Preparing to Sandcarve Memorial 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

As with all awards and recognition pieces, memorial pieces are all unique in that the clients come up with the special text and images they wish to have included along with the names and dates of the departed. This process usually takes a bit longer than with awards as the clients often have a hard time settling on the text they want. We usually go through a few revisions before the actual text gets signed off on. 

This underlies how important it is to number each proof and make sure to have a signature on the final version before sandcarving anything. Recently we had a signed-off proof, and when the stone was delivered, the client remarked that the birth date was wrong. Luckily, we had the signed-off proof to show that it was approved incorrectly.

—Ruth Dobbins, Your Professional Glass Consultant