‘The Great Wave’ Sample Book
If you’ve spent any time on social media lately you’ve seen miniature art of every kind, from portraits the size of a quarter to an Eiffel Tower carved from a pencil tip. In “short” we’re in the middle of a “tiny revolution,” and “The Great Wave” Sample Book from FreeFall Laser, to me, is one of the most impressive miniature miracles to date.
Roughly the size of a business card, this demonstration of FreeFall’s cutting-edge laser abilities feels less like a promotion and more like something you might find in a museum.
Cleverly choosing subject matter with a Japanese flavor and iconography, designer Sarah Pike evokes that land’s ukiyo-e style of woodblock prints and paintings. Whereas those 18th and 19th century artists had to carve their designs from blocks of wood, Sarah has laser cut hers from a variety of materials – from paper to leather – and then layered them!
Opening the laser-engraved cover (on 100 lb. Mohawk Superfine Cover Eggshell White), we discover:
Sky: Engraved Japanese paper (blue 105 gsm Awagami Shin Inbe) with laser-cut spray
Mountain: Laser-cut acrylic with engraved snowcap
Wave (rear): Laser-cut wood with fine line and shallow engraving. (Clearly an homage to the ubiquitous “Great Wave off Kanagawa” by ukiyo-e artist Hokusai.)
Wave (front): Laser-cut twill fabric with laser engraving (possibly a nod to artist Hiroshige)
Boat: Laser-cut painted wood with deep engraving
Octopus: Laser-cut leather with engraved details
Samurai: Laser cut and engraved screen-printed paper.
“The Great Wave” Sample Book doesn’t merely demonstrate how precisely FreeFall Laser can cut its pieces, it shows that the process of laser engraving can actually reveal unexpected colors and textures.
As impressive as that may be, I still find myself coming back to just how small this book is. Not only is it the perfect “leave behind” in terms of showing what FreeFall can do, its diminutive size makes it feel more valuable somehow, more personal: a private treasure to be carried around and examined during moments of quiet reflection.