About John Barber
At the invitation of Erwin Eisch, John Barber traveled to Germany to meet with Eisch and was subsequently accepted as his apprentice. And so it was in the basement of the Eisch glass factory that Barber first set foot on the road from studio apprentice to intricate decoration assisting Eisch in the creation of his glass masterworks.
Later Eisch was instrumental in helping John gain admittance to the celebrated State School for Glass Design in Zwiezel, Germany where Barber completed an intensive two-year apprenticeship program studying in-depth the techniques of European Masters.
In 1973, John returned to the United States and founded one of Southern California’s first privately owned glass blowing studios. He continued his research, focusing his interest on the rediscovery of lost techniques which produced the breathtaking glass masterwork of the Art Nouveau period.
Beginning with Erwin Eisch and continuing for over a quarter century, John Barber has researched and utilized techniques of the Masters … and in doing so has achieved the status himself.
In European tradition, an apprenticeship lasts 20 years — in 1992 John Barber at long last earned the right to sit at the Master’s bench.
John Barber is now an accomplished, influential glassblower who has made a living working out of his home-studio on Laguna Canyon Road since 1988. His glass creations—mainly tabletop work ranging from stemware, bowls, vases, and some sculptures—have influenced a generation of new blowers, many of whom have apprenticed under him, including Gavin Heath, Marcus Thesing, Pete Lanigan, and Mike Panetta, among others. Barber and his wife Rebecca also co-founded the Studio Arts Gallery in Laguna Beach five years ago to help support and showcase local artists’ works.
Barber has refused to rest on his laurels by taking his work into the public art realm, such as an installation commissioned by the called Eternal Sunset. He created the work using an ancient glass casting technique known as pate de verre (paste of glass). The 32-foot-long glass mural rests at the hotel’s entrance, depicting a Catalina Island sunset view. The commission also included two 46-inch-tall illuminated urns named Eucalyptus Lanterns, which are placed on pedestals near the resort property’s entrance.
“There are no shortcuts. You have to develop the skill and technique over a long period of time.
It’s important to learn from others so ultimately you can develop your own unique style...
one that respects your influences without being a slave to them.”
Master Glass Blowers John Barber & Erwin Eisch