Molten Glass Is A Blank Slate For Glass Blowing Artist Newt Grover

Above: Amorphous lighting allows the beholder to identify forms in its design. This eye-catching chandelier takes center stage and casts a warm glow throughout the room. Photography by Brian Fiske Small business | 1 Jan, 2008 |

Amid rainbows of multihued glass flowers and sculptures, Newt Grover reaches into a furnace burning at a blistering 2,000 degrees. The bubbly liquid does not look like much in its primitive, molten form, but to Grover, it is a blank canvas. The opportunity to create using this tabula rasa excites Grover, and he forms exquisite works of art. Like a writer’s pen or a painter’s brush, glass is Grover’s forte.

He is a man of many talents. The Arizona native had an early passion for the arts and took an unconventional path to build his glass-blowing business. He began making jewelry in high school, progressing to metal-working and neon before stumbling upon the craft of glass blowing.

“I saw it on TV and thought, ‘That looks like a lot more fun than what I’m doing,’ ” Grover says.

And the rest is history. Newt Glass is one of the most well known and respected glass-blowing companies in the Valley, courting business from high-end clubs, restaurants and homeowners.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Grover does not hold a degree, and all of his artistic endeavors have been entirely self-taught.

“I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing,” says Grover, who forged ahead and hand built his own outdoor studio 10 years ago. Since then, with the help of his wife and dedicated team, he has adopted a fearless attitude, turning his passion into a successful business.

“I’m not particularly afraid of making mistakes. … I have the ability to use a little bit of creativity and put some art into it,” he says.

Grover sees no end to his ideas and is devoted to creating custom pieces that personally suit his clients. Eliciting their artistic preferences is key to making an unforgettable piece, he says, preferring to let the glass speak for itself.

“What I like to do is talk to clients and find out what they like, because ultimately they end up having to live with it,” Grover says. “If you can see it in your head, you can do it.”

A true artist, Grover is constantly thinking ahead, finishing one project while already brainstorming the next. He says each piece is an “evolution,” though the first idea isn’t always the best.

“It gets refined as I go along,” Grover says. “But I tell people, ‘You’ll love it, don’t worry about it.’ ”

His Arizona roots also play a role in his exceptional pieces.

“I like the Southwest culture, the influence of the Mexican culture; it adds a lot of life and color, a lot more spice, something that’s different,” he says.

Working tirelessly outdoors, even through Arizona’s scorching summers, Grover’s drive is endless. He hopes to grow as an artist, push himself beyond boundaries and most importantly, “try to get as much of what’s in my head, out.”

“Glass is endless,” he says.

And so is his passion.

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