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Bertil Vallien

Bertil Vallien in contemplative mood

“I have been lucky in life,” says Vallien. He spends much of his time thinking, much of it sketching, he says; rigorously self-critical, he discards most of what he produces. He considers his dual roles as a designer and a glass artist complementary. His art is a form of research. In the studio and on the blowing room floor, there is an ongoing dialogue between Vallien and the many skilled and loyal artisans who have shared in his voyage of discovery through the world of glass, now over thirty years long.


1985 - Silver medal, International Juried Competition, New York, USA
1990 - Diploma, Nordform, Malmö, Sweden
1991 - The Formland Prize, Denmark
1995 - Urban Glass Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Glass” New York, USA
1995 - Prince Eugen’s medal for “Outstanding Achievement in Arts”, Sweden
2001 - Visionaries Award 2001, American Craft Museum



Bertil Vallien, one of the truly groundbreaking figures in Swedish glass art, was born in Stockholm in 1938. His father was a master painter and pastor of an independent church, his mother a housewife. Vallien was the second of seven children. The gifted young man soon tired of school and took a job as a decorator at PUB, one of the Swedish capital’s largest department stores. Shortly thereafter, though, he began studying art at Konstfack, the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. He graduated at the top of his class in 1961 and was awarded a Royal Foundation grant.

By far the most internationally celebrated glass artist and designer in Sweden, Bertil has received numerous awards and his work is well represented in leading museums around the world. He is known most of all as the master of sand moulding. His solid, deep-blue, four-meter-long ship has become part of modern glass history. Aside from his artistic work he is a highly skilled and successful industrial designer.

His creations in recent years include Heads, a long series of enigmatic, solid, blue glass heads of different sizes. He works in a mythical, dream-like world of symbolic imagery. He undertakes what he himself describes as a never-ending research quest, in close cooperation with his loyal co-workers at Åfors glassworks, several of whom have worked with Vallien for four decades.


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