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22 November 2016

Creating a replacement etched glass panel for York Racecourse

The York Racecourse Project is a project featured on our website that consistently draws attention. Not only are these glass panels created for a notable location, the complexity of this design is also matched by its size (3m x 12m). Made for the EBOR VIP stand at York Racecourse, the 3D design is sandblasted across multiple layers of the glass and at multiple-depths to create a unique level of perspective.  Furthermore, the design also works to create a solid band of sandblasted glass at eye level, obscuring eye contact between groups of either side of the glass.

We recently received news that one of the panels was damaged and needed to be replaced.  Whilst this may not sound like a hugely complex job, there are a number of technical challenges created by replacing a panel as big and complex in design as this:

  • Firstly, the panel design must line through with the two adjacent panels exactly. To put this another way, aligning multiple figures that have been etched to multiple depths on multiple sides of the glass across three panels

  • The glass is worked by hand rather than sandblasted by a machine to a pre-set depth. This required the glass artists at Daedalian to draw on their experience and judge the depth to which the panel was originally etched in order to replicate it. Adding to this, the glass looks different within the sandblaster due to the differing light conditions and the grit from the machine. Consequently, only the most experienced of glass artists are able to perfectly match up the design on two panels whilst freehand blasting

  • The size of the panels. With each individual panel measuring 1m x 3m, each time the panels needed to be moved it required considerable manpower to complete the task safely

Once the designs are completed, safety coated, and cleaned, the only way to truly ensure the quality of the final piece is to stand all three panels together and inspect every detail.  Due to the technical complexity, this quality control check is carried out personally by Daedalian Glass Studios founder and creative director, Davia Walmsley, ensuring that the new panel leaving the studio matches the exacting standards of Daedalian Glass Studios.

Finally, we reach the re-installation stage of this project and after many hours of human labour, this is perhaps the most nerve-wracking phase.  Any slip of the hand or foreign object coming in contact with the glass during transit could cause a chip or scratch, meaning the entire panel needs to be remade from the beginning.

Val freehand blasting the multiple-depth design of a jockey riding his horse.
Davia Walmsley inspecting the completed panels.
Daedalian founder, Davia Walmsley inspecting the completed panels.