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Besides my school projects, I'm working on a project about ceramics and patterns. I'm doing this together with another art student, Mike de Jong (mike-dejong.nl). We started engrave patterns in tiles with the lasercutter and the results where surprisingly pretty.
The idea is simple, but we think the possibilities are great.

Although we are still experimenting, here is a documentation of our process so far. If you have any suggestions for this project, please let us know!

Step 1: Pattern

After I made this pattern with Photoshop and Processing, I made an Image Trace of it in Illustrator. You can read an instructable about making this kind of patterns here: instructables.com/id/Processing-patterns.
The beautiful organic pattern you can see in the intro (last picture) is made by Mike.

Step 2: Lasercutting

First we tried to lasercut vector etching lines (blue lines). But as you can see in the first image, this way of lasercutting left black edges on the tile. That's why we switched to raster etching (black lines). The last two images show the result.
Klick on the images to reveal the moving gifs, you can see which settings we used and what the results are.

Step 3: Coloring

Because the pattern is so subtle (you can only see it in a certain lighting) we became curious about how the patterns would react on color.
Our first experiment was with ecoline (ink). As you can see in the first image, the ink fuses into the lasercutted lines and reveal the pattern. But of course, by washing away the ink outside the lines, all the ink was washed away.
The next color experiment was with oil pastel, because the oil cannot be washed away with water. It was really easy to color the lines and weep out the color without any left outside the lines!

Step 4: What's Next?

This image shows the result of lasercutting the second pattern (see step 1) with a speed of 30%. This was a bit too fast and the effect was that the glaze wasn't totally burned away. You can see a texture of loose sheets of glaze. I think these kind of 'failures' are beautiful and really interesting for our process.

Our next step is to fail a lot more, make our own tiles of crockery, instead of using standard tiles, and to experiment more with color!

Step 5: Extra Experiments

Self made tiles.
The tiles in the last four pictures are sprayed with glaze, then lasercutted and then baked.

Those are gorgeous! The one that looks like wavy netting is especially appealing since its less busy. Maybe I don't quite understand, but couldn't you use a tile that was a certain color and then glazed a different color? Then when you remove the glaze you'd have the contrast not just in sheen but in color as well. Also, I know there are inks used in rubber stamping that can stick to metal and glass, maybe those could be used to highlight your design without washing away? Your designs are very beautiful. Let me know if you think my ideas might help.
<p>That's very cleaver, I think it's worth a try!</p>
<p>Wow what a great idea. Ik ben heel benieuwt waar jullie nog meer mee komen. Gaan jullie je werk ook nog tentoonstellen? </p>
<p>Thanks! We zijn nog druk bezig met het project, dus daar hebben we nog niet over nagedacht ;). </p>
<p>Laat wel weten als jullie werk ergens te bezichtigen is, dan kom ik graag een keer kijken.</p>
<p>I want some! Are the patterns different depths?</p>
<p>We didn't think of that, but it's deffinetily worth a try!</p>

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