Thistles by Holly de Moissac

Thistles by Holly de Moissac, 2018. Cut outlines of thistles into thick paper, to be tangled into larger forms, rough, handmade paper (approx. 150-200 gsm), with an uneven surface.

Cutting: Yes

Cutting time/1 sheet: 40 minutes.
File Preparation: File was prepared by creating black ink drawings, scanned at 300 ppi. Images were then opened in Photoshop, increasing contrast in levels, selecting dark areas, and exporting the selected outlines to
illustrator. In illustrator, I chose an RGB workspace, and worked with 1 pt thick black lines to clean up the image. This was done by selecting my outlines, moving them out of the workspace, selecting and deleting rogue anchors/noise, and then repositioning my outlines. I then sized lines to .003 mm (or .009 pts), and changed their colour to RGB red.

The standard power setting (18.7) for cutting paper was too low, causing the laser to miss some thicker fibres. A power setting of 20.06 much better, leaving only a few fibres uncut.


  • Place bars on all sides of paper sheets to prevent movement from the fan. Leave large enough margins in the image for the bars.
  • Handmade papers are not always square – allow for this in file layout.
  • Small paper cutouts can blow into the ventilation fan at the back of the cutter, remove these at the end of the cycle. It may be worthwhile to lay a strip of light mesh over the air intake holes to catch small pieces.
    Trouble shooting: If a job blocks the Microsoft print queue, this can be reset by opening the print queue in computer settings (click the window logo in bottom left corner & select the cog symbol) > Devices > Printers and Scanners > Trotec Engraver > Open queue > select the print job > cancel job. If the job does not delete: Back out of the queue and select Manage under Trotec Engraver > Run the Trouble Shooter. It should indicate that a job is blocking the print queue. Restart the computer. The job will be gone from the print queue.