About Vetro

Glass artist David Gappa founded Vetro in 1999. During that time, Gappa cultivated a team of glass artists who perform their art of glassblowing in Vetro’s state-of-the-art working studio. The studio and attached fine art glass gallery are located in the historic district of Grapevine, Texas. In addition to creating fine art glass, Vetro artists enjoy educating the public about this ancient art form through live demonstrations. Simultaneously, Vetro’s friendly and inviting gallery staff creates a relaxed and comfortable gallery atmosphere in which to browse and shop.

While the facility is located in North Texas, the art has spread across regions.  Since its inception, Vetro’s glass has found its way into the hands of art collectors, corporate designers, museum curators, celebrities, and leaders of state worldwide. With an ever-expanding repertoire of original art glass designs combined with innovative glassblowing techniques, the Vetro team is always presenting to the public a profoundly stunning and dynamic portfolio.

The Vetro Team is a collection of highly-skilled glass artists and customer-service-driven gallery personnel. Their passion for the art of glassblowing is what makes the working studio and gallery alive with energy and endless creativity.

David Gappa – Founder, Glassblower

A native Texan, born in Fort Hood and raised in Fort Worth, David Gappa discovered and embraced his love of art from a very early age, spending countless hours exploring his creative talents and honing his skills in numerous artistic mediums … painting, sculpting, sketching and drawing to name just a few. As a young adult, he spent over a year in Europe studying these various mediums of art and a significant amount of time in Murano, Italy with the glass artisans.

Gappa earned a Masters of Science in Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington, graduating Salutatorian of his class. During his studies at UT, he embarked on his passion for glassblowing while assisting with the founding of the university’s glassblowing program and participating in the glassblowing elective for two years. Thus began his vision of opening Vetro Glassblowing Studio, which came to fruition in May of 1999. Since then, Gappa has continued learning through intense workshops, conventions, traveling artisans, private study, and directly from the masters themselves including Martin Janecky, Ross Richmond, Afro Celotto of Italy, and Kenji Ito of Japan. It is through his continuous studies, the building of relationships with artists, the exploration of design, the growth and development of his team, the creation of his art, and the presentation of that art to the public that Gappa strives to serve others. It seems that the closer he comes to achieving this calling, the more there is to accomplish.

Jorma Rahja – Studio Manager

Jorma Rahja was born and raised in northern Finland, where he served in the military and was able to earn a degree in ceramics. While obtaining his ceramics degree, Jorma was able to experiment with art glass which captivated his heart. With the desire of learning more about glassblowing, Jorma continued on with his education and attended the renowned Riksglasskolan in Orrefors, Sweden. Soon Jorma found himself traveling to several countries and working in studios all over the world. In 2012 Jorma moved to the United States where he worked as a freelance glassblower, as well as a studio manager for many different studios around the country. In late 2018, Jorma received an offer to join the Vetro Glass Team and has relocated permanently to Grapevine, TX where he regularly dazzles the team, students, and guests with his glass skills and stories from his travels.

Nick Clayton – Glassblower

Nick Clayton was born and raised in Michigan, but has moved 15 times over the last decade. After finishing his degree in Interdisciplinary Physics with a focus in Biomedical Engineering, Nick moved to Israel gaining citizenship and enlisting in the Israeli Defense Force as an active duty combat soldier in the Infantry. He and his fiancée were visiting family in the US from Israel when Hamas attacked on October 7. After heartbreaking conversations, they made the incredibly hard decision to stay. Later relocating to Texas, Nick found his place at Vetro. Nick first touched glass at 13 years old, learning how to make beads and jewelry. Coming to glass as one would learn a trade, Vetro Glassblowing Studio is now the seventh studio he has worked for. Glass has always been a passion of his, but it wasn’t until his dad died and he returned to Michigan that he began to pursue it full-time. Nick has volunteered at studios for access, taught experiences and after-school programs, taken classes, worked as an artist as well as been hired as a technician. He has had the privilege of blowing glass from Michigan to Israel, Pilchuck and Corning, as well as an assistant for his first mentor Jerry Catania’s demo for GAS in St. Petersburg. Nick’s mantra each time he walks into a new studio is, “there is always something new to learn.” He loves visiting new places, meeting people from different backgrounds who are doing the thing he loves, and communicating through glass. Nick has passions for science and art with a drive for public service.

Brenda Baugh – Gallery Manager

Brenda Baugh moved back to the DFW area to be close to family after living out of state for the last several years. During that time, she has been successfully working as a professional portrait painter and will continue to do so when she is not leading the Vetro Gallery Team. Brenda brings over 25 years of customer service and sales experience to our organization. Her professionalism, upbeat manner, passion for the visual arts and knowledge of what it means to be an artist ensures that every visitor walking through the Vetro’s doors will have a unique and fun experience.

Shannon Powers – Shipping/Inventory Coordinator & Glassblower

Shannon is Vetro’s Inventory Coordinator, Shipping Manager, and Glassblower. She comes to Vetro with an extensive background in Graphic Arts and is an experienced Creative Director with expertise across print and digital mediums. But glass artistry is her passion. Shannon studied at Third Degree Glass in Saint Louis where she applied her love of abstract art to functional glassworks. A few years back, she bailed on the whole corporate thing to pursue her dreams in glass art and is super grateful to David and the team at Vetro for bringing her into a loving family. Also, just a heads up, she’s ridiculously quick.

Mary Simon – Gallery Associate

Mary Simon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Texas, College of Visual Arts and Design. She works with many different mediums to create artwork that reflects the many places throughout the world where she has lived and traveled with her family. Mary is obsessed with: her family and friends, continually learning and growing as an artist, traveling, chocolate, coffee, hockey, and every shade of blue. She is inspired by the artistic atmosphere at Vetro and enjoys helping customers find the perfectly unique art glass.

Olivia Govednik – Event Coordinator & Gallery Associate

Olivia Govednik holds a bachelors in Arts Administration and Art History from George Fox University in Oregon. Olivia is passionate about cultivating enthusiasm for all types of art. Olivia enjoys being in the gallery setting and has experience working in multiple galleries in Portland, Oregon and her hometown of Dallas, TX. It is her dream to one day open her very own combined gallery and art studio so she can continue doing the thing she loves most – sharing art with others!

Donna Palmersheim – Social Media & Graphic Design Coordinator

Donna knew from a young age that she loved visually creative activities, so pursuing art and design as a career seemed a natural choice. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, she spent the next 15 years creating a wide variety of both print and motion graphic designs that included commercials, show promos, and corporate communications media for design groups and post-production companies. She remembers working at Paramount Pictures and watching Star Trek: Voyagers characters come out for their breaks in full costume. She now works as a studio artist at the Holder Dane Gallery and Art Studio and continues to thrive among other artists here in historic downtown Grapevine where there is also no shortage of interesting characters. Donna joins us at Vetro to manage our social media platforms as well as preparing video and graphic design assets to continually elevate our standards and connection with our community.

Thomas Flynn – Custom Art Manager & Media Coordinator

As Vetro’s Media Coordinator and Custom Art Manager, Thomas Flynn integrates marketing skills from Dallas’ luxury interior design industry, overseeing advertising for Vetro and Gappa Glass in nationwide publications. His unique strength lies in in-depth company research and tailoring strategies for the desired market. With over 7 years of expertise in the luxury interior design realm, Flynn blends a fine arts degree with practical experience, elevating client experiences through bespoke projects in luxury interior design.

Lou Romano – Studio Assistant & Longtime Friend of Vetro

Lou Romano fell in love with the art of glass when he took a Paperweight Class over 15 years ago at Vetro Glassblowing studio. His passion for glass ignited at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. As a volunteer, Lou dedicates countless hours to supporting the studio, from assisting instructors during Help Create Events and Private Parties to engaging with visitors and enthusiasts alike.