Abbott blasts onto art scene

Vernon's Carrie Abbott creates sandblasting art at Waterat Design Studio.

Vernon’s Carrie Abbott sandblasts a design onto the back windows of a Ford F350.

Vernon’s Carrie Abbott sandblasts a design onto the back windows of a Ford F350.

Donning a protective face shield, gloves and thick clothing, Vernon’s Carrie Abbott looks more like an industrial tradesman than an artist when she works.

It’s a job prerequisite for a residential and commercial sandblasting artist, and it’s something Abbott, owner of the newly opened Waterat Design Studio, doesn’t mind if it allows her to follow her dream.

“It’s not a pretty job, all wrapped up in my safety gear, but it’s me doing what I love,” said Abbott, who can blast or carve pretty much any design onto auto glass, signage, tile, memorials, commemorative pieces, awards, gifts, home decor, privacy glass.

The entire process – from commissioning a piece to installing it – can be completed in as little as two days, depending on the design. While mainly working out of her home studio, she also offers a custom mobile sandblasting service.

Abbott’s creativity caught the attention of local fundraisers at the JCI Hospital Gala. One of her donated  pieces, titled Angel Wings No. 2, a four-foot square design blasted onto reclaimed tempered glass, fetched $1,500. The funds will help support the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation’s McMurtry-Baerg Cancer Care Centre Expansion project.

Having recently returned to Vernon from the coast where she spent 18 years immersing herself in decorative and mural painting, wood working and custom ornamental iron, she feels in the past five years she has found her calling in sandblasting.

“I’m so happy to be back in the Okanagan with the support of the community and my family,” said Abbott.

Abbott draws inspiration from a wide range of influences, including artists Terry Isaac and Robert Bateman, pin-up girl artists Alberto Varga, Raphael Caceres and Gillette Elvgren, glass artist Annemarie Fux, and pop culture icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein.

“My most important inspiration and mentor though is my mother, Pat Kelderman. She has been my rock,” said Abbott, who will be participating in the upcoming Downtown Vernon Association’s Sights & Sounds event, starting Friday.