A Big Thinker Making Big Glasswork
Newt Grover thinks big. Not only existentially, but also big chandeliers, wall displays and sculptures. He refers to himself as a commercial capitalist artist. He blows glass and bends metal in his studio, located on his one-acre property in Scottsdale—a third of which is his shop and work area. It’s comparatively small for the size and volume he produces.
“I like bigger projects because it’s larger-scale,” he says. “I feel like I can make a bigger impact. My whole evolution has led me here. Everything I’ve ever done in my life has been surrounded by art and fire.”
Grover never set out to be an artist. He took a craft class in high school that sparked his interest in jewelry making, and made fine jewelry for 15 years. Then he started a neon sign company. In the 1990s, he saw a program about Dale Chihuly, one of the most influential glass blowers in the world, and a new spark was lit.
“I thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” he says.
There weren’t any local classes for glass blowing at the time, so he set out to teach himself. Grover doesn’t have a college degree, but he mastered his craft and has been doing what he loves for the past 22 years.
“I’m a very different and pragmatic artist. People don’t know what to expect working with an artist, but usually within a few minutes I can fix that. The only statement I really want to make is beauty. I work with my clients very closely to make sure they get something absolutely spectacular. I want them to love it every day,” he says.
Grover enjoys working with clients to bring their ideas to fruition. He’ll tour their location, listen to their ideas, and sketch out a plan. He believes in working efficiently and going with his first impression because it’s usually the best. He keeps busy with commissions and doesn’t have time to make stock items, but welcomes studio visits by appointment.
It’s difficult for him to choose a favorite piece because whatever he’s working on tends to be his top pick. But if he had to, it would probably be the artwork hanging on his client’s domed ceiling. It consists of five large glass flowers, and is 8 feet wide by 8 feet long.
Grover often has several employees to help with the workload. Currently, he feels fortunate to have three good people on the team.
“I’ve had a lot of young people work for me and I tell them to remember they’re using their talents and gifts to bring beauty and value into the world,” he says.
He doesn’t believe in luck, but he says he’s fortunate. And Grover thinks the key to happiness is discovering your gift.
“Forget about your passion, figure out what your gift is. Do whatever you do that you make look easy. If it’s easy for you to do that’s your gift. My wife always gets mad at me when a client shows me a project and I say that’s easy. She tells me no it’s not. But it’s easy for me. It doesn’t mean it’s easy for the next guy,” he says.
“I’m very fortunate, because basically I found my gift and talent and was able to develop my skills to go do it.”
Check out his work at NewtGlass.com.