Dallas Morning News – Learn the Art Glass-Blowing at Vetro in Grapevine

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Step into Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Gallery and you’ll find glass blowers at work, sculpting and turning molten globs of glass with blowpipes, furnaces glowing with fire.

Owned by David Gappa, a former architectural designer, Vetro (Italian for glass) churns out a variety of pieces for both private commissions and the adjacent gallery, which also sells blown, fused and sculpted pieces from artists around the world. You might find Gappa, or one of three other on-staff glassworkers, crafting a range of items including jewelry, decanters and sculpture.

“We are a working studio, we’re doing our art, and we encourage people to be a part of that,” says Gappa, who discovered the craft in 1997 while earning his master’s in architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington. Gappa helped build the first glass blowing studio at the school, earned that architecture degree, and worked for 10 years as an architectural designer.

By night, however, he experimented with different methods in a makeshift studio he built in his garage. In 2002, he started a co-op in a Grapevine warehouse space. Shortly after, he launched a full-fledged business.

Gappa collaborated with the city to have a studio built in one of the oldest areas of Grapevine, adjacent to the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, and have gas lines installed. (Today, there are raku, pottery and bronze-working artists, along with a blacksmith.)

“One day we might be creating ornaments for Christmas, another we might be doing elaborate torsos for a sculpture, but we don’t hide it from anyone,” like some traditional glass studios might, he says. Early glass blowers, especially those on the Venetian island of Murano, wouldn’t allow visitors, but Gappa wants his space to be both educational and inspirational.

“The intention was to create an open-studio environment,” he says.

Today, Gappa offers year-round classes; his team just wrapped a series on glass pumpkins. Through December he will offer an ornament-making series. Visitors are welcome to swing by and watch the artists work.

Check out his works online, too. For example, they created the crimson lighting installation at the Place at Perry’s and a wall installation at the Center for BrainHealth.

“I firmly believe that every person is gifted with a set of talents, and I certainly feel that I am using my talents to the best of my ability,” Gappa says. “I am extremely thankful and grateful to have this opportunity to be a part of this studio.”



Jessica Elliott is a Dallas freelance writer

Special Contributor

Published: 01 November 2013 04:56 PM

Updated: 01 November 2013 05:27 PM



David Woo/Staff Photographer  David Gappa, left, owner of Vetro Glass Blowing Studio in Grapevine, uses a cherry wooden paddle to help him shape the glass.

David Woo/Staff Photographer A collection of rondels is on display at David Gappa Vetro Glass Blowing Studio in Grapevine.


David Woo/Staff Photographer David Gappa, left, owner of Vetro Glass Blowing Studio in Grapevine, holds a rod as Spencer Crouch lifts the rondel off to be placed in a kiln.

David Woo/Staff Photographer David Gappa, left, owner of Vetro Glass Blowing Studio in Grapevine, arranges his rondels as Spencer Crouch, a glass blower works.

David Woo/Staff Photographer David Gappa, left, owner of Vetro Glass Blowing Studio in Grapevine, uses a gas fire torch to help him shape the glass as Spencer Crouch, a glass blower helps David on Thursday, October 17, 2013.

David Woo/Staff Photographer David Gappa, left, owner of Vetro Glass Blowing Studio in Grapevine, shapes a piece of glass as Spencer Crouch blows air into a blowpipe

6 thoughts on “Dallas Morning News – Learn the Art Glass-Blowing at Vetro in Grapevine”

Comments List
  1. Cheryl Robinson says:

    I think my husband would love to learn how to do this. He is an artists who has yet to work with glass. His favorite work involves marble and wood sculpture. He also paints abstract oils and does photography. Is there any type of program or event where an individual can come learn to blow glass that is not on a holiday? I would love to surprise my husband with an activity like this. We recently relocated to the Dallas area from Phoenix and he used to have an art studio in Phoenix that was always a part of the First Friday Art Walks. I know he would love to meet some artists here. Let me know! Thank you!

      An introduction to techniques and skills such as gathering, centering, blocking, and marvering
      An introduction to glassblowing machines, tools of the trade and proper shop etiquette
      Basic color application using powders and frits
      Create and keep two (2) paperweights: one clear and one with color (results may vary)
      The creation of two (2) paperweights typically takes between one (1) and two (2) hours (per person participating in the workshop)
      One instructor per two (2) students…allows for constant hands-on experience
      Prerequisite to the Intermediate Paperweight Workshop and the Glassblowing Class
      No prior experience needed!
      :) Come see us at Vetro!

  2. lesli says:

    Do you offer glass blowing classes or lessons?

    1. We offer Paperweight & Glassblowing Workshops, Intermediate Workshops, and Glass Blowing Class. These are offered in the evening after 6p.m. and last about 2-3 hours per person. You do have to come in to sign up for the class. If you have any more questions please feel free to call the studio at 817.251.1668.
      Thank you,
      Lindsey Barker

  3. Elizabeth Hobbs says:

    I was just wondering if you did some thing like date night so we could make a glass art. You do wonderful and stunning work.

    1. We only have date nights during February but we have Help Creates though out the whole year are next one will be March 13th & 14th the times and sign up will be online with in this week. You can find this information on our calendar. :)

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