Bertil Vallien is a natural born leader. With a blend of authority, humility and sense of humour he commands people's attention.

The teacher-role is not alien to Bertil. He has, for instance, made innumerable guest-appearances at the Pilchuck Glass Center, and was in charge of the glass programme at the National College of Art, Crafts and Design, 1967-1984. It was an interesting though demanding position; the students he taught being not much younger than himself. Rather than correcting their drawing technique, he allowed them a good deal of freedom in the creative assignments he set, in a desire to liberate their imaginations.
-At the College I had a long-term responsibility for the glass programme. These days I enjoy working with young people for short shorter periods of time. You can spark things off, assign imaginative projects, throw out ideas, and fan the flames (so to speak) without the responsibility you would have as a regular teacher. At the end of it, you can just buzz off...leaving them totally bewildered, by a lot of novel ideas (laughter).

During his time at the college, the (crafts) education moved through various phases. In the late sixties-early seventies it experienced a political phase. Everything was called into question; the role of the teacher and of Art in a materialistic society.

In 1974, he undertook his first international teaching assignment as leader of a workshop at the Kent State University in Ohio, USA. Since then, he has had made annual appearances as a guest teacher at various places around the world. But the country he returns to again and again is the US, where he enjoys a special position in his capacity as one of the major inspirations to the studio glass movement.

He first visited Dale Chihuly and the Pilchuck Glasscenter, near Seattle, in 1980. Dale Chihuly is one of the most influential studio-glass artists in the world. Since then Vallien has returned annually to the Center both as a guest teacher, and principal teacher, and a member of the committee. Pilchuck is like a watering-hole for Bertil, and is an important source of inspiration for his art. The environment/atmosphere at Pilchuck is undemanding and people from all parts of the world come here to exchange experiences and to create glass by day and by night. Bertil reckons that the years following1980 are when he began his most significant work.

His visits to America have been a great boost to his artistic production and to his approach to (the commercial) glass manufacture. He has adopted the generous, unbounded attitude to material prevalent/inherent in the studio glass movement, and adapted it to the working practices/conditions in Sweden. Many of the ideas that he has realised (put into practice) within the Swedish glass industry - including the Artist Collection, the belief in free responsibility/capability of the artisans, and the view of glass as art - derive from his visits to the US. Over the years he has also participated as guest lecturer at several universities around the world.

Bertil on the roof ready take America by storm.

 

 

 

 

 


At Pilchucks hotshop together with masterblower Bill Morris.













From leftr: Italo Scanga and Dale Chihuly.

 


 

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