Ulrica Hydman-Vallien’s series of brightly painted, sandblasted objects have provided job opportunities and generated economic returns at the Orrefors glass factory, thereby securing not only the survival of this quiet little southern Swedish countryside but also its international fame. However, her studio pieces, painted in fresh, bold, flowing colors are the spearheads. Transposed into the medium of glass, her paintings and watercolor drawings acquire a new dimension. In the 1980s she explored and developed a new technique that she named Kabale. The pieces executed in this way are veritable masterpieces. Ulrica begins by painting her subjects, after which the clear glass (heated to 1,250°C) is applied in layers. The colors must be able to withstand the intense heat, as there is always a potential danger that these thick-walled objects and magnificent colors will crack in the kiln. Finally, the artifacts are given a polished finish. Various themes recur in her glass art: the relationship between men/women, mother/child, animal/human, people/environment. The imagery conveys various kinds of community, intense relationships and strong emotions. In her hands the glass becomes soft and lustrous, slippery – elusive. And always, there are animals, plants and people in this magical nature – a reflection of Ulrica Hydman-Vallien’s own, and rightful, element.—excerpted from the essay by Swedish art and design professor Kerstin Wickman for the RAM exhibition catalogue HE & SHE: Vallien and Hydman-Vallien, 2007


Constant Pressure

Hearts RAM web

Life–The Paintings of Deborah Newton