Gateway: Business

South Sound glass artist etches out a reputation

Brenda Silver, owner and sole proprietor of Brenda’s Custom Sandblasting, operates her business with hard work and a little help from prayer.

“Every time I pray for glass (work), I get it,” Silver said.

Brenda’s Custom Sandblasting is based out of Silver’s home in Tacoma, but her pieces appear all over the South Sound, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Gig Harbor and even up the peninsula. She’s been in business since 1988 when she was a single mom supporting two children.

“I had two babies in diapers and I was almost by myself. I had to do something,” Silver said.

When she opened up shop she’d only done one sandblasted piece, but over time her orders began to grow. She has affiliations with glass shops in Tacoma and Lakewood as well as Sound Glass in Gig Harbor.

Silver has sandblasted logos for businesses and designs for front doors of homes. At some homes, she’s done simple stripe patterns to obscure the window for privacy reasons.

She also sandblasted the U.S. Air Force logo for a government building on base.

“That was the coolest one because it’s so intricate,” Silver said.

Her advertising has been through word of mouth and through the glass businesses in town. She works out of her home with a studio in the back. The average bill amounts to $75 an hour and pieces are completed within a few days.

When sandblasting, Silver uses silicon sand, which can be dangerous and deadly if not used correctly. She shoots 50 to 100 pounds of the sand at the glass to scratch out designs from a stencil she creates.

“I’m just scratching the surface of the glass, I’m not weakening the glass,” she said.

To be safe, she makes sure she is completely covered.

“I dress up like a bug,” she said.

To make pieces, Silver consults with customers before she designs a custom stencil. She’s created pieces for a number of houses in Gig Harbor and she’s also worked for two Street of Dreams events.

To contact Silver for sandblasting pieces and consults, call 253-539-5575 or email brendasilver1@aol.com.

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