3D glass images in the Azores
Crown of Espirito Santo and Senhor Santo Cristo among the best-selling
Correio dos Açores have an interview with entrepreneur Miguel Teles, asking him how he came up with the idea of laser engraving images on glass?
“Ourivesaria Teles is an almost centenary shop, having been founded by my grandfather in 1928. My grandfather was an Alfacinha, he was born in Alfama and came to the Azores, through a theatre company, and he liked it this way. He lived for a while in São Miguel, then returned to Terceira, where he ended up settling.
In 2001, we opened a jewelery shop in São Jorge and in 2005 we expanded our installed capacity by acquiring a building in the center of Angra do Heroísmo, where there are 2 stores, and an engraving studio, currently. The original store has remained at Rua Direita n.º 85 since its foundation.
Ourivesaria Teles, in 1998, was the first in the Azores to have a computer recording system. We sought to develop this area, in parallel with the goldsmith’s activity. Therefore, we were developing the recording area, through the atelier we set up and the valences that we were creating.
Engraving on glass is one of the valences that was, however, created. This one came during a trip I took abroad in 2010, where I saw the pieces in a museum and I liked it a lot, it immediately aroused my interest. We have always been a company with an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. So, I was maturing the ideas, making contacts, until in 2013, we founded another company, called Tecnoteles, which is the owner of the atelier, which acquired the equipment that does those jobs, among others.
In the studio, we plan and engrave on glass, laser cut on various materials, namely wood, acrylics… very cute. A key aspect is the quality of the glass. There are glasses on the market at other cheaper prices, but they do not have the quality of ours.
How are themes chosen?
There was a strategy here, in the sense of looking for what seemed to us to be most interesting. We try to have themes for all the islands, but there are those themes that are transversal to all of them. The most transversal, that is, our top seller is the Crown of the Divine Espírito Santo. Incidentally, the hydrangea is also transversal to all the islands. In the Central Group, for example, dolphins and sperm whales, which date back to the tradition of whaling, sell very well.
Then there are those issues most typical of all the islands, at a religious level, namely Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres in São Miguel; Nossa Senhora dos Milagres da Serreta, on Terceira; the Bom Jesus de São Mateus do Pico; Senhor Santo Cristo da Graciosa, among others.
We made bets, we were exchanging and developing ideas about what worked best, always with the spirit of adapting to each island, with the sense of innovating and presenting something differentiating. Often, talking to customers itself helped us to develop ideas.
The original files are high investments.
Do you design the themes?
Sometimes, we turn to external offices, specialists in 3D. We use these external offices, sometimes in Portugal, sometimes abroad, when we want to develop a 3D project. They develop the project, although the prints and recordings are all done here. We also do customizations. For example, a person asks to record a photograph, or to mark an event, such as a silver or gold wedding anniversary, is possible. It is a treatment that is done in a 2D plane.
What material is used?
3D engraving inside an object can only be glass. There have been experiments in acrylic, but the recording is dark, without quality or presentation.
We have other areas: we do laser cutting of woods, acrylics; we make keychains; magnets, souvenirs, always with the possibility of specific customizations. Another example, for Christmas, we have a beautiful collection of cribs and Christmas trees; we produce trophies, cups, among others. We really have a space with many valences.
How is the manufacturing process?
Normally, the process starts with the drawing. The client brings an idea or we develop an idea ourselves and present it.
Nowadays, it is usually people trained in design or multimedia technicians, who develop the drawings, in specific programs. So, this is the process, the design is created, the machines perform the cuts and engravings and then the final finishing process takes place. The process is essentially the creation of the design, its execution or production and the finishing or completion.
Can it be found for sale on the various islands of the Azores?
Yes, throughout the archipelago.
Are there several points of resale…
Yes, as I mentioned, in all the islands, because the idea was to make the product known as much as possible. We know that they are small markets, with their limitations, but they have something in common, namely the possibility of customization in each context.
Does transport to other islands make the product more expensive?
It adds a little to the value of the merchandise, but it is not significant.
Other original collections?
In fact, the entire glass collection is original. All of it was created by us.
Creativity is always present in our projects, it is part of our DNA.