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.”
By JESSICA ELLIOTT JESSICA ELLIOTT The Dallas Morning News
Jessica Elliott is a Dallas freelance writer
Published: 01 November 2013 04:56 PM
Updated: 01 November 2013 05:27 PM