Crystalis is a collection of three crystalline forms, taking shape as an interactive sculpture. This project explores traditional print media, namely monoplate or block printing, by applying this millennia-old technique to an output only possible with modern technologies – laser cutting. It is through this exploration of contrasting processes that Crystalis evidences that digital and traditional media can coalesce to result in rich, exciting new possibilities.
The project was developed in three stages, beginning with the design of patterns in Adobe Illustrator, with each pattern taking inspiration from different iconic patterns seen throughout history, including those from Celtic, Chinese and Native American cultures.
Once finalised, these patterns were laser cut into acrylic sheets, which were then processed as monoplates, following a traditional block printing process. Ink was applied to the plate and then run through a press, transferring ink to sheets sheets of translucent paper.
The final stage involved fabricating the crystalline forms, which were cut from acrylic and assembled using a combination of adhesive and folding, where the acrylic is heated along a seam and folded in place, harding once it cools. The translucent paper, including the printed patterns was adhered to the newly formed crystals. Once complete, each crystal was embedded with an LED and connected to a motion-sensor, which triggers the crystals to blink in a ‘breathing’ pattern when someone moves their hand over them.
The resulting outcome is a delicate, ambient interactive sculpture that responds to movement with a soft and warm ‘breath’ effect, almost like the crystals have their own heartbeat.
Materials: translucent paper, block ink, acrylic, MDF, wire
Software: Adobe Illustrator
Hardware: LEDs, PIR motion sensor, Arduino Uno