Photo by Diane S.W. Lee
Grapevine business fires up decorative art pieces
Instead of cooling off in air-conditioned buildings during the heat of the summer, David Gappa spends his days working about 30 feet away from a furnace.
“When we are outside of 105-degree weather, we are pretty comfortable,” Gappa said.
For 14 years, Gappa has transformed molten glass into various glass-blown artwork, including Christmas ornaments, memorial vessels, rondels and bowls. Gappa is the owner of Grapevine’s only glassblowing studio, Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Gallery.
“There is a reason there is not a lot of glassblowers in Texas,” he said, “because you take 103-degree or 104-degree Texas heat, you add 2,400-degree heat to that, and it’s just bloody hot.”
Gappa and his team’s creations can be found across the Dallas/Fort Worth area at art galleries, auctions and area attractions.
About a dozen acorn-shaped, glass-blown lighting fixtures illuminate the main lobby of the Great Wolf Lodge. In February, the Place At Perry’s in Dallas installed Gappa’s proudest accomplishment to date. “Crimson Cascade,” a 20-foot cascading chandelier with 350 crimson red glass vessels on a steel framework, took about a year to design and about five months to complete. Gappa worked with blacksmith Will Frary on the creation.
“The reason that is one of my proudest is because it really starts to integrate my architecture with the glass,” Gappa said.
In 1998, Gappa graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a master’s degree in architecture. The last year of his studies, Gappa took two electives in basic glassblowing for fun.
“I just literally looked at it as a stress reliever away from the drafting table,” he said. “So I graduated, and of course the bug had hit me — glassblowing is a very addictive art form.”
While working at an architecture firm, Gappa built a glassblowing studio in his garage. He moved into a facility on Barton Street, and later settled on Main Street, where the studio has been for about seven years.
Every year, Gappa donates some of his creations to area organizations that auction the pieces for charity. He offers glassblowing workshops from beginning to intermediate ($175–$750).
One of his favorite creations is a three-piece series, “Seed of Faith,” which integrates his faith and art. That piece can be found at the gallery, where visitors can browse, purchase pieces or order custom creations. And if visitors can stand the heat, they can watch Gappa and his team create glass-blown pieces at the studio.
“We want people to wonder what that mass of glass is going to evolve to, and that is a part of the magic of what we do,” he said.
Vetro Glassblowing Studio & Gallery, 701 S. Main St., Ste. 103, Grapevine 817-251-1668 • www.vetroartglass.com
Gallery: 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Tues.–Sat. Studio: 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Wed.–Sat. *Hours may vary. Check website for details.