Imagining the Possibilities

Photography: Doug Dealey By Leigh Patterson

As far as Malcolm (Mac) and Alice Taylor of Innovative Laser Works are concerned, the process of laser engraving is limited only by your imagination. And imagination doesn't have to be carved in stone.

"We can accommodate almost anything," Alice says. "We've engraved designs onto canoe paddles and even Celtic shapes onto harps,"Malcolm adds.

Innovative Laser Works provides high quality laser engraving that works on most flat surfaces. Images and script can be reproduced in photographic detail on materials ranging from granite and tempered glass to wood and stainless steel. Size is no object, as detailed laser engraving can be done on pieces up to four by eight feet. These panels can then be pieced together to form larger displays. An example can be found in Innovative Laser Works' stunning, edge-lit, glass wall installation at the Parklands/Mixed Woods Gallery at The Manitoba Museum.

Innovative Laser Works' clients include people who are looking for unique, personalized gifts, and companies that require their services for industrial applications. Bulk orders can be accommodated for corporate awards and recognition plaques, as well as promotional items.

The same versatile laser system that etches floor inlays, wall murals, glass walls and stainless steel signs can delicately and in exquisite detail capture family photos, children's artwork and other treasured memories. The laser engraving process creates lasting impressions of achievements, celebrations, events and milestones. A current trend is to have wedding photos engraved onto granite squares, which can be presented to loved ones as keepsakes.

"What you give us is exactly what you get," Alice says. The Taylors work from a client's own photos or artwork, or they can choose from an extensive library of images, layouts, clipart and fonts, along with the material or item they wish engraved. Basic pieces can be produced about a week after the client approves a proof of their artwork. "Our customers are impressed with what we do and also how quickly we do it," she adds.

Malcolm likens Innovative Laser Works' custom operated laser engraving process to a printer, but instead of utilizing ink, images are created by the reaction of the engraving material with the laser beam either by burning or vaporizing the material. He explains that additive processes can also be used to add colour to glass and ceramics and to make permanent black markings on stainless steel. "The pinpoint accuracy of the laser enables us to achieve the highest detail engraving or marking available to consumers in our industry to date," he says.

Innovative Laser Works also provides custom layouts and artwork along with photo editing and restoration. "By including photo editing and restoration as part of our services," Alice notes, "we make it convenient and economical for our clients, because we can then use the resulting image directly in our own laser engraving processes."

Vector cutting is one of the newest services offered by Innovative Laser Works. This process involves using the laser to cut shapes like, logos, text and other profiles out of wood, plastic, acrylics and paper. These precision-cut materials can then be used to create three-dimensional signage and intricate geometric patterns. The company also produces unique "edge-lit" decorative pieces, where vector-cut acrylic is laser engraved and set into a wood base. When plugged in, coloured LED lighting illuminates the artwork. The advantage is that images can be changed easily and inexpensivelv according to decor and individual taste.

The first entrepreneurs to bring the original large format laser to Manitoba four years ago, the Taylors recently moved Innovative Laser Works from Marquette to a Winnipeg showroom on Paramount Road. How will the husband and wife team keep their business on the cutting edge? According to Malcolm, they'll continue to do what they've always done - provide exceptional customer service, keep updated on the latest technology and industry trends, and explore creative ways to use their expertise. After all, he says, "laser engraving is what we do; we love testing and trying new things and work at perfecting the process."