A crack in the wooden handle of the badger he used to shave … It didn’t take much more Théophile Caille so that one morning, his life as a glassmaker with a blowtorch takes on a new dimension. No more anonymity in the deep of jewelry designers. “It was done like that, in my bathroom”, smiles the designer born in Nancy (54) in 1987 … a few meters from the workshop he shares today at 32, place des Vosges, with four other painters, sculptors and visual artists.
From San Francisco to Lausanne …
“The hairs of my badger escaped from their sleeves split by humidity, I told myself that I was going to make myself a glass …” Well he took it! Since with his sumptuous toilet accessories he was the winner in 2014 of the competition for young creators of art workshops in France, Théophile Caille has caused a sensation every year at the famous Parisian meeting House & Object. An international fair dedicated to the art of living, decoration and design, only reserved for professionals. Which now spread his works of art in the form of shaving tools all over the world! San Francisco, Paris, Santa Fe, Lyon, Casablanca, Lausanne… the artist has lost count of the boutiques that offer his shaving brushes and razors with glass handles, all made with a blowtorch in his workshop, one by one.
He bought his first blowtorch in 2006
“The human universe is little exploited in the arts and crafts,” notes Théophile Caille, who had started by initiating himself into the manufacture of glass pearls, sown with colored pastilles and other arabesques, when his studies in chemistry Varoquaux high school to Tomblaine (54) had offered him “the” revelation: working with a blowtorch glass was his real passion.
A passage by Baccarat crystal glassworks as an apprentice glassblower will not convince him in 2005. “I did not want to become a worker who works in a chain factory, and they only needed to train their future employees, so we quickly thanked each other “Smiles Théo. Who had just discovered the works of Emmanuel Sztuka, glass artist teaching in particular the art of pearl with a blowtorch at CERFAV (European Center for Research and Training in Glass Arts), in Vannes-le-Châtel (54).
The young man will therefore not hesitate to do all the odd jobs to offer himself an internship. Then to equip his workshop. He bought his first blowtorch in 2006, began to have Murano glass rods delivered by pallets, and to sell his jewelry in exhibitions or pop-up designer boutiques …
First the pearls
Until 2009, the artist fed himself and paid his rent by doing housework or by working as a salesman. “I needed the money earned with my creations to finance the purchase of my glass, because I was experimenting a lot! “
Corks, pens, paper cutters… “The first seed I planted with the blowtorch was the pearl, so I am not ashamed of the many earrings I have sold, which have gradually made a living. But today, when I make jewelry, it’s because I found a new technique in developing razors, when I have something new to show or when customers order it at Christmas. “
“A real juggler number until the end”
Because Théophile Caille always searches. At the tip of its mandrel, it rolls up the superimposed layers of molten glass with a blowtorch, until they stretch all their length, without any support, to make razor handles sometimes reaching 12 cm. “This is a real juggler act until the end,” says the artist. Who admits the tears of his beginnings when his play broke in the last seconds … And who finally found his signature.
“I still cut the glass afterwards to reveal the colors of the superimposed layers”. So “even if from now on, part of my work consists in remaking the products that I have in the catalog to fulfill my orders, in a range soberly limited in color by aesthetic bias, I continue to make unique pieces in shades of blue or orange for example… And to consider diversifying by making knives! There is no doubt that after the bathroom, Théophile Caille’s flame will soon also illuminate tableware.