Sunday 7 September 2014

Artisan Glassmaker Gerard Välvet

Right outside of Barcelona are three Cistercian monasteries that form a well-trodden pilgrimage route called the Cistercian Triangle.  The three monasteries, Santes Creus, Poblet, and Vallbona de les Monges are each planted in remote small towns steeply rooted in history and agricultural excellence.  While visiting Vallbona de les Monges, a town of less than 400 inhabitants, I stumbled across an interesting workshop across from the monastery.

Situated on the "main" road that looked to have been dug and paved in the Middle Ages, the high wall of the monastery
stands tall on one side and the other side of this narrow road (just wide enough for a car to pass, and I don't mean the Hummer H3) a few scattered shops.  Only one of the doors was opened, so out of curious instinct I stopped and peeked in.

In a generous but tightly packed space was a large architect's table, an assorted array of tools, and a lot of stained glass panels.  Stooped over the table was the glass maker in propria persona, Gerard Välvet. 

Gerard is one of the small group of Spanish artisans who champion in traditional glassmaking techniques.  Born and bred in Vallbona de les Monges, he studied Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona and had worked in London before returning to his home soil in his present atelier.  Since then, he has been creating one-of-a-kind commissions for private clients and exhibitions.  I was shown some of his recent works that range from abstract designs to provocative Warhol-like pieces, and I was completely mesmerized.  Never have I been this close to stained glass panels; seeing how light flirts with the colours of the glass, I find a medium of expression that is refreshing and modernistic, and as vivid as imagination. 

Gerard is available to take commissions.  Just make sure kids are not playing baseball outside your window: they don't come cheap, and dearer still is the painstaking process in creating each one of these panels. 

Contact Gerard Välvet here:
Official website:

Vallbona de les Monges is well worth a visit. Find the monastery, get to the tourist's entrance, Gerard's atelier is across and a few doors down the same cobble-stone street; or simply type in 'Vitrallers' on Google Map.

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