I’ve been working at Spaceform for just over a week now and from my very first day I fell in love with the beautiful collections that are designed and made by Christina and the team. There are plenty of ways to show appreciation and love towards friends and family throughout the range, but none have impressed me more than our personalised gifts.
Some of the stories behind these unique pieces are truly touching and it’s clear just how important they are, so I jumped at the chance to take a trip with our two newest designers to learn more about how we bring personal messages to life.
I’ll be honest, before I saw it for myself I genuinely thought these pieces would just go into a machine and come out a few minutes later with the personalised engraving perfectly finished.
I was wrong.
Not only is each piece made by hand, but there are 25 separate processes involved in creating each one, all of which require a huge amount of skill, care and attention to ensure a perfect finish. It’s also amazing to think all 25 of these processes only cover the personalisation process and don’t even include the many processes done by hand in order to create the glass piece in the first place.
Whilst I can’t go into too much detail without getting into trouble, I can share the most interesting parts of how Spaceform create personalised glass gifts.
Creating the message
A design is created digitally then printed onto acetate and placed into a UV light box with a layer of photoresist, a translucent material that becomes hard and brittle when exposed to light for extended periods. These are left in the light box and over time only the message will appear on the photoresist in the hardened state caused by light exposure. Great care must be taken with this process as the materials are astonishingly expensive and there is no margin for error.
Preparing the piece
Once this is done there is still no room for errors once when it comes to applying the photoresist a glass piece. It also must done quickly so the photoresist doesn’t continue to be affected by the light but also very carefully to ensure the positioning of the message is perfect and that there are no air bubbles. Depending on the size and complexity of the design this may have to be done in multiple stages.
Engraving the message
With the photoresist applied the rest of the piece is then protected and the process of engraving the message into the glass begins. A sandblaster is used to create the desired effect, an incredibly cool machine that allows someone to manually blast a piece of glass with aluminium oxide. As the glass is protected its surface is unaffected, however the hard and brittle parts of the photoresist will be removed with ease by the force of the sandblasting and the exposed glass underneath will be engraved with the personalised message.
The finished piece
The final part of the process is to remove the piece from the sand blasting machine and polish it by hand to ensure it finishes the 25th process as a perfectly formed, beautiful and unique piece of art.
Find out more about our personalised glass gifts