Jeehee Park is an artist in residence at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Aberdeenshire. She planned to create an art installation using Perspex to create an effect like tartan for an exhibition at the distillery, and she needed help with laser cutting and engraving them.
Maximum panel size
Jeehee had created pieces in a similar vein before, but wanted to experiment with her ideas further. She sent artwork for two large panels at 1200 x 800mm, the largest size that I could cut. Four smaller panels to create a box effect were also required, along with lots of small square spacers to help with assembling the piece.
Engraving clear Perspex
The Perspex for the panels was all clear and colourless. Jeehee wanted lots of parallel lines vector engraved across their widths. This effect works well on clear acrylic as the lines catch the light and look white, a subtle effect which becomes more pronounced the deeper the engrave is.
Jeehee wanted the engraved lines to be 2 – 3mm deep into the 10mm thick panels rather than just on the surface to catch the light in the way that she wanted. As I knew that I’d need to use a power equivalent to cutting 3mm perspex, I left the protective film on the engraved sides of the Perspex during production. It protects the surface from the heat of the laser which turns Perspex cloudy white around the engraved lines.
Jeehee asked for a sample so that she could see exactly how the effect would work. Then she could make changes before I cut and engraved the large panels. She was very pleased and wondered whether to make the lines deeper, but was worried that the Perspex panels might bend under their weight if they were engraved too deeply. In the end, she decided to err on the safe side and asked me to proceed with 2 – 3mm depth as we had agreed.
Making the panels
I ordered sheets that were 1220 x 820mm to give a little margin without much wastage. First, I engraved the lines on the panels and then cut the rectangles to keep the edges as smooth as possible. If I had cut the rectangles first, the engraved lines would have made grooves on the cut edges.
My biggest challenge was finding a carrier to ship a parcel that was 1300 x 900mm and weighing 27kg. 10mm Perspex is very heavy in large sheets. Most couriers won’t take heavy parcels in such large dimensions.
The finished installation
Jeehee was delighted with the panels when they arrived at the distillery. After a few weeks of suspense while she assembled the piece, I was blown away when she sent these photos taken by John Paul. I love the way the horizontal engraved and vertical colour elements work together.
The current exhibition featuring this work is open until Sunday 20th August.