By Marla Ballard
FORT PAYNE - The history of glassblowing is reported to date back to Babylon as early as 14 AD. The complex choreography that is needed for this form of artwork developed over centuries. The studio glass movement that eventually became a worldwide movement began in the early 60s. Skillful artisans recognize the limitations that hot glass has and the fluency and balance necessary to bring a project to fruition.
The online video at orbixhotglass.com has viewers seeing the art of glassblowing in such a descriptive manner they are drawn to witness the process firsthand. Cal Breed along with his wife Cristy are the owners of Orbix Hot Glass, where this unique art form is on exhibit. The blend of an artistic mother and an engineer for a father no doubt aided Breed in building his own hot shop where he expresses his love of nature through his creative designs.
Since 2002, Orbix Hot Glass has been offering handmade glassware. The business resides on 26 acres bordering Little River Canyon National Preserve. Initially, Breed wanted to become a marine biologist and began taking the necessary classes for this occupation. However, once he was introduced to the art of glassblowing, he changed his life course. Crafting blown glass speaks to him the same way nature speaks to him when he hikes the trails along Little River Canyon. This is evident when viewing his works because his designs echo nature.
In addition to having an oven that has the ability to heat up to 2,000 degrees and higher and a five-foot pipe, a sculptor needs to understand how to translate ideas into expressive physical objects. Breed learned from a long list of experienced artisans and loves sharing his passion with others. His attitude is he will always be learning his art form and looks forward to seeing what he will create in the years to come.
Breed's poetic approach to glass has translated into numerous exhibitions across the country from New Mexico to Pennsylvania and has been on display at the Huntsville Museum of Art and The Montgomery Museum of Art.
His talent has also earned him notice in publications such as Southern Living Magazine and Oprah Winfrey's magazine "O." Numerous awards and honors have been given to his work including, the Alabama State Council of Arts Individual Artist Grant for 2005 and 2015 and the 2004 Niche Award.
Orbix Hot Glass is located at 3869 Country Road 275, Fort Payne, 35967. The business offers a gallery and hot shop where visitors may observe or take part in hands-on participation. Hours of operation are Tuesday - Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., closed daily from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. View webpage for email information or call 256-523-3188. Go to orbixhotglass.com for a list of upcoming events.