All About Glass

You are here

Guest Artist Lecture: Bertil Vallien

Renowned for his sculptures in glass which appear to enclose light in the interior of the object, Bertil Vallien talks about the technique of sand casting, a process that he is largely responsible for developing. Bertil Vallien is the most widely recognized and admired artist working in glass in Sweden. Like many Swedish studio artists, he has pursued a career designing for industry in addition to maintaining an independent practice. He is also a well-traveled teacher who has influenced an entire generation of artists working in glass in Europe and abroad. Sand casting—that is, pouring molten glass into a prepared bed of sand to create a form—is a technique that Vallien pioneered in the 1980s. He is best known for his sand-cast boats, such as Cargo Seed. These large boats, inspired by Viking boat burials, address the themes of journey, memory, and time. Elements of archaeology (re-creations of artifacts), water (palette), and states of consciousness, such as suspended animation (the immobilization of objects in glass), are also evident in this work.