Legible Braille Glassware

Many years ago, right as we were beginning our journey as Mixing Spirits, I caught Kathy Lee and Hoda’s favorite things during the 4th hour of the Today Show. They were featuring the beautiful work of an artist named Sherri that incorporated legible braille. Her website shares a little about how she developed her braille designs. “One of the pieces I am most proud of is my braille series . This was completely inspired by my daughter she is blind. Many times she would sit by my side as I painted and ask many questions what am I painting? What color? Is it a tree? What are the shapes? so for the most part I would do my best to describe it to her. Which got me to thinking why does art have to be purely visual. I work with texture and shapes so much everyday how about concentrating more on how the piece feels.”

As I considered our new “sand carving” process (I’m fairly certain we were still using the rubbermaid tub my husband fashioned into a blast cabinet), I wondered if we could create enough texture for legible braille. Turns out we could. Our process has evolved over time through feedback from our customers, each evolution making the products better and more accessible to the visually impaired.

In the beginning stages of creating braille glassware I had no idea what I was doing. This glass was created using a free braille font from the internet, it mimicked another design we had at the time. If you can read braille by sight you’ll notice there’s no capital “I” in “I love you”, while it could have been a hipster style choice it was really just ignorance. I was really excited to use this new medium, but didn’t know where to begin researching how to do it properly.

In addition to using a horrific font that often spelled things incorrectly, the letters were etched. This meant the legibility was hindered by letters that were depressed into the glass rather than raised.

Over the last 4.5 years it’s been such an honor to work with you to create very unique gifts that allow you or your gift recipients to truly enjoy the gifts. We’ve made bridal party glasses, this beautiful apple, decanter sets, and so much more.

Our website is currently not as friendly as we would like for the visually impaired, but you can call (248) 631-4093 for help with ordering. If you’re more comfortable with email our general email is inquiries@mixingspirits.com and Jenn’s direct email is Jenn@mixingspirits.com All of those contact points are a great way to get ordering assistance as needed. 

The next big improvement in our braille glassware is a complete redesign in the etching process. We rely heavily on customer feedback for this product and want it to be as beautiful and functional as possible. We’re now etching a shape behind the writing to allow for a raised braille, this makes it significantly more legible.

Jenn found a phenomenal website for true braille translation a few years ago, and we use that tool to ensure the design is correct. She begins the designs in grade 1 braille for optimal legibility, but if you prefer grade 2 we can do that as well. Through her research she’s worked diligently to ensure correct spacing between letters, words, and each line of text.

If you have a fun project, a great gift idea, or suggestions for improving the braille line of glassware please reach out, we would love to expand this part of our business to be even more inclusive.