Death by a Thousand Cuts

This is a long, difficult, and painful process. My fingers are sore from these tiny slices but the patterns and rhythms of Ascension need to reflect the photographic image which is on the reverse side so I have to push on in this way. The detail needs to be there.

I’m not scared of the pain in my fingers. I’ve been cutting and ripping for half a decade now so I know how to pace myself to negate any long-term damage. The callouses on my hands protect me and I take regular breaks.

The first few layers of any assemblage are often the hardest going whilst I settle into understanding what it required. During this period my muscles stiffen and appendages ache far more than they do on later layers. The detail in the upper layers needs to be perfect so it is mentally exhausting too. There can be no errors and no nicks or cuts in the wrong place,

This is only the first layer of eighteen in total. Wish me luck, I’m going back in for a second…



2 thoughts on “Death by a Thousand Cuts

  1. I’m always so impressed with your work Melanie. Your fingers are amazing. Since you’re working with a specific image on the front, how do you keep track of that you’re cutting from the backside? Do you make reference sketches or just go by feel? Of course, I’m assuming you cut with the back-side up. 🙂

  2. I keep a plain copy of the photograph in front of me at all times. I then have to imagine what is on the back… and in reverse. I cut with the back side up for 99% of the time.

    Sometimes if the image is particularly complex I make a few reference slices on the front side. I try to do this as little as possible so that I’m working as blindly as I can. I want to respect the picture but I don’t want to be purely led by it.

    After the first few layers I’ve pretty much memorized the picture and I can work purely on instinct then.


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