For my final piece I wanted to incorporate ideas from my CNC relief carving work and ideas from my images and drawings of water. I decided to make a large relief carving from one of my images of swirling and chaotic water. I then dampened some thick watercolour paper and put it through the press against my relief carving. When the paper dried it was permanently deformed into the shape of the surface of the carving. Over the top of this I then drew a one of my images of water falling into a jug where it transitions into the relief carving.
In the process of making the plywood carvings for my final piece the images and models of water were translated into different forms. First, water was manipulated in a way that it formed into interesting patterns and shapes. Then the three-dimensional water was photographed, using flash photography, freezing the form in place. My camera captures the water as a two-dimensional image, with the outline and different tones and colours reflected by the water giving the illusion of depth and thickness to the image. I can use this information when converting the images back into three-dimensional models to be carved from plywood. Water refracts and reflects light in varying amounts along its curved surface meaning that the tones captured by the sensor of the camera are directly influenced by the geometry of the surface of the water. This means that when I project parts of these images back into three-dimensional models, their shape will roughly represent the surface of the water that I photographed. This also has advantages for CNC carving as it is easier to edit images in Photoshop before they are projected into 3D models, than it is to edit the 3D models directly. Furthermore, my CNC machine has a limited depth and the material I am carving only has a certain thickness. By creating a relief model from a flat two-dimensional image, it ensures that the whole of the model is within the thickness of the material and can be carved. Without using digital manufacturing methods, it would be very difficult to create the wave patterns in a material like plywood, since the compound curves of waves are very hard to carve, and the plywood has alternating grain layers making traditional carving almost impossible.
I have learned a great deal through exploring the patterns created on the surface of moving water.
My goals throughout this project have encouraged me to push the technical limits of my machines to create new and improved artwork. The most valuable information that I have learned has been when my equipment failed at these limits. The demands of carving larger and tougher materials on my CNC machine forced me to completely re-build the electronics and upgrade the hardware, ultimately leaving me with a more capable machine. Many of my ideas failed first time around, forcing me to solve problems as I worked. To me, this problem solving is a very valuable process that I learn a lot from and I will find very useful at university. Furthermore, when I produce YouTube videos, the documentation of my process and my outcome are very important. Throughout this project I have also had to record and present almost all the steps of my process of making the pieces of art, and I feel that this has helped to improve and develop both my photography and filmmaking skills, that I will take onto future projects and giving me a wide range of visual investigations for my fine art coursework.