Sunday, 4 December 2011

Two great new products. Interested? You should be. This is PROGRESS!

Some companies in the pet memorial industry like to keep churning out the same old products, day after day, year after year. And while we have to admit that we do a lot of the conventional – if you haven't already then you can see our About Us page for more info about that – we also do a lot of the new and intriguing as well; it's something that many customers say they like about us, and something which we think keeps things really interesting. See our testimonials page here and read some great success stories which we feel we have every right to shout about!

And we think there's no better example of the latter -- the intriguing -- than our brand-new-in Engraved Optical Crystal Tea Light Holder. A fresh and innovative way of remembering your nearest and dearest pet, the Tea Light Holder is ideal for pet owners who would prefer to keep their memorial indoors rather than outside at the mercy of the elements. Decorative and also a great tribute, we think that this is a fine way to celebrate a pet's life while also doubling-up as something practical which you can really use.

So, why not light a candle in memory of a loved one? Furry or with feathers, we can cover everything. And, as you would also expect, our Tea Light Holders are of the finest quality and expertly fashioned out of the best solid optical crystal going. Even better, the fact that they sit inside the comfort of your home means that maintenance is minimal. In reality, an occasional polish will suffice, and keep your pet's memory shining whenever the candle is lit.

Of course, a Tea Light Holder on its own can be attractive, but with your own personalised engraving added to it, it becomes stunning. All designs are sandblasted in-house, where we can keep a strict and steady eye on the process at every single stage in the process. It is this commitment to the fine details which means that you get a vast array of choice – have anything you like sandblasted onto the surface – in the way of both lettering and motifs. An example of this can be found in the photo below.

Naturally, the Engraved Optical Crystal Tea Light Holder won't turn up at your house in some second-hand cardboard box. Pets At Rest are big on making sure the customer is always happy, and as such we supply all our Tea Light Holders – as well as memorials and the like – in a pleasing black foam-lined presentation box.
Summary and fine details

With a size of 80mm high by 50mm wide, this pet memorial is small enough to fit virtually anywhere. And don't worry about the piece becoming lost in a background of ornaments and small indoor plants – once lit, the Tea Light Holder emits a powerful glow that filters majestically through the prism of glass beneath it. In other words, during the day it will look precious, and during the night it will retain its magical charm excellently, always reminding of a pet but without the merest suggestion of anything morbid.

Included in the price is your choice of up to 2 motifs and wording. If you're unsure about how your design and text might be incorporated into one of our memorials – or if you have any questions about anything you have read on this blog – feel free to contact us.

Another forward-thinking memorial we have newly on offer is the Rustic Slate-Stone Pet Memorial.

Made from the best authentic solid grey/blue natural Welsh stone, this memorial offers a compromise between the traditional memorials we all know and love, and the slightly more contemporary designs which we are beginning to see more and more of (something which we are very keen to emphasise, as we feel there is still much more to be developed within this almost infinite concept). Once again, it comes personalised with your very own choice of wording, and we are more than happy to discuss any ideas you may have for motifs. You'd be surprised what's possible, and with sandblasting techniques becoming ever more refined, the limits which were present twenty – or even ten – years ago are now no longer a concern for the skilled craftsman.

Another attractive quality about our Rustic Slate Stone Pet Memorials is the way they integrate into their environment. While the stone is somewhat more honed than any that exist in the average garden, they also possess a familiarity that doesn't make them stand out so much they look ridiculous. In other words, it's a great way to compliment your garden, while also making a statement that is obvious enough to remind you of your pet, whenever you come across the stone.

Other slight differences from the conventional pet memorial are as follows: this memorial has no base-holder, and doesn't need to be placed on any special device to keep it firmly in place. Thanks to a reasonable weight and suitably flat base, the stone rests easily wherever you would like to position it. This means that not only is installation incredibly simple, but moving the memorial to a new location – such as when moving house – is easy and trouble-free.

Details on size, fonts and other information

At 10 inches wide by 8 inches high, these pet memorials are a decent size. Bold without being bulky, and attractive without outshining anything in the surrounding area (the stones are roughly 10mm thick, which means that they stand proud of the ground just enough to create a nice relief against the flat earth beneath).

Ordering your Rustic Slate Stone Pet Memorial genuinely couldn't be easier or less hassle. Simply head over to the official Pets At Rest website and complete the online order-form. Specifically designed to make ordering as stress-free as possible, we won't keep asking you seemingly irrelevant questions or bombard you with a whopping questionnaire once you're done. Just enter the text you'd like and we'll do the rest. You'll also be able to see a full range of Standard Pet Motifs or Fonts. If you like.

Finally, once we've received your design – for those of you who are looking to add a sandblasted motif to the memorial– we'll take a look at it and then email the refined art-work to you so that you can check it and make sure that everything is where it should be.

Thanks for reading. We will be back soon with more!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Pets At Rest: some examples of stunning bespoke designs

Here at Pets At Rest, we like to think our work speaks for itself – we have online galleries which can show you what we can do, not to mention pages of letters which give a valuable insight into what past customers think about their memorials. And while both of these things offer good examples of our capabilities, it has come to our attention recently that the personal connection between past customers and those considering a new memorial can get lost sometimes. Which is why today, for this new post on the brand-new blog, we have decided to showcase a couple of past memorials which have presented particular challenges to our talented craftsmen.

Because that's the thing which we feel makes Pets At Rest different from our competitors. Rather than just offering a stock product, a customer can come to us and make a special request and we will do our best to accommodate their wishes in every way we can. Have a look at the following two examples and...who knows? You might be inspired to think about a design for your pet which you would never have considered before.

One customer who came to us had a very specific idea of what he wanted, and his idea was everything that is interesting about our often unusual job: full of vision, design, and unique qualities which would make it really stand out. The piece was also going to be two feet square, making it a sizeable job, and one that would take considerable time to get precisely right.

Firstly, instead of just requesting an off-the-shelf memorial for his dog, he wanted us to replicate a paw print using separate pieces of specially-shaped granite. We won't lie...this wasn't a simple job! It began with a consultation, where we tried to record all the important details, and was followed by a series of sketches being sent back and forth. Then followed a number of phone calls, until soon the design was perfected and the client was satisfied enough that the drawing could go off to be turned into the individual pieces...

...The next stage involved engraving the letters into the granite, and engraving more text into the centre piece. And when it came to organising the pieces on-site, the client wanted the design laid completely flat. This was no problem, although we did advise that the stone be left untreated and unpainted, as any water lying stagnant on the area for too long would soon wear away the paint. This turned out to be a wise idea for two reasons: not only did it look more natural, but longevity was also provided, meaning minimal future maintenance and less cost incurred.

Another customer came to us with a similar passion for excellence – although this job was very different and involved an entirely different skill-set; one that demanded the finest in artistic stone-engraving techniques – something which has to be done correctly, and with a precision that will allow for the minute details to be accurately represented.

This piece was also a large headstone (see below): at twelve by eighteen inches it was more along the lines of something which you'd see in a conventional graveyard. Adorned with designs that were in themselves individual masterpieces, the work that was to go into this memorial was painstaking, and would test our fine-art skills to the limit...

...It began with a brief, as all our bespoke orders do: create a stunning upright headstone – very much in the conventional sense of the word, as you can see in the photo – with a specially shaped top, and use photo-engraving to transmit images of a rabbit and a pheasant onto its surface, as well as the pet it would be an ode to. The next stage was for us to source the images, which we did swiftly. Once this was done, time was taken to ensure the layout we had in mind matched the one the customer had so often imagined. From there it was, as ever, a case of ironing out the fine details which only appear at the very last moment – details which many of our customers probably don't notice, but which are obvious to those who work in the trade – before starting work on the finished product.

As you can see from the photograph, we were very happy with the finished article and so too was the customer. Yes it was a tricky job at times, but like all our work, it's the most complex jobs we do which are the most satisfying.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Stuart Gebbie: founding the company, thoughts and aspirations

Visit the official Pets At Rest web-site, or read the upcoming blogs soon to be featured here, and you're bound to be intrigued by Stuart Gebbie's enthusiastic attitude to the art of sandblasting. While many people unfamiliar to the medium might think of sandblasting as a limited and one-dimensional craft, the very ethos of the company is based on an expanse of results to the contrary, as well as feedback from many happy clients. In other words, Pets At Rest aren't like other pet memorial companies. Why? Because instead of simply settling for what has been proven, this Cambridge-based company are ready and willing to expand their horizons, allowing greater freedom to tackle more complex designs and more intricate work.

When it comes down to it, Pets At Rest are just more dynamic and exciting!

The idea for Pets At Rest began over 10 years ago. In Stuart's own words: “...I started working for my father who manufactured a sandblasting system for hobbyists’ and for enterprise schemes within schools and colleges. The minute I had a go on it, I was hooked!'

Speaking about what specifically makes sandblasting so special, he says: “The ability to take a blank canvas in the form of stone, or glass, and change it via this method into a kind of piece of art – but with permanent effect – was fantastic. Also, I quickly learned that sandblasting created the finest and stunning results imaginable...”


After gaining an A* in GCSE Art and studying Art at A Level, Stuart went on to complete a 1 year Foundation course in Graphic Design, spending time at the reputed Colchester Institute. Motivated by a desire to produce art that would also possess a commercial interest – in particular concerning advertising – his move into the pet memorial business was one that aimed to fuse art and craftsmanship with the freedom of self employment. As a result, the company got off to a good start, and almost immediately Pets At Rest was formed, aimed at bringing the best possible pet memorials into the public domain.

Fuelled by the myriad of possibilities that sandblasting offered – among them, corporate gifts to house signs – the pet memorial aspect came about through demand more than anything. “...I kept getting asked to create small garden plaques,” says Stuart. “...People couldn’t believe the amount of money I asked for [in a good way], for what they got and had been quoted for beforehand. I then started looking into it in more detail, as I'd noticed that my competitors' work lacked a certain amount of freedom to be creative – something which I felt I could offer a solution to at a more affordable price. I also didn't like how many companies seemed to be obsessed with restricting choice and keeping things so simple. For the crazy money they charged, I knew I could do better.”

Learning curve

While it's certainly true that you can learn sandblasting in a college environment, Stuart learned much of his technique the old-fashioned way: in a real working environment, from mentors with more experience. For example, he was taught photo-engraving by one of the originators of the art-form, and went on to utilise this rich knowledge base in his own work, which was now beginning to flourish. About his mentor, who developed this new and more painstaking process during the 1960s, Stuart says: “...He was the first person to create the half-tone designs you see on headstones in cemeteries and the like. This is a skill that has to “come to you” over time – your eye suddenly seeing it. In order to get it just right and achieve the perfect end result, a great deal of concentration is required, but that's not a chore when you really enjoy the work you do.”

Quality Stone and the rise of Copycat techniques

Thanks to advanced machinery capable of replacing an element of human skill and labour, sandblasting – and techniques which attempt to emulate the effect of sandblasting – is now more popular than ever. But although this is the case, Pets At Rest firmly believe that nothing matches the integrity provided by true skill administered by an experienced professional. It is this unique characteristic which puts a grieving client at ease during a time of, at times, considerable stress.

In terms of products, Pets At rest uses only the finest stone available anywhere. Stuart says of this:

“...I took years to end up with the best supplier of stone blanks I could find and I only use the best quality products out there. I use white marble from Italy, black granite from Spain and grey slate from Wales – as well as a range of natural stones found mostly in the UK...”

Another important point about the company's stone-sourcing is that all stone – from both the UK and abroad – is carefully hand-picked and chosen based on a number of strict requirements.

Fonts, motifs and the customer's freedom of choice

Using a vast range of more traditional fonts (Times New Roman and Arial) and a number of more elaborate fonts (among them Monotype Corsiva and Chancery Script) Pets At Rest makes any combination of words possible, whatever your personal taste. Popular fonts may be chosen, or a customer may have a specific wish which they would prefer to investigate. Either way there shouldn't be a problem, and all choice is down to the client, making the process a streamlined combination of skill and love.

The company also work with a variety of motifs and have a collection suitable for any occasion. These may be applied to any design format, and just recently a brand-new range of fonts and motifs has been released. About this Stuart says: “...Now included are far more animal designs and even silhouettes.”

But most of all, at the heart of Pets At rest is a desire to please the customer – no matter how traditional, contemporary or exotic their taste. “I am keen for people to feel that they can express themselves in the format of the pet memorial...” Says the owner. “...That if they want something crazy or very personal they can have it. In my opinion, by far the most important part of our service is the creation of the artwork we do for the client. Once they send in the order to us, we set about creating the best possible layout style and offer advice and alternative layout options if need be. This ensures the plaque looks exactly how the customer envisaged. After all, it's reflecting the life of a beloved friend and isn’t just a cold emotionless product shoved in the ground and forgotten about.”

New styles to come in 2012

Pets At Rest is constantly revising, reconsidering and re-interpreting the humble pet memorial – the aim being to do ultimate justice to a medium which has, before, offered very limited scope. "Coming in 2012 are an entirely new range of products, styles and design ideas unique to the company.”

The main aim, Stuart says, is to “enable people to have something created by us that truly reflects the adoration they have for their beloved friends. We also hope to be able to create a dignified product – one just as worthy and special as any customer's pet.”

What sandblasting really is, and how Pets At Rest use it

Very often, the clients who come to us at Pets At Rest – managed and overseen by owner and head technician Stuart Gebbie – are just as interested in the process of sandblasting as the excellence achieved by the final result. A captivating and completely unique way to transform an ordinary looking piece of stone, sandblasting has evolved and stood the test of time, proving itself to be the ideal medium for transferring words, images and even photographs onto a hard surface that will not easily succumb to rain, sleet and other abrasive elements.

A technique which (as the name suggests) harnesses the power of sand, combining it with force to burrow away at the surface of anything from slate to marble – and even the hardest of stones: granite – sandblasting began life over 125 years ago, and has since rapidly progressed, using the most advanced technology to create brilliantly artistic work. And this is what interests Pets At Rest – by staying true to the origins of this much under-rated art-form and focusing on providing a solution for any vision that a customer might have, the best results are frequently obtained. The best part about sandblasting is that with practice, almost any design, no matter how intricate, can be accurately reproduced.

And if you thought that sandblasting ended with stone, you'd be mistaken. Pets At Rest are also specialist's in sandblasting on glass and many other materials. Interested in discussing the potential uses of sandblasting to create a stunning memorial to your beloved pet? Stuart's always happy to hear from you, so either comment here or view the pets at rest website for his contact information.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Welcome to the Pets At Rest blog - want to know what we're all about?Read on...

Made from premium quality Spanish stone, this personalised
memorial plaque – which has been lovingly sand-blasted
by hand with meticulous attention to detail
The date is October 19th 2011, and today is a special's the first post of the new Pets At Rest blog!


You may have found this blog while looking for our web-site,, or maybe you've just stumbled across it after searching for a pet memorial specialist in the Cambridgeshire area. Either way, we hope you'll check back every so often to see what's new and what's coming up.


We won't go on about all that here, though, because all that information is available for you to see at the official web-site. Instead, here's a brief summary of what we do so you know what to expect when you do need a pet memorial or indoor pet tribute


  1. A unique customer-first working ethos: we know that your pet matters to you as much as anything else in your life, so when it's their time to go we always try to do our best to make you happy with the best quality product possible. That means a reliable service from the moment you send us the art-work to the moment the piece arrives safely at your door in a timely fashion.
  2. A range of different materials to choose from: granite, slate, glass and wood are all things we frequently handle -- and we like to think that the results speak for themselves. Have an interesting idea that sounds a bit unusual? We'd love to discuss it with you and see if we can make it happen.
  3. A personal and efficient service that focuses on producing memorials that will stand the test of time: many of our products are made in-house. That way, we get to keep an eye on the quality - meaning the best customer satisfaction possible at a price which you can be happy with.
  4. A prompt system so that the second you send us the order, you can be confident the job is in hand: within just 2 days you'll receive the art-work, giving you a much better idea of what the end result will be.