How to commission an engraver

If you have never before considered commissioning a piece of glass art - it's easier than you think. At its best, a commission is an exciting and creative collaboration between client and artist. Why buy a ready-made piece when you could be part of the process of creation?

Each engraver will have their own way of working with clients, but here are some general guidelines for anyone thinking about commissioning engraved glass.


Select your engraver:

Engravers vary widely in style as well as technique. Choose someone whose work you like and whose style, experience and price range suits the type and size of commission you have in mind. Try to see examples and/or images of the engraver's work before making your decision. All the engravers listed on this website are members of the Guild who have reached a standard appropriate to commissions.

Select Search for an engraver to search by name, town or keyword.


The glass canvas:

Some engravers keep stocks of glass; others do not but can advise you about available glass. Not all types of glass are suitable for engraving. For architectural commissions, choose an engraver experienced in this field who can advise you about health and safety considerations and glass appropriate to your site. If you would like a piece of your own glass engraved, discuss this with the engraver at the outset; this is likely to be at your own risk.


The design:

Before discussing the design itself with the engraver, it may be helpful to assemble any photographs or other information you may have which can act as reference, or as inspiration, for the subject matter. If lettering is to be included, it is a good idea to provide a typed copy of the inscription required to avoid uncertainty about spelling or phrasing.

Cost of the project:

Have a budget in mind and discuss it with the engraver so that he or she can work within your cost limitations. When the engraver has a clear idea of what is required, it will normally be possible to give an estimate. Most engravers will give a fixed quotation, if required, when the design has been agreed. Depending on the size of the commission and individual practice, some engravers may require a design fee and/or a deposit to be paid in advance.


Engraving is a time-consuming process. Give your engraver as much time as possible to complete the commission. If you have a date by which the piece is required, make sure the engraver knows this from the beginning.


Millennium doors - architectural project sandblast and drill engraved by Tracey Sheppard Engraver at work laying out a design Hampshire house - portrait of a clients house drill engraved on Cumbria crystal by Tony Gilliam