Awards & Engraving

2016 The Guide

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30 • THE GUIDE 2016 • A&E Getting to the point where you have a grip on this technique requires a bit of practice, more than carving will demand. Carving is somewhat forgiving in the fact that there is no visible standard as to how deep an area should be blasted; much is left to the interpretation of the blaster. In shading, that is a completely different story: one pass too many and the piece is ruined. But when things fall into place, you can achieve an elegant look. So, who is willing to try their hand at shading? Yes, it's not for the faint of heart, but it feels so good when you are successful at it, and really, using shading in the awards industry is not as elaborate as in architectural work. WHAT IS SHADING? When we talk about shading, we refer to a blasting technique that resembles air- brushing, except we do not use paint but our blaster to accomplish a similar effect. This requires a very low pressure setting (about 1 to 5 pounds of pressure) and also a minimal abrasive flow. The objective is to create various areas within a design that are blasted to different shades of gray. With an airbrush or a spray bottle, you control the amount of color delivered by the trigger or depressing the button more or less. In blasting, it is a bit trickier: you keep a much greater distance to the glass as usual and you move much faster with the nozzle (more on that later). There are two different styles of shading: one, uniform area shading, where any particular area is blasted to the very same saturation all over; and two, variable area shading, where there is a gra- dation within any given shape. THE ARTWORK The artwork required for shading is line art as opposed to block art in surface etching. In line art, all areas can touch and T here have been a few requests lately to write another article on the shading technique. This is a technique that not a lot of blast- ers employ even though it substantially increases the appeal of a project and is relatively easy to do. That's where the real problem lies: it is relatively easy to do when you know what you are doing. By Ruth Dobbins SANDCARVING TIPS A Lighter Shade of White: Shading on Glass A close up of the logo shows the outline created around the areas in the chimney area that will get peeled and shaded. The first stage was blasted to a little depth. Making a nameplate for a hotel manager here in Santa Fe. The name is a pre-cut stencil while the logo is made from photoresist. (All images courtesy Ruth Dobbins)

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