Patricia Sullivan, “Upcycled Brooch No. 1.” Microwaveable soup bowl material, Plexiglas, digital drawing inkjet print on recycled paper, black thread, vintage safety pin, 4.5in. L x 2.25in. W x .1875in. D, 2017. Photo: P. Sullivan
Instagram, the social media photo-sharing app, is where I’m posting all of my studio work quite in-depth lately. My new Upcycled Brooch No. 1
and its Adobe Illustrator drawings occupy at least six of my last Instagram posts. While I am far from any kind of “blogging star” – I can’t help but make a fun play on that fabulous 1980s, MTV-generation theme-song, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the English new wave group, The Buggles
. This year marks my fifth anniversary blogging on WordPress as “artdoesmatter”, and it’s been wonderful to watch many other blogging-artists and writers (who started their blogs also in 2012) parlay their most up-to-the-minute happenings between both the WordPress and Instagram platforms.
View of my computer screen of the first drawing brainstorm session in Adobe Illustrator for my Upcycled brooches and digital drawings. Photo: P. Sullivan
To give you a further idea of how my studio ideas begin and transform into a finished piece, on left is a photo of how things in my studio begin: at the computer using Adobe Illustrator software. Using the pen tool in Illustrator, I layout a rough idea of the pattern I’d like at a very enlarged scale. This is considered “freehand drawing” – even though many anti-digital purists would bicker at my use of the term freehand
. But as I often point out to other Instagram commenters, I am the one operating the tool and moving it across the onscreen canvas with pixel ink that ultimately becomes a tangible, ink jet printout onto recycled paper or archival paper. In this image on left, I’m highlighting a part of the drawn pattern with the selection tool as I decide how I’m going to scale/size the final brooch piece.
Two planning stages of my Upcycled Brooch No. 1 as ink jet prints drawn digitally in Illustrator. Photo: P. Sullivan
Next step, I print out my progress and compare the scale to what I feel would best complement a successful brooch piece. The beauty of working in software is that one can readily re-size or re-scale anything that is drawn in vector format; the entire basis of the Illustrator platform is vector, meaning the basic nucleus of the drawing is comprised of line and points along a path. The ivory-shaded border or frame on the print-out to the right of this photo represents the upcycled soup bowl lid that I’ll saw out and use as the outer frame of the completed brooch.
Split-screen view at my jeweler’s bench of the Upcycled Brooch in-progress, c. March 2017. Photo: P. Sullivan
Using my jeweler’s sawframe, I saw out the microwave soup bowl material into the desired shape, utilizing the paper templates I create in Illustrator. The split-screen on far left is how I cut the Plexiglas part of this brooch that frames the final ink jet print in place (just like a small painting may use plexi or glass in front of it!) Even though this piece doesn’t use any traditional metal (apart from the vintage safety pin the final piece employs) the identical tools one uses in the fabrication of small metals or jewelry are all used here. This includes the jeweler’s sawframe, sawblades, needle files, drill bits, drill and sawblade lube/wax. It’s the perfect process combination or amalgam of digital meets the handmade.
W.I.P. Instagram pic of my textile pattern drawing, using graphite pencil on a found, upcycled microwaveable soup bowl lid. Photo: P. Sullivan
This pattern that I created is derived from historic textile patterns, used in Islamic decorative arts to Renaissance European scroll pattern work found on furniture mouldings or rugs. It was so enjoyable to use that I decided to draw it out manually – a traditional, freehand pencil drawing with graphite pencils on another piece of found soup bowl material that otherwise would have been discarded. Here it’s seen as a work-in-progress drawing. Eventually, I placed the finished graphite piece into a 5 inch-square black wood frame that complements the piece nicely. I encourage you to stop by my Instagram profile, known as artdoesmatter12
to see the final framed 2-D graphite drawing.
All creative concepts and photographs used here are copyright Patricia Sullivan, and may not be used or re-published without written consent from the artist.