The Process

maeve-01By Maeve Eichelberger

Have you ever wondered ‘how’ I do what I do? Although not the same every time, my technical process of the printing and cutting stays consistent. Allow me to share.

I have a library of images that is ever growing. When I decide on a series I choose my best photographs with the most interesting angles, brightest colors and strongest contrast. For ease of understanding, the images below are examples from my most current series, which was installed in October, Timeless Denver architecture and landmarks, with splashes of the west!

maeve-02I use Photoshop to setup and layout all my images that will be printed on a 4’x8′ (48″x96″) sheet of plexiglass. Then I create a route/cut file that will determine the amount of pieces, shapes and sizes that will be cut from that one sheet (the cut lines are in blue, the computer reads this file separately after the images are printed). There is no rhyme or reason to the cut files for this series merely that it allows me to be spontaneous and focus on composition of plexiglass rather than solely imagery.

The best part is next; I get what feels like a million printed pieces back, I lay them out on tables, as if a giant puzzle was about to be dominated. I begin to collage/compose. Collage time is sacred time.

maeve-03Once I have composed the printed pieces of cut plexi, the precision comes into play. I lay out the hardware-Multi-mounts which will eventually be fastened between the layers of plexi. Multi-mounts are a 3 part system that act as screws, nuts and bolts, but have a variety of sizes and materials with an aesthetic appeal. I source this product from Pizazz, a company out of New Zealand.

The number of multi-mounts and the distance between them is an extremely important element to my work. It’s a balance because I never want to add so much hardware that it distracts from the imagery but I also need enough to create a durable finished product. In the pictures below you can see how the multi-mounts function.

maeve-04Drilling is the next step. It really takes 4 hands; one person to drill and the other pressing down around the area to be drilled. I learned early on that plexiglass is a fragile material that cracks if the bit is dull or the added pressure isn’t enough. In some cases I am drilling 3-4 layers of plexiglass in certain areas. The particles and fumes from the heat are plenty, but it’s a great arm workout.

I used to think Windex was a perfect solution for cleaning the plexiglass, but oh I was wrong. There a few different brands of plastic cleaner to use- I use Novus, it helps with dust and decreases scratches. Lint free or microfiber cloth are ideal. Each individual layer must be cleaned and then once assembled as a whole I give another once over.

Finally the assembly. I work from the top layer to the back. Slowly I begin to see my 2D collage come to life. The hanging wire is the last piece. Like most paintings I use hanging wire as a sturdy and convenient method to display.

Voilà!

Colorado native and Think 360 Arts Teaching Artist, Maeve Eichelberger, grew up in Denver, raised in the influence of art. She moved to Larkspur in southern Colorado where her family started their new life on a ranch, raising horses, goats, chickens, peacocks and turkeys. Maeve holds her Wide Open Spaces close to her heart and will always be inspired by the Colorado skies, textures, design and livestock. Maeve received her BFA from Regis University in Denver and her MFA from Miami International University of Art and Design.