In 1972, Cal Breed was born to an artist and an engineer. This combination of the expressive and the critical laid the framework for a life coursed by grasping to bridge the seemingly dichotomous. After years of studying the beauty of the ocean and its life and almost finishing a degree in Marine Biology at Auburn University, Cal’s heart was burdened with the need to be expressive with his hands. Bowing to that burden, he began to study the arts. Having such a quiet demeanor, he sought for a material that inherently spoke boldly and clearly.
In 1994 Breed was moved to work with his hands, and he began to venture into the world of glass. He spent months as an apprentice to Cam Langley, one of the South's very few hot-glass artists. He became entranced by the medium of glass and the process by which it is made. As he progressed in his explorations, Breed studied with a variety of glass masters from around the U.S., working to develop his skills as a designer and as a craftsman. Once again, he searched for ways to combine technical proficiency with unique design.
After years of study, Cal opened a private studio and gallery, Orbix Hot Glass, atop Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama. Today, Cal leads a team of glassblowers who hand-craft each piece with great attention to form, balance and color. The goal—to make honest, excellent work that someone would invite into their life.
People always ask “Where did you get the name Orbix Hot Glass?” In glassblowing, the gaffer must always keep his pipe turning, or orbiting, otherwise the piece won’t get made the way it was intended. In a similar way, Orbix exists because of Cal’s personal orbits and their intersection with many other personal paths along the way: engineering and artist parents who instilled a great love for how to make things well and beautiful; world-class glass artists who taught skills to make ideas real; and three kids who inspire hard work.
Glass art is what we were intended to do, and it would not be possible without those of you who appreciate it as well. We are so glad our paths crossed.
My composition of color and light are created by using the incalmo technique of joining multiple open-ended hand-blown bubbles. In exploring the scope of this traditional technique, I discovered the ability to highlight elements beyond that of color, such as surface texture and optical depth. Also with incalmo, line becomes an important element to my design choices. The textured lines created by the joints give a history of the bubble – its deconstruction and reassembly. My manipulation of form direct these lines in paths that bend light and cause color to reverberate through each piece.