Born in 1972, Orfeo Quagliata spent his childhood in San Francisco, where he began working with glass at age 12 as an apprentice to his father, acclaimed glass artist Narcissus Quagliata. Early influences draw from his father's artwork and his grandmother, Herta Jalkotzy, an award-winning jewelry designer in the Vienna Workshop collective founded by Gustav Klimt.
After high school, Orfeo went to Spain to apprentice with Catalonian glass artist Jose Fernandez Castrillo. He learned cold-working techniques with Castrillo that have become a cornerstone in his work today. He later returned to San Francisco to study industrial and furniture design at California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC), earning a BFA with high distinction in 1999. At CCAC, Orfeo studied with furniture designer and architect Chris Deam and went on to become Deam's design assistant for three years.
Since graduation, he has taught classes in California and Washington, DC. His present work follows an inherited tradition in glass and jewelry, and at the same time is defined by his own maverick style. He lives in Mexico City, Mexico, his home since 2000.