March 31 2014 07:26 PM

Glass artists Nic McGuire and John Gibbons open their Barrio Logan shop and showroom with an exhibition of new sculptures

IMG_0598
Nic McGuire (left) and John Gibbons
Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Watching artists Nic McGuire and John Gibbons work on a new sculpture in their Barrio Logan glass-art "hot shop" is like witnessing a well-rehearsed dance. Depending on whose piece it is, one of the two takes the lead and calls orders as the other, along with the help of an assistant if the sculpture's complexity requires it, carries out the commands.

On a Friday afternoon, Gibbons and McGuire do their dance between the worktable and the orange-glowing kiln and carefully but quickly bring a glass winged-angel sculpture to life.

"It's a really intense few minutes," McGuire says after he gets the angel as close to perfect as the tricky medium of molten glass allows. "Every second counts, so you're really juggling time, tempo, heat and your assistants."

Gibbons and McQuire are preparing for the grand opening of their new workspace and informal showroom, StarFeather Studios (1841 National Ave.), happening from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 5. They've been setting up equipment and otherwise preparing the space since last summer. They're finally at a place where they can open to the public for a night of live demonstrations, music, food and an exhibition of their latest sculptures.

The name of the new space is inspired by Gibbons' affinity for incorporating the shape of starfish in his sculptures and McQuire's inclination toward sculpting large feathers. The two met a few years ago at a gallery in North Park, and the partnership they've built has helped each go far beyond what was possible alone.

"We've just been pushing each other and pushing the envelope," McQuire says.

"With hot-glass sculpture like ours, you can't really do anything by yourself of any significance because you have to have a crew," Gibbons adds. "There's so much that can go wrong so fast. You need people helping you."

The collaboration has paid off, and each artist's been building a body of work that's more complex than what most young glass artists attempt with such finicky material.

"People who see the work see that it's really complicated," McQuire says. "They wonder how we do it, but the secret is teamwork."


Write to editor@sdcitybeat.com and follow Kinsee on Facebook or Twitter 

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28