Monday, May 19, 2014

Vetro: Melted, Blown and Beautiful

We get this "Travel Across Texas" type magazine in the mail every couple of months, and several months back, I was flipping through it and saw a beautiful piece of glass art. The article accompanying it mentioned that there was a glass-blowing studio in downtown Grapevine, and that it had an attached gallery open to the public, as well as glass-blowing demonstrations on certain days of the week. I thought that sounded really cool; I had never watched glass-blowing before, and despite living in the area for most of my life, I had never heard of this place! So when I was in Dallas visiting my family a couple weeks ago, I made it a point to take a trip to Vetro Glassblowing Studio.

When I first walked in, it was like any other art gallery, with glass artwork on pedestals and on the walls (though all of it is for sale, not just for looks). Really beautiful, vibrant pieces of art.

As I was exploring the gallery, I saw a window to the back of the studio, where a guy with a lot of facial piercings was creating these glass globe-thingies. I watched him work for a few minutes through the window before the woman behind the front desk told me I could go into the back. I hadn't realized the whole area was open to the public, but the room was full of additional glasswork and metal bleachers, I suppose for the group demonstrations. (I wasn't actually there during a demonstration tour or anything. There were only two other visitors in the gallery at the same time as me, and they had already toured the back room.)

The hot air kind of hits you in the face when you open the door. It's toasty in the back room, what with all the blow-torches and ovens and stuff!

The glass-blower told me what he was working on at the time — dozens and dozens of these little "bubbles," but he also was creating glass "fish" like the ones in the picture below, some other time. The studio was commissioned to create an art installation for a children's hospital in the Austin area. How neat that they'll get to experience this work when it's completed! I'm sure it will be beautiful.

The man shaped the glass globes one at a time, cooked them in this furnace-looking thing, scored the glass with ridges and poked holes in the bottom of the bubbles so they will be able to hang as part of the installation. He also used a spray-mister to add the rainbow-shiny look to the pieces. 

I would love to learn how to do work like this, but he told me that it took him a lot of years of apprenticing to get to where he is now. But what a cool job to have.

It was a really cool experience, and I'm glad I had the chance to visit and talk with someone who gets to create such beautiful things for a living!

Have you ever seen a glass-blowing demonstration? Are there any "hidden gems" in your area?

No one paid me to write about this place. I went because I wanted to.


  1. This is so cool and the works are gorgeous! I've seen a couple of glass-blowing demonstrations before and they are so fascinating. It's not quite the same thing, but I remember my parents taking a stained glass class when I was little, and they made some beautiful things. Maybe you could start with something like that and work your way up.

    1. My mom had a stained-glass business before I was born! But I've never tried it myself.

  2. WOW! What an absolutely amazing place! Beautiful pieces!

  3. what a fun way to spend the day- i'd love to have you up here to adventure around with. i'd also like one of those glass sculptures...

  4. So cool! Maybe Jordan and I will take a swing by there next time we're visiting my parents in Dallas. I am in awe of people who can create like that.

  5. Those pieces are so gorgeous! I love watching glass blowing. Every time we go to Silver Dollar City in Branson we always stop at that area. It's just so intriguing!