Perfect Practice Makes Perfect: The value of blasting sample pieces

With over 35 years in the glass business, Ruth Dobbins offers experience in fused and cast glass, as well as in glass-etching techniques. Ruth holds a Master's Degree in Printmaking and Art History and has been a partner in a stained and fused glass wholesale supply company in Europe, which also placed great emphasis on a training program. For the past 20 years, she collaborated with her husband Norm Dobbins in commission work, writing books and creating videotapes on how-to techniques for glass etching. Ruth taught these techniques for 30 years in the U.S. and other countries. Ruth continues these venues by offering a complete training program at Aliento School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and by teaching at various trade shows, including The Awards & Engraving Show. One-on-one training and consulting services are also offered. You can reach Ruth by email at, by phone at 505-473-9203 and by fax at 505-473-9218. Check out the website at

It seems that everyone believes that just because you know how to blast well, you can blast any imagery perfectly right of the bat. But that’s not necessarily so.

I’ve learned the value of blasting sample pieces. I blast them (sometimes more than once) until I feel familiar with the way to create the result I was looking for before attempting to blast the actual panel. This is a process I employ when working on almost every project. 

—Ruth Dobbins