generate the third depth. With a cone-shaped bit, the depth was translated into line width, then a plane was defined, covering a fractal line, and attached to a depth/width pattern, which is repeated along its course.

    This was all done in a few lines of code. Fractals can be beautiful, yet simple.

    The resulting coordinates, translated into step-motor input, direct the bit into the maple in one single path from start to end – an elegant process, adapted to the tools at hand. The resulting carved woodblock can be the source of many pleasing experiments.

    This piece is but one of many possibilities: a frottage or rubbing, as done by petrographs, archeologists, Chinese scholars, and artists. Max Ernst in particular was fond of the medium: “Histoires Naturelles.” The graphite lead rubbed on the sheet laid over the block marks only where wood was not removed.