Inspiration from the IQ Center

Just because the IQ Center is located in the Science Building doesn’t mean it’s only mean for STEM projects.

One tool in particular has found remarkably broad use across many disciplines – the laser cutter.

The following recent projects highlight its uses in the area of print making.

sample woodblock with koi and text created in the IQ Center In traditional woodblock printing, artists create designs by removing wood from a block of wood with metal carving tools. The wood is then coated with ink and used to make a print. The laser cutter in the IQ Center can be used in place of the carving tools to remove wood more quickly and more precisely than traditional methods.

sample made from Leigh Ann Beavers’ printmaking class

This semester in Leigh Ann Beavers’ printmaking class, the IQ Center is collaborating on such a project. Students will create designs either digitally or by scanning paper drawings. The edited graphics will be laser engraved in the IQ Center and printed in the print studio using the same techniques as hand carved wood blocks. This process allows students to create a greater number of woodblocks with more detail than would normally be possible in a semester.

A similar technique is used to create rubber stamps which can be used for a number of practical and class-related projects.

white Japanese hachimaki with rubber stamped text in blue

Recently, Janet Ikeda, associate professor of Japanese, inquired about printing on fabric. She was interested in creating a custom Japanese headband called a hachimaki as part of a Lunar New Year video performance. Using the laser cutter, we created a rubber stamp that was able to print directly on fabric and the result looked fabulous.

Dancers wearing the hachimaki (custom headband) for a Lunar New Year video performance.

Regardless of your discipline, please contact Dave Pfaff with any creative technology needs.