The Source of Light for Sandcarving

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

An item of utmost importance in any sandcarving cabinet is a light source, which allows you to see in spite of the dust storm that takes place. In early commercial blasting cabinets, you only found fixed fluorescent tubes. Those are the worst possible choice for light when dealing with sandcarving glass. Fluorescent lights illuminate everything uniformly and do not allow you to see highlights and shows as you carve a glass piece, thus making it impossible to judge the depth you have achieved. We use magnetic lights with a flexible goose neck, which allows us to change the light position at any time and bend it to the exact angle needed when doing elaborate art pieces. These lights can accommodate regular light bulbs or Halogen lights, whichever you prefer. Some cabinets have fixed light sources. 

—Ruth Dobbins, Professional Glass Consultants