Grete Wilkinson working in her shop at her work table Grete Wilkinson standing with the Brad Olerik's completed Shower glass

How Grete began Sandblasting Glass

I was born and raised in Denmark in an environment that has nothing to do with sandblasting glass and when I first came to Canada, sandblastng glass was not part of my life either. I stumbled into this artform and career at a time when I ought to have started to think of retirement.

It began as something my husband thought might occupy me while he was away working in the Arctic and was gone for several months at a time. He rigged up the equipment and built me a small blasting cabinet and we bought 16 large sheets of glass from somebody who had given up on building a green house. He then showed me where to turn the compressor on and off, wished me luck and went up north.

There I was. I knew nothing about compressors and even less about sandblasting or cutting glass. All I had was four video tapes on glass etching and a friend who could advise me about the cutting of glass, plus a total lack of doubt in my ability to learn this new thing. I was thrilled when I made my first mark on a piece of glass. This would actually work! After a couple of months of exploring on my own I took a one-week workshop in the States

One thing I quickly learned is that it is not possible to see what you have been working on until the glass is out of the booth. Only when the dust and resist (the protective masking) has been removed can I see if the finished work looks the way I intended it to look. It is exciting every time and I love it.

I also love working with my clients. I meet so many nice people. I may only know them for the duration of the job, but during that period I find it interesting and challenging to understand where they come from and what they are asking me to do. Not just what they say, but what is behind what they are saying. So I get to meet people in a way I would not have been able to were it not for my sandblasting glass.

The challenge in making the design fit the glass is another part of the process that I particularily enjoy. Trying to catch movements and expressions and make them into 3-D images in the flat glass is also very exciting.

I have been working with sandblasted glass for twenty years now. It has turned into a retirement career and I hope to continue doing this till the end of my days.

Grete Wilkinson admiring the finished Grecian Lady Enlightened
Grete admiring her Grecian Lady.
Grete Wilkinson working onsite in Nanoose Bay
Grete working onsite in Nanoose Bay.
Carved glass piece entitled, Grecian Lady Enlighted

Check out some of Grete's Favourite Sites